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".
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?
Why does the recovery environment missing?
There are many possible causes, but it is most likely because:
- Windows RE status was disabled
- Winre.wim file is corrupted
- The Windows 10/11 installation disk is broken
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
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.
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:
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:
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.
With its concise interface, the whole operation can be done smoothly and easily. Download the backup software here, and follow the guide below to have a try.
(PS: The free trial version can only be used within 30 days. To continuously protect data and recover system in a disaster, please upgrade pro trial 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.
- Launch the software, navigate to Tools tab and select Recovery Environment under Common Tools.
- In the pop-up window, enable the boot option of recovery environment, then select its standing time.
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.
- Go to Tools tab and select Create Bootable Media.
- Choose the bootable disc type. Windows PE is recommended, and the created disc will be compatible with both legacy/MBR and UEFI/GPT.
- 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.
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.
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.
If you encounter the problem that Windows 10/11 could not find the recovery environment, try above methods to fix it. Or, you can use AOMEI Backupper to create recovery environment or bootable media in case of computer failure. To restore system in a diaster, you still need to create a system image or disk image in advance when you choose the latter.
The create system image can be restore to another computer via the dissimilar restore feature. It's especially useful when a computer fails without any previous preparations. And its technician or techplus edition still allows you to deploy system image to multiple computers over network, and create a portable version of this software on removable device and connect it to any target PC to perform backup without installation.