I have used and read about the Combofix utility and the Microsoft Recovery console. If you use Combofix, it will install the Microsoft Recovery Console. But after that some are having problems removing the recovery console. I usually leave it installed, but certainly it is best to be able to put a machine back in the same state it was in especially if you are working on it for someone else. So I decided to see how I could use Combofix and get rid of the recovery console.
The first test was actually to install the console myself before running Combofix. You do this from the CD that has your installation files for Windows XP. One note here is that you need the right version for the one installed. That is, if you have Windows XP with SP3 installed, you are better doing it with a Slipstreamed XP CD (To slipstream, you can also look at downloading Nlite which makes the job a lot easier). The command to do this is: driveletter_of_CD:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons.
Once you have done this, then you can install Combofix and run it. It will not install the Recovery Console because it is already there.
Once you are done, you can follow Microsoft's instructions for removing the recovery console. It will work just fine.
Now if you have the console because it was installed by Combofix, then this is where some have encountered the problem. I have read numerous post about this. If I have the chance (this will be my second test), I will try to remove the console after installing it with Combofix. If you can install the console yourself before using Combofix, then I suggest you do it that way. Of course you are running Combofix because you have a virus, so that might not be possible then. Since the times I have had to use it was in such a case, I just let Combofix install the recovery console because the computer already was in such a sad state.