Windows 10: Questions regarding the Windows Recovery Environment partition (WinRe)

Discus and support Questions regarding the Windows Recovery Environment partition (WinRe) in Windows 10 Support to solve the problem; These questions may be plainly obvious to many. However before now I have never copied partitions to a new drive and am approaching all of this from a... Discussion in 'Windows 10 Support' started by TimeLoss, Sep 27, 2017.

  1. TimeLoss Win User

    Questions regarding the Windows Recovery Environment partition (WinRe)


    These questions may be plainly obvious to many. However before now I have never copied partitions to a new drive and am approaching all of this from a position of ignorance.

    I recently installed a 250gb mSata SSD into my laptop meant to boot the operating system while the preexisting hard drive will be used handle the bulk of the laptop's storage.

    I reduced my Hard Drive down to 50gb and then made a system image backup as a precaution in case things went wrong. When this was done I used a program to copy the drive to the mSata. Afterwords I removed the older Hard Drive with the intentions of reformatting it before putting it back into the laptop. I have yet to reformat the older Hard Drive.

    Everything boots fine on the new drive, however the new drive is missing the "WinRe" Windows Recovery Environment partition which is used to provide certain recovery and troubleshooting options for Windows 10. Without that partition I cannot access the recovery environment or make a recovery drive. Yet nothing short of a full Windows reinstall seems to be able to recreate the WinRe partition.

    I have an old 2013 version of Office provided by my College that I am trying to keep and am not keen on reinstalling the OS.

    So my questions are as follows:
    Is there anyway to restore the WinRe partition in a current Windows 10 installation without a full reinstall?

    What are any potential future problems if Windows 10 does not have access to the WinRe partition?

    Is there an adequate replacement with the same functionality as the Windows Recovery Environment if I am unable to restore it?


    :)
     
    TimeLoss, Sep 27, 2017
    #1

  2. Seemingly fragmented Disk (many unused, unallocated partions)

    Hi Anh,

    What you're looking at is a critical recovery partition like WinRE. When the computer fails to start, Windows automatically fails over into this environment to fix unexpected booting behavior. Having a multiple un-allocated partition is normal.

    Don't hesitate to update us if you need further assistance.

    Best regards.
     
    Roberto Ven, Sep 27, 2017
    #2
  3. Reaching the Command Prompt when your Computer doesn't Boot

    Hi Tony,

    You can access the Command Prompt through Windows Recovery Environment. We suggest that you visit this
    link on how to use Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) to troubleshoot common
    startup issues.

    Let us know if you have any other questions.
     
    Robelene Win, Sep 27, 2017
    #3
  4. topgundcp Win User

    Questions regarding the Windows Recovery Environment partition (WinRe)

    topgundcp, Sep 27, 2017
    #4
  5. TimeLoss Win User
    I phrased that wrong, I meant to say that I took everything off the Hard Drive until around 50GB of space was used then copied it over to the 250GB mSATA SDD. Probably too much detail for the purposes of these questions. The new drive boots into Windows fine, but the "WINRE" partition was not transferred over.

    Here are the new mSATA SDD partitions:

    Questions regarding the Windows Recovery Environment partition (WinRe) [​IMG]


    And here are the old Hard Drive partitions:

    Questions regarding the Windows Recovery Environment partition (WinRe) [​IMG]


    On the old Hard Drive, the 872mb "Recovery" partition on the right is probably just left over from when this laptop used Windows 8. But the 300mb "WINRE" partition on the left is what is used by Windows 10's Windows Recovery Environment for certain restore and troubleshooting functionality.

    Edit: I should probably further clarify that I am concerned about the long-term health of my laptop without the WinRe partition, as I tend to keep computers for a very long time.

    Edit: Edit: Oops, I am still saying it wrong. I meant to say that only 50GB of space was USED, not LEFT
     
    TimeLoss, Sep 27, 2017
    #5
  6. topgundcp Win User
    In Windows 8.1, the Windows disk layout is as followed:
    300MB Recovery, 100MB EFI partition, 128MB unformatted partition then C drive.
    NOTE: 128MB partition is hidden from disk management, use diskpart command to see it.

