70-240 in 15 minutes a week: Monitoring and Optimizing System Performance and Reliability Page 5

System Startup Options

Some of the familiar startup options from NT 4, along with a whole range of other options that you may be familiar with from Windows 9x are now available in Windows 2000. Pressing F8 when prompted during the boot process accesses the advanced startup menu. Many of the options are useful is a system is not capable of booting correctly due to driver and service issues. The list below outlines the choices you will be presented with and their associated uses.

Safe Mode: Boots Windows 2000 using the minimum required system files and device drivers.
Safe Mode with Networking: As above, but including networking support.
Safe Mode with Command Prompt: Same as Safe Mode, except that it boots to the command prompt instead of the GUI.
Enable Boot Logging: Starts all drivers and services, and logs details to a file called Ntbtlog.txt in the %systemroot% directory (this file is also created when any of the safe mode options are chosen - it can be an important source of troubleshooting information).
Enable VGA Mode: Boots Windows 2000 normally, but with a VGA display driver.
Last Known Good Configuration: Boots Windows 2000 using the last known good registry configuration, which would have been created at the last successful logon. This option should be used prior to attempting an emergency repair using the ERD.
Directory Services Restore Mode: For domain controllers only, this option is used to restore the Active Directory and/or the Sysvol folder.
Debugging Mode: Boots the system normally, but sends debugging information to another system connected via a serial cable.

The Recovery Console

Windows 2000 provides the ability to access an advanced troubleshooting environment referred to as the Recovery Console. This tool, which is not installed by default, can be installed by running the winnt32 /cmdcons command. This option provides a command-line interface, similar to DOS, but with a more limited command set available. The recovery console will allow you to start and stop services, fix the master boot record, replace files, and so forth. However, there are certain things it will not allow you to do, such as edit a file. If you needed to do this, you would have to copy the file to a floppy, and edit it on another system. If you have not installed the Recovery Console in advance and need to use it, can still be accessed by booting the system using the Windows 2000 CD, choosing the option to repair Windows 2000, and then starting the Recovery Console. 

If already installed, you can access the Recovery Console by rebooting and choosing the Recovery Console option from the boot loader menu. After it starts, you must log on with the local administrator account name and password. Remember that the recovery console provides access only to a limited set of commands, such as fixmbr (to fix the master boot record), format, disable (service or device driver) and so forth. For a complete list of supported commands, look here.

Well, that again does it for another week. Next week we'll explore two topics, both troubleshooting the desktop environment as well as implementing and troubleshooting security. I would again like to thank all of you who have been following the series, and writing me with your questions and comments. One side note for those studying. I hope you'll consider posting your study-related questions to my message board instead of emailing them to me directly. The reason is simple - if you have a question, somebody else likely does as well, and the answer will likely benefit many people. As for your general questions and comments, please continue to email them to me directly - I appreciate your feedback. Please don't forget to visit my website - there will be a whole slew of new free study exams released in the next few weeks, on top of many new features recommended by you! Until next week, best of luck with your studies.


This article was originally published on Mar 22, 2001
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