How to create a bootable USB drive with Windows XP Recovery Console

The Windows XP Recovery Console can be brought up in three ways.

  1. From Windows XP installation disc
  2. By installing the Recovery Console to the hard disk so that it’s always handy
  3. By creating a bootable USB flash drive with the Recovery Console in it

The second method I already described. Let’s find out how to do the third, that is, create a Recovery Console bootable flash drive.

For this you will need a tool called USB Recovery Console. Actually, the USB Recovery Console contains just a batch script and some other files. The actual tool that does the formatting and creating of the bootable USB drive is the HP USB Dos format tool, which is not included with the package because it’s copyrighted by HP. This tool will be downloaded from HP’s website, so it’s necessary to have an active Internet connection before you start.

1. After you have downloaded USB Recovery Console, unzip the contents of the package. Right-click on mkrecovery.cmd and click Edit. This will open the batch script in your default text editor.

2. Near the beginning of the file you will find these lines:


3. Replace “R” with the drive letter Windows assigns to your removable USB flash drive. Change C:XPSP2I386 to X:I386, where X is the drive letter of your optical drive. Save the file.

4. Insert Windows XP’s setup disc into the optical drive, but do not run setup. Exit the installation when it starts.

5. Double click on the modified mkrecovery.cmd to run it.


6. During the process it will download the HP USB Dos format tool and launch the setup file. Install this tool just like any other software.


7. Finally, you will get a “Completed Okay” message.


Your USB pen drive is now ready to boot into Windows Recovery Console. Whenever you need to enter Recovery Console, just plug the pen drive into the computer and boot from it.

This Article Has 18 Comments
  1. KallAngo Reply

    This seems to be really good but, the link to download the USB Recovery Console is responding this .: "Service Unavailable"

    Any mirror ?¿

    Tks… 😉

  2. Kaushik Patowary Reply

    A little downtime perhaps. Here is the mirror

  3. KallAngo Reply

    Tks For this Mirror Kaushik 😉

  4. Anonymous Reply

    Thanks for your help dude, but could you or some good soul give us a link to the Win XP CD.
    There is loads of us out here who own netbooks and we just use usb.
    Thanks in advance people.

  5. Anonymous Reply

    hp usb is nolonger available I get a 404 error when the dos script runs

  6. Anonymous Reply

    download the hp tool and manually install it then run mkrecovery.cmd the program will do the rest

  7. Anonymous Reply

    The HP tool is now included in the download.
    Check the site for the latest version

  8. Anonymous Reply

    Getting messages as it runs down to the following:
    "Bootcode was successfully updated on all targeted volumes.
    making ~bt folder ..
    copying boot files to USB drive ..
    1 file copied.
    ntldr not found
    press any key to continue . . . "

    I checked and there is no ntldr file on my WinXP Pro CD which is placed in the DVD-ROM drive.

    I've looked at the DOS commands and figure the .cmd file goes south trying to fetch the ntldr file.

    Any suggestions?

  9. Kaushik Patowary Reply

    If this method isn't working for you, try WinToFlash.

  10. Anonymous Reply


  11. Anonymous Reply

    method doesn't work! Tried on several computers it and with two different xp cd's both sp3 it will just say "The process entry point…… could not be located in the dynamic link ulib.dll" and if you skip the bit the there is another error Access Denied on the disk

  12. Anonymous Reply

    If you want to use this on Windows 7/Vista, change line:

    SYSTEM$ %USBDRV% /FS:FAT /q /u /backup /v:ETOOLS /x

    to this: %USBDRV% /FS:FAT /q /u /backup /v:ETOOLS /x

    If you don't do this you will get an error like some previous comment mentions.

  13. Anonymous Reply

    I get this when I press any key:
    Checking USB drive E: ..
    Checking XP source ..
    Checking required files ..
    Press any key to continue . . .
    By pressing the key the window shuts down and nothing happens…

  14. Anonymous Reply

    that error occurs when you havent correctly modified the source location for the xp disk.
    Steps 1-5

  15. Anonymous Reply

    The default file is currently set to xpsp3, so if yours is 2, it will also have to be changed. It can't find a file that doesn't exist.

    I have noticed that the message will also occur when it's looking for xpsp anything on an older original that predates the xpsp file. Which is my current hangup and question. Do I just delete that part or ?

  16. hulkbuster Reply

    I tried this, although it make the USB bootable, after i choose the Recovery Option, i was not able to use any of the commands like chkdsk, fixboot.
    It just freezes and it stall, i had to reset everytime it does that.
    Someone prove me wrong.

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