Unable to use recovery options after booting into Windows 8 WinRE

Applies to: Windows 8


Consider the following scenario:
  • You upgrade a Windows 7 PC to Windows 8.
  • Intel Smart Response Technology (Intel SRT) is enabled to optimize performance through the use of a solid state drive (SSD) with a traditional hard disk drive.
  • You boot into the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) and attempt to restore Windows 8 using the "Refresh your PC" or "Reset your PC" options.
In this scenario, you may encounter the following error:

The drive where Windows is installed is locked. Unlock the drive and try again.


This issue may occur because the Windows Recovery Environment image does not have a Intel Rapid Storage Technology (Intel RST) RAID controller driver present. The Intel Smart Response Technology relies on this driver being present and without it, you may run into the error listed earlier when you attempt to use one of the recovery options in Windows RE.


There are two ways that you may be able to work around this issue:
  1. If you are still able to boot into the Windows 8 Start screen, contact your OEM for guidance on how to disable the Intel Smart Response Technology on the Intel RST RAID controller for your PC. After doing so, you should then be able to successfully use the recovery options available in WinRE to restore Windows.
  2. If Windows 8 is no longer bootable, use the following steps:
    1. Get to a Command Prompt using WinRE or WinPE media such as an optical disk or USB flash drive.
    2. Obtain the most recent version of the Intel RST RAID controller driver from your OEM's website.
    3. Locate the WinRE WIM image (typically named winre.wim) on your hard drive. For more information on WinRE, refer to the following link: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh825173.aspx.
    4. Mount the WinRE WIM and then inject the Intel RST RAID controller driver into the WIM. For more information on adding drivers to a WIM, refer to the following link: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd744355(v=WS.10).aspx
    5. After unmounting the WIM, reboot the PC back into WinRE and attempt recovery again using "Refresh your PC" or "Reset your PC".

More Information

The third-party products that this article discusses are manufactured by companies that are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, about the performance or reliability of these products.