The days of recovering that pesky pc using boot cds or command line schnanigans are officially over why? Because why mess about with them when you can carry an OS in your pocket! I have recently been delving into the world of installing and running an OS from your usb stick.
Now all you need is a decent size stick (at least 2gb) and the original installation ISO or files, using a combination of tools you can successfully run windows,Linux and even MAC OS X from stick now if that's not impressive I don't know what is!
A personal favorite of mine is hirens bootcd 14, now this can be setup to boot from usb and give you every tool you need to recover the system and also contains a mini version of windows xp to give you full control over it
Now this software due to licensing must be acquired from dubious sources that I cannot link to, however there is another choice if you wanted something a little more legal!
Ubuntu 11.4 has recently been released and allows you to create a usb stick version straight out the bag, very useful! This is the full version and can allow you to do everything you would do off an installed hard drive version