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What is the Recovery Console used for?
The Recovery Console is used for various repairs of your system. It can be very useful when you are unable to boot Windows XP.
What are the advantages of installing it?
The main advantage is the time it takes to enter it.  If you don't install it, you need your XP CD ready and have to wait for XP Setup to load all of the drivers.
How do I install it?
The installation is very fast and simple, but you will need your XP CD in your CD and/or DVD drive.  You can hold Shift down after inserting it to prevent autoplay.
1.  Go to Start | Run
2.  Type X:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons but replace x with the drive letter where the XP CD is.
3.  Read the window that pops up and click Yes to continue
4.  Allow Dynamic Update to run and connect to the Internet if your firewall asks
5.  When it is done, click Finish.
This will add the Recovery Console to your boot menu, but if it is not modified already, it will show for 30 seconds to let you choose. I personally don't like this making my computer take 30 seconds longer to boot, so you probably don't want to keep that:
1. Press the Windows key + Pause/Break to open System Properties
2. Go to the Advanced tab and click "Settings" under "Startup and Recovery"
3. Uncheck "Time to display list of operating systems" or decrease the time.
4. Click OK on each window.