Beginner’s guide to Windows 10 Recovery Environment

You will learn how to enable or disable Windows 10 recovery environment and then launch it. And you always have a choice even if Windows 10 recovery environment missing. Get them right now!


By Ivy / Updated on October 20, 2022

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Overview of Windows 10 Recovery Environment

Windows Recovery Environment(WinRE) is a preloaded recovery environment in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, which allows you to repair, reset or diagnose your computer when it’s unbootable. And this process can be manual or automatic. Among them, WinRE starts automatically after detecting the following issues:

  • Two consecutive startup failures.

  • Two consecutive unexpected shutdowns or system reboots within two minutes of boot completion.

  • Secure Boot error (except for issues related to Bootmgr.efi).

  • BitLocker error on touch-only devices.

The WinRE is based on Windows Preinstallation Environment(Windows PE), and consists of three files, including winre.wim, boot.sdi, ReAgent.xml.

  • winre.wim – WIM image with WinPE and several additional recovery tools. You can see Reset This PC, System Restore, Startup Repair, System Image Recovery, Command Prompt etc at a blue Choose an Option screen or blue Troubleshoot screen.

  • boot.sdi – This file is used to create a RAM disk in memory.

  • ReAgent.xml —This file is WindowsRE configuration file, which can help you customize the WinRE by addition drivers, languages, Windows PE Optional Component, and other troubleshooting and diagnostic tools.

    Windows Recovery Environment Files

How to Enable or Disable Windows 10 Recovery Environment using Command Prompt

In this part, you will learn how to enable or disable Windows 10 recovery environment using command prompt. For detailed steps, please keep reading below.

Enable Windows 10 Recovery Environment 

  1. Open an elevated command prompt with administrator priority.
  2. Type reagentc /info in the command prompt window and hit Enter.
  3. Then, look for Windows RE status to check the Windows 10 recovery environment status, it can be Enabled or Disabled.
  4. If it’s Disabled, type reagentc /enable and hit Enter to enable WinRE.

Enable Windows 10 Recovery Environment

Disable Windows 10 Recovery Environment 

  1. Open command prompt window and run as administrator.
  2. (Optional) Check Windows 10 recovery environment status, you can type the command line reagentc /info and look for the status of it .
  3. Type reagentc /disable and hit enter to disable Windows 10 recovery environment.

How to Launch Windows 10 Recovery Rnvironment for Troubleshoot

You probably don’t know there are many ways you can use to launch Windows 10 recovery environment and then troubleshoot your computer. Just select one of the x ways per your needs. Then, let’s learn them in detail.

Way 1: Use combination key

Select Start -> Power, and then press and hold Shift key while clicking Restart.

Restart to Recovery Environment

Way 2: Use Advanced startup option

Select Start -> Settings -> Update and Security -> Recovery and then click Restart now under the Advanced startup option.

Advanced Satrtup

Way 3: Use shutdown command line

Open command prompt window and run shutdown /r /o command line.


Way 4: Use Windows 10 Recovery Drive

  1. Insert the recovery media into your computer, and be sure it can be detected. Then, restart your computer and then press a specific key you will see in the initial screen.
  2. Click Next until you see Repair your computer option. Then, click it to access a blue Troubleshoot window with 2 options. Click Reset this PC, you can reset Windows 10 while keeping my files.
  3. If that’s not what you want, click Advanced options and then select a recovery tool per your needs.

Advanced Option

Way 5: Force Restart

Start your computer and hold down the power button to shutdown it completely when you see the start up logo screen. Repeat once, and then start normally.

What can Windows 10 Recovery Tools can Do for You?

System Restore: Use a system restore point to make your computer back to an earlier date when it’s not in trouble. It requires at least one available restore point on the current computer. For detailed steps, check this article: How to Use System Restore from Boot in Windows 10/8/7?

