Fixed: Could Not Find Recovery Environment on Windows 10/11

Get the error “Could not find the recovery environment” when you refresh or reset Windows 10/11? Find answers on why it happens and how to solve it here.


by Ivy Updated on February 27, 2024

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Error: Could not find recovery environment on Windows 10

When you try to reset or refresh a Windows 10/11 PC, you may get an error saying "Could not find the recovery environment. Insert your Windows installation or recovery media, and restart your PC with the media".

Could Not Find The Recovery Environment

Even if you boot into recovery mode, you will find nothing under "Troubleshoot" - normally you should see "Reset your PC" or "Advanced Options" here. That is, you are unable to use any of the Windows 10/11 recovery options unless you insert a Windows recovery media or installation disc. So, what exactly causes such problems? Additionally, since Windows 10/11 recovery options sometimes does not work as it should, you are able to search for another path to recover operating system easily:

👉Create your own recovery environment in Windows 10/11

Why does the recovery environment missing?

There are many possible causes, but it is most likely because:

📴 Disabled Windows RE status

You can only enter the Windows Recovery Environment when the Windows RE status shows “Enabled”.

📑 Corrupted Winre.wim file

If the Winre.wim file is corrupted, then the Windows Recovery Environment cannot load.

❗ Broken installation disk

If you use a broken Windows 10/11 installation disk, then you cannot enter WinRE.

❓ Hardware or firmware issues

Problems with the hard drive, motherboard, or BIOS/UEFI settings can prevent WinRE from loading.

You can read this tutorial below to fix the error and continue using Windows recovery options. Or, you can try a reliable alternative to access recovery environment and perform system restore easily.

👉 Fix "Could not find the recovery environment" in Windows 10/11
👉 Create your own recovery environment in Windows 10/11

Fix "Could not find the recovery environment" in Windows 10/11

The first thing you should do is to check the Windows RE status. If the Windows RE location is missing, then you need to locate the Winre.wim file or copy it from other location.

You can also extract the Winre.wim file from Windows installation file.

Way 1. Enable Windows recovery environment

You can run the command “reagentc /info” in an alleviated command prompt to check the recovery status.

1. Type “CMD” in the Windows search box and press Enter. Locate the result Command Prompt, right click on it and select Run as administrator.

2. Type “reagentc /info” (without quotes) and press Enter.

3. If it is disabled, just type “reagentc /enable” to re-enable it.

Check Recovery Environment-status

If the Windows RE status is Enable and you still could not find the recovery environment, then you should check if the Windows RE location is valid. If this image file corrupted or missing, you cannot use the Windows Recovery Options.

Way 2. Fix corrupted or missing Winre.wim file

The Winre.wim file is usually located on Windows recovery partition. You cannot see it in Windows File Explorer because it does not have a drive letter. If you want to view the Winre.wim file, you need to assign a drive letter to the recovery partition with Disk Management or Diskpart.exe.

In some cases, there is no recovery partition on your system disk. Then, the Winre.wim file is usually located on C: \Recovery, which is a hidden folder.

In order to locate the Winre.wim file, you can search the file on your computer. From an elevated Command Prompt, type the following command to search for the Winre.wim file on C: drive:

dir /a /s c:\winre.wim

In a rare case, the Winre.wim file may be stored on another drive. Then you need to change the switch C: to the corresponding drive letter. For example, to search D: drive for the file, type: “dir /a /s d:\winre.wim” (without quotes).

When you find the Winre.wim file and it is vaild, you can type the command:

reagentc /setreimage /path [path of Winre.wim]

Here's my example: Reagentc /setreimage /path C:\Recovery\WindowsRE.

If the Winre.wim file is corrupted, then you can copy the Winre.wim file on another computer that runs the same version of Windows to this computer. If you have the Install.esd file, you can extract that file and then you will get the Winre.wim file.

When you get the Winre.wim file on your computer, do not forget to run the “reagentc /setreimage /path [path]” command to specify the Windows recovery environment location.

Way 3. Use a Windows installation or recovery media instead

If you have Windows 10/11 recovery disk or installation drive, then you do not really need to fix this error, instead, you can use it to reset your Windows 10/11 or use any other recovery options. You can also create a recovery disk from another computer to use recovery options.

Create your own recovery environment in Windows 10/11

Since Windows 10/11 recovery options sometimes does not work as it should, you may consider creating an alternative path to recover operating system easily.

AOMEI Backupper Professional is a reliable software supporting Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP/Vista. It provides complete features to backup OS regularly, and create a recovery environment (WinPE) for system recovery in case the computer crashes or even fails to boot.

