What is Windows RE and How to Boot into Windows Recovery Environment

By | December 18, 2021

If you’ve been using Windows for a long time, then I’m sure you know about Advanced Recovery mode. A blue screen that offers troubleshoot, recover, restore, command line options and more. It is a screen called Microsoft Windows RE or Windows Recovery Environment. In this article, I will share more about Windows RE and how to boot into Windows Recovery Environment.

Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) is a companion operating system that is installed with Windows 10 or Windows 11 on a separate partition. It can help us with troubleshooting, recovery or booting from external media like USB flash drives. Windows RE can fix common problems that cause the operating system to not boot. Microsoft also allows IT admins to customize it. They can add additional drivers, languages, diagnostic tools and can also include parts of Windows PE (Windows Preinstallation Environment). It is available on all Windows 10, Windows 11 and Windows Server installations.

Windows RE comes pre-installed on the OS, so you don’t need to create a bootable USB or ISO when troubleshooting.

How to Enter Windows Recovery Environment

Since Windows RE is pre-installed on your Windows 10 or Windows 11 then you can boot into it. There are many ways to do it.

  • If you are stuck at the login screen, then click the button Shutdown, then select for Restart by pressing and holding the button Shift.
  • While inside Windows 10, press the key Win + I to open Settings and select Updates & security. On the next page, click Recovery in the left pane and click Restart now under section Advanced startup in the right pane.
  • While inside Windows 11, press the key Win + I to open Settings. Then click System in the right pane and click Recovery in the right pane. Next in section Recovery options, click Restart now for options Advanced startup. Then click Restart now in the confirmation window.
  • Another way is to run the command reagentc /boottore in command prompt with adnib rights and restart the device to boot into WinRE.
  • Run command shutdown /r /o in command prompt with admin rights and restart device to boot into WinRE.

Some OEMs offer a recovery key or hardware combination to boot directly into Windows RE. This is useful when you encounter a BSOD and you don’t have a recovery media.

After following one of the above methods, you will have two options in the boot menu. The first is to boot into Windows RE and second to boot normally into Windows OS.

In Windows 10 or Windows 11, the local copy of Windows RE gets the update as part of the OS update. Usually, a newer version of the Windows RE image replaces the existing one.

Windows RE can also be launched automatically in case of an emergency. There are special scenarios where the boot process on the PC can identify the problem. When that happens, your PC will boot directly into Windows RE. Cases that can boot Windows RE automatically include;

  • Two attempts to start Windows failed successively.
  • When the computer suddenly shuts down more than twice and within two minutes of the boot process.

What Windows RE . Can Do

  • Troubleshoot startup or boot problems.
  • System image recovery for Windows Server 2016, Server 2012 R2 and Server 2012.

In the Windows RE window, you will see options like:

  • System Restore: Useful if you want to restore your Windows 10 or Windows 11 PC.
  • System Image Recovery: This lets you restore Windows using a system image file.
  • Startup Repair: Fixed startup issues.
  • Command Prompt: Using CMD, you can access more advanced Windows built-in tools such as SFC, DISM, ChkDsk, Registry Editor, Group Policy Editor and others.
  • Startup Settings: This lets you change your Windows startup options.
  • Uninstall Updates: This Allows you to uninstall new buggy updates on your Windows.
  • Go back to the previous build: Allows you to return to the previous build.

Can I delete the Windows RE partition?

If you open the Disk Management Tool, then you may see Recovery Partition. This is the Windows Recovery Environment. Although you can delete it, but I recommend you not to delete it because you never know when you need it.

Hope this is useful for you! You can also read my other articles on how to boot or repair a Windows PC using installation media or how to fix Windows 10/11 slow boot.

So many tutorials this time. Hopefully this is useful and helps you understand what Windows RE is and how to boot into the Windows Recovery Environment on your Windows 10 or Windows 11. Don’t forget to leave your comments below to share your thoughts and experiences in following this tutorial. Thank you and GBU. UNITED AGAINST COVID-19!!

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