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Windows Recovery Environment also known as WinRE can be used resetting or repairing the OS or changing UEFI or startup settings.

The Windows Recovery Environment boots off an image that has the files inside the image, sometimes the image is in the recovery partition, sometimes it's in the Recovery folder on the C:\ drive, sometimes it's in the recovery folder in the system32 folder.

The Windows Recovery Environment is also on installation media except without the Startup Settings and in the Windows 10 installation media, it doesn't have the reset utility.

Choose an Option

This is the Windows Recovery Environment in Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10.

Options

  • Continue

This will restart the computer.

  • Use a Device

Used to boot off a USB device or a disc.

  • Troubleshoot

Clicking this option will bring you more options.

The options in the Troubleshoot menu:

This resets the computer but keeps personal files.

You can choose to keep your files or remove them, you can choose to just remove your files or make fully clean the drive.

  • Advanced Options

Gives you more options.

In the Advanced Options Menu:

  • System Restore

Lets you restore your computer from a restore point that was automatically created in the OS or you created it yourself.

  • System Image Recovery

Lets you restore a system image from a disc or USB.

Uninstalls the computer's updates.

Lets you restore your computer from a system image that comes from a disc or a USB drive.

  • Startup Repair

Startup Repair tries to fix problems automatically.

  • Command Prompt

Opens up a command window for you to preform advanced recovery methods.

  • UEFI Firmware Settings (UEFI Systems Only)

Reboots to Computer's Setup Utility or boot menu, you can change settings in the setup.

  • Startup Settings

Reboots into the Windows Startup Settings, Lets you enable safe mode, disable driver disable driver signature enforcement and more,

Restores the computer back to the previous version.

Ways the Windows Recovery Environment will start

  • 2 times of failed startup - It will run Automatic Repair (The same thing as startup repair).
  • Corrupted driver or file - It will run Automatic Repair (The same thing as startup repair).
  • Shift + Restart then clicking an option. - It will load the option you choose when it enters the Recovery Environment.
  • Holding recovery key to launch recovery partition. - It will bring you to the Choose an Option menu.
  • Clicking the reset button on the reset your pc option. - It will automatically start resetting once it enters the recovery environment
  • Running the reagentc /boottore command in an administrative command prompt and then rebooting the computer. - It will bring you to the Choose an Option menu.
  • In Startup Settings, pressing F10, then pressing F1 or 1. - It will bring you to the Choose an Option menu.

History

In Windows 7, the recovery environment has a different interface, Startup Repair looks different too, windows memory diagnostic was removed from the Windows Recovery Environment, but you could still access it from the Windows 8 Recovery Environment by going to the command prompt, then notepad, then "File", then "Open", then "This PC", then "X:\", then "Windows", then 'System32", then look for the file, then right click and click "Open".

Windows Vista doesn't have the Windows Recovery Environment in the system, but it does have it on the installation, it's a lot similar to the Windows 7 Recovery Environment.

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