System Image Recovery: Similar to System Restore, but this tool is more powerful. It can save your computer in a serious error, such as, system crash or hard disk failure by restoring system image to new hard drive. It requires a backup image created by (Windows 7) Backup and Restore. For detailed steps, please click on this article: 2 Ways to Restore Windows 10 System Image to New Hard Drive

Startup Repair: This tool may be launched automatically when your computer fail to boot twice in a row, then it will scan and fix the problem it detects. Also, you can launch this tool manually.

Command Prompt: You can use multiple command line to repair computer failure, such as, fix bcd startup error.

Startup Settings: It allows you to restart computer and change Windows startup behavior, such as, video resolution mode, debugging mode, boot logging, disable automatic restart on system failure etc.

Go back to the previous build: This is used to restore the same operating system to the version before you upgrade. For example, if you install Windows 10 1709 on your computer, then you use this option to go back to Windows 10 1703.

Windows 10 Recovery Tools

Windows 10 Recovery Environment Missing - How to Fix it Easily

Windows 10 recovery tools in the recovery environment can help you a lot when you need to repair your computer, but sometimes they are not working as usual. Here are some possible errors you may encounter:

An Unspecified Error Occurred During System Restore 0x80070002

System Restore Failed to Extract the File in Windows 7/8/10

Windows cannot find a system image on this computer

Windows 10 Startup Repair not working

◆ ...

At this time, you could consider using a self-booting recovery environment released by a trust and reliable backup and restore software like AOMEI Backupper Professional to access Windows 10 recovery environment and then restore Windows 10 system image to new hard drive. It requires at least one available system image backup created by AOMEI Backupper.

Then, let’s get started to enable/disable Windows 10 Recovery Environment using AOMEI Backupper Professional.

Enable Windows 10 Recovery Environment using AOMEI Backupper Professional

  1. Download AOMEI Backupper and install it. Then, launch it, click Tools and select Recovery Environment under the Common Tools line. 
Download Free Trial Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Recovery Environment

  1. Then, you will see the Recovery Environment Settings window, tick the option Enable the boot option of AOMEI Backupper recovery environment.

Add Boot Option

  1. Set the standing time on this boot menu. By default, it’s 8 seconds. But you can change it to a proper one you like. Then, click OK.

Set Standing Time

After that, you will be prompted the boot option will take effect at the next system startup, click OK to confirm and start the creation.

Recovery Environment Will Take Effect

  1. Wait until the process is complete and click X to exit this software.

Disable Windows 10 Recovery Environment using AOMEI Backupper Professional

  1. Launch this software again, and go to Recovery Environment.
  2. In the Recovery Environment Settings window, uncheck the option Enable the boot option of... and click OK to confirm.

Ucheck Boot Option

✦ The tool currently does not support systems before Windows 7.
✦ The tool currently does not support dynamic system.
✦ After the software is automatically updated or registered, it is recommended to update the recovery environment.
✦ When the loss of the recovery environment is detected, it is recommended to update the recovery environment to ensure that the recovery environment is available.

✦ It’s suggested to create system image backup in Windows 10 when it’s working properly, so you can use recovery environment to restore system image to new hard drive. If possible, please schedule backup system to keep track of changes made later.
✦ The recovery environment created by AOMEI Backupper is kept under the path C:\Aomei Recovery. If your C drive is wiped or damaged, it will not work. Please create a bootable USB as instead and then restore image from boot.

Your turn

That’s all for Windows 10 recovery environment, you can learn enable, disable and launch it. After that, you can use the recovery tools in the recovery environment to repair your computer and restore it to a good state.

In addition, you still can use AOMEI Backupper self-booting recovery environment to access Windows 10 recovery environment, then restore image or try other backup and recovery operations.

In sum, it’s a powerful software can help you protect data and system safely. Please download it to have a try! For IT technicians or small and medium-sized companies, you could use AOMEI Backupper Technician to protect unlimited PCs within one company while providing billable technical support as a service to unlimited clients.

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.