    In Windows 10:
    450MB Recovery, 100MB EFI partition, 16MB unformatted partition then C drive.
    NOTE: 16MB partition is hidden from disk management, use diskpart command to see it.

    Since you upgraded to 10 from 8.1, the Winre.wim for 10(containing tools for diagnostics/troubleshooting...) has a size ~340MB, hence there's not enough room so the upgrade created an extra Recovery partition after C, normally 450MB to store Winre.wim there.

    You did not copy any patition related to Recovery and that's why you lost this option.

    Most people in this forum use Macrium Reflect to backup/Restore/copy from one disk to another. My suggestion is to use Macrium to create a backup image from the old disk with all partitions included then restote to the SSD disk.
    NOTE: Macrium will adjust the size of the C partition accordingly when you restore the image to the SSD since the disk size is smaller than the old disk.
     
    topgundcp, Sep 28, 2017
    #6
  7. dalchina New Member
    The integrity of your OS as regards booting normally isn't in question.
    Without the Recovery partition you lack the option to boot to Safe Mode and similar modes.

    Questions regarding the Windows Recovery Environment partition (WinRe) [​IMG]


    The other recovery function you lose is so-called automatic repair- Windows attempt to fix things when it detects you can't boot. In practice this rarely seems to help.

    You also lack the convenience of being able to boot to
    - Startup repair
    - Command Prompt
    - System Restore


    However
    you can still boot from a Win 10 install medium and thus access the last 3.
     
    dalchina, Sep 28, 2017
    #7
  8. cereberus Win User

    Questions regarding the Windows Recovery Environment partition (WinRe)

    Personally, I delete the winre functions to save space as they are not essential. You can get all the same functionality from a windows installation drive using repair options.
     
    cereberus, Sep 28, 2017
    #8
  9. dalchina New Member
    Is 450Mb a worthwhile space saving? I'd have thought not, unless, say, you have a small system disk..
     
    dalchina, Sep 28, 2017
    #9
  10. lx07 Win User
    Shrink C by 500MB using disk management - just right click on C and select "shrink".

    Create a Recovery partition after C as recommended by Microsoft here : UEFI/GPT-based hard drive partitions | Microsoft Docs Code: diskpart select disk 1 create partition primary format quick fs=ntfs label="Recovery tools" assign letter="R" set id="de94bba4-06d1-4d40-a16a-bfd50179d6ac" gpt attributes=0x8000000000000001 exit[/quote] Then follow the steps here to copy the required Windows RE files and register - Deploy Windows RE | Microsoft Docs Code: mkdir R:\Recovery\WindowsRE xcopy /h C:\Windows\System32\Recovery\Winre.wim R:\Recovery\WindowsRE Reagentc /setreimage /path R:\Recovery\WindowsRE /target C:\Windows[/quote] Then run reagentc /info to check it.
     
  11. DavidY Win User
    Then run reagentc /info to check it.[/quote] I've been looking through the same documentation because successive windows version upgrades have left my machine with 3 Recovery partitions and I'd like to rationalise down to just one.

    However on my machine there is no file: C:\Windows\System32\Recovery\Winre.wim

    So the xcopy step wouldn't work for me, and if the OP's machine is the same, they would need to get winre.wim from somewhere - presumably the ISO of the relevant Windows 10 version would have one, although it won't have any machine-specific drivers?

    (In my case I can find it on the Recovery partition although curiously it's 670MB which is larger than expected and I've not figured out why yet. )
     
    DavidY, Sep 29, 2017
    #11
  12. topgundcp Win User
    topgundcp, Sep 29, 2017
    #12
  13. DavidY Win User

    Questions regarding the Windows Recovery Environment partition (WinRe)

    I know it's a hidden/system file, and always have these visible.

    But it's not in that folder (on 2 machines I've looked in). And reagentc is working just fine.

    The process which Ix07 linked to is about manual deployment for OEMs, but I think when it's deployed by Windows itself, it moves this file from the c:\windows folder into the recovery partition, and reagentc is pointed to ther recovery partition.

    My point was the OP probably can't follow the instructions mentioned if their machine is like mine, as their deployment would most likely also have moved the wimre.wim file to the (now-deleted) recovery partition.