AOMEI Backupper
Best Windows Data Protection Tool
  • User-friendly: The operation is simple and easy to understand, users can master and use it even for non-technical users.
  • Custom Drive and Recovery Environment Settings: Users can customize the bootable media for backup and recovery: both Windows PE-based and Linux kernel-based.
  • Quick Creation and One-Click Restore: It enables rapid creation of backup for restoration of systems or files in recovery environment when needed.

(PS: The free trial version can only be used within 30 days. To continuously protect data and recover system in a disaster, please upgrade to full version.)

Add an easy-to-use recovery option to boot menu

This will add "AOMEI Backupper recovery environment" to the boot options menu and you will see it every time you start a computer. Thus, even when Windows 10/11 could not find recovery environment, you can enter WinPE and recover system via AOMEI Backupper.

  1. Launch the software, navigate to Tools tab and select Recovery Environment under Common Tools.

Create Recovery Environment

  1. In the pop-up window, enable the boot option of recovery environment, then select its standing time. 

Enable Boot Option

Create a bootable media that can be used on any computer

Unlike the recovery environment that works only on the current computer, you can choose to create a bootable media to boot any computer running the same or lower version of Windows. It works the same as recovery environment, but requires you to prepare a USB or CD/DVD to store all the boot files.

  1. Go to Tools tab and select Create Bootable Media.

Create Bootable Media

  1. Choose the bootable disc type. Windows PE is recommended, and the created disc will be compatible with both legacy/MBR and UEFI/GPT.

Choose Windows PE

  1. Select the media you want to use. You can choose USB drive, CD/DVD, or import the ISO file directly. Click Next to start creating it.

Choose Bootable Media

Create automatic system backup in case of recovery needs:

Either way, when there is a problem with your computer, you can perform system restore in the recovery environment. And it requires a system image of a healthy state for system recovery. So you may need  to create a system backup first.

Launch this software, switch to Backup tab and select System Backup. Then, it will automatically include all the related system partitions to simplify the backup process. So you only need to select a target path to store the image backup. Afterward, click Start Backup to execute the task.

Select Backup Destination

In daily use, you need to set this task automatically and worry-free:

  • Click Options to enable email notification, normal or high compression level, automatic or customized splitting, etc.
  • Click Schedule Backup to set up an automatic backup on basis of daily/weekly/monthly/etc. 
  • Click Backup Scheme to save only changed files with incremental or differential backup or delete old backups with automatic backup cleanup. 

Enable Automatic Backup Cleanup

FAQ for Recovery Environment 

1. What is a Recovery Environment, and why is it important for my computer?

A recovery environment is a special feature built into your computer's operating system that helps you troubleshoot and fix issues when your system encounters problems. It provides tools and utilities to repair or restore your system to a working state.

2. How do I access the Recovery Environment on my computer?

The method to access the recovery environment varies depending on your computer's operating system. Generally, you can access it by restarting your computer and pressing a specific key combination (such as F8 or Shift + F8) during the boot process.

3. What tools are available in the Recovery Environment, and what can I use them for?

The recovery environment typically includes tools like System Restore, Startup Repair, Command Prompt, and options to reset or reinstall your operating system. These tools can help you diagnose and fix issues related to system crashes, boot failures, corrupted system files, and more.

4. Can I create a Recovery Drive or disk to access the recovery environment if my computer won't boot?

Yes, many operating systems allow you to create a recovery drive or disk beforehand, which you can use to boot into the recovery environment even if your computer won't start normally. It's a good practice to create one as a precautionary measure.

5. Is it safe to use the recovery environment, and will I lose my files or data?

Yes, it's generally safe to use the recovery environment, as its primary purpose is to help you fix problems without risking data loss. However, certain actions like resetting or reinstalling your operating system may result in data loss, so it's essential to proceed with caution and backup your important files before performing any major operations.


Resolve the "Windows cannot find recovery environment" problem with the provided methods. Alternatively, utilize AOMEI Backupper to create a recovery environment or bootable media for computer failure situations.

Prepare a system or disk backup image in advance for seamless restoration. With the dissimilar restore feature in AOMEI Backupper, the backup image can be restored to another computer.

AOMEI Backupper's advanced editions offer additional capabilities. Deploy system images across networks or create a portable version to perform backups on any PC without installation. 

Ivy · Editor
Ivy is an editor of AOMEI Technology, she covers backup & restore,hard disk & partitions management and cloud files transfer and so on for AOMEI. She is an outgoing girl and enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She usually hangs out with friends at her leisure time.