By Ivy / Last update September 24, 2021

Error: Could not find recovery environment

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?

Why does this problem occur?

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.

How to 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 ‚Äúreagentc /info‚ÄĚ in an alleviated command prompt to check the recovery status.

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

2. Type ‚Äúreagentc /info‚ÄĚ (without quotes) and press Enter.

3. If it is disabled, just type ‚Äúreagentc /enable‚ÄĚ 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 Winre.wim corrupted or missing

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: ‚Äúdir /a /s d:\winre.wim‚ÄĚ (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 ‚Äúreagentc /setreimage /path [path]‚ÄĚ 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.

Easier way to access recovery environment and restore system

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 Standard is a freeware 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 and free backup software here, and follow the guide below to have a try.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Create automatic system backup in case of recovery needs

A system image of a healthy state is the basis for system recovery. So before creating a boot option or bootable drive, you may need to create a system backup first.

1. Click on Backup tab, and select System Backup. Depending on what you want to include in the backup, you can also choose Disk Backup, File Backup or Partition Backup in daily use.

System Backup

2. To simplify the backup process, the program automatically includes all the related system partitions in the backup. So you only need to select a target path to store the image backup.

Start Backup

3. Click Schedule to set up an automatic backup on basis of daily/weekly/monthly/etc. After that, click Start Backup to execute the task.


  • In addition to¬†full backup, you can also perform incremental or differential backup to save only changed files.
  • A backup scheme enables you to auto delete older backups. It's available in AOMEI Backupper Professional.
  • The create system image can be restore to another computer via the dissimilar restore feature (supported by Pro edition). It's especially useful when a computer fails without any previous preparations.¬†

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

This will add "AOMEI Backupper recovery environment" to the boot options menu. Thus even when Windows 10/11 could not find recovery environment, you can enter WinPE through the option, and then perform system backup & restore via AOMEI Backupper.

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

Create Recovery Environment

2. 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 boot option that works only on the current computer, a created bootable media is available on any computer running the same or lower version of Windows. With it, you can boot a problematic PC into recovery environment, and then perform system restore via AOMEI Backupper.

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

create bootable media

2. 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

3. 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

This way, when there is a problem with your computer, you can perform system restore via the bootable media.


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 system image and recovery environment for effective system restore.

AOMEI Backupper has a completely free Standard edition for your personal use. If you want to protect unlimited computers within your company, then have a try on AOMEI Backupper Technician.

With its AOMEI Image Deploy tool, you can deploy/restore system image file on server-side computer to multiple client-side computers over network. And with the Create Portable Version tool, you could make a portable backup software on removable device and connect it to any target PC to perform backup without installation.