    One alternative, as I mentioned, is to get it out of the .wim files in an .ISO (assuming the OP can get hold of one for the right edition), with the problem that any machine-specific drivers won't be there. The wimre.wim file I looked at on my machine seems to be larger due to a Synaptics driver for instance.
     
    DavidY, Sep 29, 2017
    #13
  14. Yes it is unless you have a 1TB SSD , I always remove it and you can still get into safe Mode and any mode you want by performing the following:

    Code: The source for this is "The How To Geek" http://www.howtogeek.com/245175/how-to-add-safe-mode-to-the-windows-8-and-10-boot-menu/ [​IMG] Booting into Safe Mode has long been a staple when troubleshooting Windows computers. Safe Mode starts Windows with only a limited set of files and drivers so you can figure out what’s wrong with your PC. But for some reason, Windows 8 and 10 make Safe Mode hard to get to. Here’s a fix for that. Before Windows 8 came along, you could press F8 right before Windows started loading to open a text-based Advanced Boot Options menu. That menu featured handy troubleshooting tools like booting into Safe Mode and starting Windows with the last known good configuration. Starting with Windows 8, that menu was removed in favor of a graphical menu that you could access in a few different ways–all more cumbersome than the original F8 shortcut. Fortunately, with a little Command Prompt wizardry, you can add Safe Mode right back to a boot menu that’s always available when you start up. Of course, if you just want to return to accessing the classic menu with the F8 key, we’ve got you covered there, too. You have to do this in an Admin Command Prompt, Just enter the three commands separately : bcdedit /copy {current} /d "Windows 10 Safe Mode" bcdedit /copy {current} /d "Safe Mode with Networking" bcdedit /copy {current} /d "Safe Mode with Command Prompt" Note that it doesn’t really matter what you name the new boot entries, as long as it helps you recognize them. So, if instead of “Windows 10 Safe Mode,” you want to name your entry “Safe Mode” or even “Dorothy,” we won’t judge. Step Two: Configure Your New Boot Options with the System Configuration Tool What you’ve done so far is to create one or more copies of the current boot entry. You haven’t done any configuration yet, so if you were to boot your computer using one of them it would be the same as your regular Windows boot. To modify those entries to do what you want, you’ll use the System Configuration tool. Hit Start, type msconfig, and then select System Configuration. [​IMG] Click the new entry you created for Windows 10 Safe Mode (or whatever you named it). Enable the “Safe boot” check box and make sure that the Minimal option is selected underneath it. Enable the “Make all boot settings permanent” option if it isn’t already. And, if you want, you can modify the Timeout value to specify how long you have to choose a boot option before the default OS is started. By default, timeout is always set to 30 seconds, but you can change it to any value between 0 and 9999 seconds. You can also set the value to -1 if you want the Boot Options screen to remain until you pick an OS. When you’ve selected your options, click OK. You’ll be asked to confirm the changes with a scary warning about everything you’ve done being permanent. Go ahead and click Yes. [​IMG] When you’re asked if you want to restart your computer, go ahead and choose “Exit without restart.” That way, you can go ahead and configure any other boot entries you’ve made. If you created a Safe Mode with Networking entry, follow those same instructions to modify it, but after enabling “Safe boot” select the Network instead of the Minimal option. If you created a Safe Mode with Command Prompt entry, turn on the “Alternate Shell” option instead of the Minimal option. After you’ve configured everything, go ahead and restart your computer to test it out. At boot, you should see the “Choose an operating system” screen with your new choices. If you have any questions go to the link at the top. This works as I tested it. I tested it with build 14279 so it will work on the RTM. If it does not work with the next Redstone build you may have to repeat the process.[/quote]
     
    Josey Wales, Sep 29, 2017
    #14
  15. dalchina New Member
    I have a 256Gb SSD and plenty of spare space- with loads of programs installed. But I also have a 1Tb disk for data. I wouldn't choose to delete it- and anyway, what happens next upgrade or in-place upgrade repair install?

    But hey, PC = personal...
     
    dalchina, Apr 4, 2018
    #15
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