For the most part, installing Windows, either XP or Vista, from scratch is pretty simple. But on occasion, sometimes the installation cannot find a driver or you may need to perform a task such as check disk space or even run Task Manager.
For times like this, being able to access a command prompt to run commands may seem impossible, but it's actually very easy to do with a simple keyboard shortcut.
To open a command prompt during installation, wait until the installation has reached the "Installing Windows" phase.
Then just press SHIFT+F10 and a command prompt will open.
With access to the command prompt, at the early phase of the installation, the Windows and System32 folders are available, allowing access to all Windows commands. This will allow you to use the find command and run a search if needed.
You can even browse the CD from where Windows is being installed by changing directories to the D:\ drive or open up Task Manager (by typing taskmgr at the prompt) and keep an eye on Processes and CPU/Memory utilization (just the little tricks us Sys Admins do to pass time away ).
Now, with Task Manager open, this is where the real power of accessing the file system happens. Just click on File \ New Task (Run…) and click the Browse… button.
And you now have access to a Windows Explorer dialog box, where you can browse the file system.
If you get to the point where you had several Windows open, you can minimize them to the bottom (although as this point no desktop or task bar exist).
By just accessing the command prompt during installation, opens up unlimited possibilities to using commands and browsing the file system. As the installation proceeds, Networking becomes available and the use of consoles (such as Services) can be used.
Know of any more Windows Installation tricks? Let me know by leaving a comment below