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Windows XP Recovery Console – So, Your Desktop Has Been Highjacked Part 1

February 3, 2012 Leave a comment

Windows XP Recovery Console – So, Your Desktop Has Been Highjacked Part 1

Note: Please read the entire document before you begin, if you change the wrong setting it could cause Windows XP not to boot up.

Warning: You must replace the forward slash in the command line with a back slash, otherwise you will receive a “bad command or file name” error message in the Recovery Console. When I tried to publish this article, It removed all the back slashes, so I put forward slashes in their place so you would where to put the back slash.

You’ve installed a seemingly innocent application, restarted your computer, and suddenly you see the horror, your background has changed, it’s dark and has a message that says you’ve won the grand prize. You try restarting your computer again, same thing. You’ve been hijacked; meaning your background has been hijacked. What will you do? Well, don’t let it ruin your day. If you’re using Windows XP there is help.

I’m going to show you how to bring your background back to life, and restore it to the point it was before
it was hijacked. You may want to print this article; it may be easier to follow along. By the way, this routine only works with Windows XP, either Professional or XP Home Edition.

Here’s what to do: First, get the Windows XP CD you used to install your operating system. If you don’t
Have a bootable XP CD, get one and have it with you at all times. But before you do anything with that CD, right click on your background and chose properties. If there is a background tab click on it. You have different background options, choose one. Then click “apply”. Occasionally, for some odd reason, this works. Usually not, though. If you’ve tried that and everything else you can think of, then keep reading and we will have your computer running smooth before you know it.

If you don’t have a background tab, then read the instructions below and things will soon be fixed. Put the XP CD in the drive, and restart your computer. When it says, “press any key to boot from CD,” go ahead, press any key and you’re on your way to the magical Windows XP Recovery Console. If it doesn’t give you a choice to boot from your CD drive, go into your computer’s BIOS and change the boot order to boot from CD. PC brands and motherboards are too diverse to give you specifics on this, so follow the prompts and you will be able change the boot order without too much trouble. Look at your screen when it boots up, it should say hit del, or press f1 to enter setup. If you can’t get your computer to boot from CD then you will have to take your computer to the repair shop, because to get to the Recovery Console you need to be able to boot from the Windows XP CD.

OK, it’ll look like you’re re-installing Windows XP but don’t worry you’re not. This is just a screen showing you that your computer is loading enough files from the CD to actually do something. Now when you see the screen that asks you if you want to install Windows, don’t! Just hit R for recover, and you’ll see the ominous Recovery Console. Don’t let that intimidate you; the Recovery Console will become your closest friend. It will have a dark, bleak screen, with the following things:

Microsoft Windows Recovery Console

The Recovery Console provides system repair and recovery functionality.
Type EXIT to quit the Recovery Console and restart your computer.


Which Windows installation would you like to log onto?
(To cancel, press ENTER)?

Go ahead and hit the number 1 on your keyboard, or whichever number corresponds to the operating system you were using when havoc struck. Enter your administrator password, and hit enter. You’re in.

OK let’s get started. If you type the following commands into your computer, it will work magic, like going back in time. There are three parts to this process, but believe me; they take much less time than reinstalling Windows XP and all your programs. So follow along and keep in mind that each command must be typed exactly as you see it here. Again remember to replace the forward slash with a back slash as stated at the beginning of this article. Please note that this procedure assumes that Windows XP is installed to the C:/Windows folder. If you run a dual boot system, change the drive letter to the drive where Windows is installed. The copy commands will answer you with a little “file copied” message. The delete commands just move on to the next line. Because of the way your web browser displays individual lines, a command might look to you like it’s two lines, so I’ve separated each command by an empty line. So make sure you type the whole command in one line, and when you are finished typing that command, hit the enter key. Be sure to include the spaces I’ve included between each word here. OK let’s start typing.

md tmp

copy C:/windows/system32/config/system C:/windows/tmp/system.bak

copy C:/windows/system32/config/software C:/windows/tmp/software.bak

copy C:/windows/system32/config/sam C:/windows/tmp/sam.bak

copy C:/windows/system32/config/security C:/windows/tmp/security.bak

copy C:/windows/system32/config/default C:/windows/tmp/default.bak

delete C:/windows/system32/config/system

delete C:/windows/system32/config/software

delete C:/windows/system32/config/sam

delete C:/windows/system32/config/security

delete C:/windows/system32/config/default

copy C:/windows/repair/system C:/windows/system32/config/system

copy C:/windows/repair/software C:/windows/system32/config/software

copy C:/windows/repair/sam C:/windows/system32/config/sam

copy C:/windows/repair/security C:/windows/system32/config/security

copy C:/windows/repair/default C:/windows/system32/config/default

Now take a deep breath. You’ve made it though the first part. Now what did you just do? I’ll tell you. You first created a temporary directory called “tmp” (md tmp), and then into it, you copied all the files that boot up Windows. Then you deleted all those startup files, one of which is the corrupted file that got you into this mess in the first place. After that, you copied into the same place fresh startup files from a special repair directory. When you reboot, Windows will look for those files where it always does, and there won’t be a corrupted file in the bunch. The only thing is, there won’t be all you’re setting for all those programs you run everyday, either. But not to worry we will fix that as well with the last two steps. Now type exit and watch your computer restart into Windows XP again. Be sure to reset your BIOS setting to boot from your hard disk drive and not from your CD rom drive. But wait. That’s not the way my Windows XP looked before this disaster struck! That’s ok. Hang in there. I’m going to show you how to restore your system to the way it was the moment before this nightmare began. So follow along and we’ll move on to part 2.

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