How to use Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) to troubleshoot common startup issues

Applies to: Windows 10, version 1809Windows Server 2019, all versionsWindows 10, version 1803 More

Summary


When a Windows operating system fails to start or restarts unexpectedly, the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) can be used to run commands that may resolve the issues. The system may be unable to start because of disk corruption, corrupted or missing system files, or pending actions from the installation of an update.

More Information


This article describes how to start WinRE from Windows installation media to troubleshoot common startup issues. To do this, follow these steps.

Note For additional methods to start WinRE, see Entry points into WinRE.

  1. Start the system to the installation media for the installed version of Windows.

    Note For more information, see Create installation media for Windows.
  2. On the Install Windows screen, select Next > Repair your computer.
  3. On the System Recovery Options screen, select Next > Command Prompt.
  4. At the command prompt, run the following command by using BCDEdit command-line options to identify the drive letter of the system volume:

    BCDEdit

    In the Windows Boot Loader section, the drive letter of the system volume is displayed next to "osdevice." (For example, D:)
  5. At the command prompt, run the following command to complete a check disk for the system volume that's identified in step 4:

    CHKDSK /f D:

    Note If any failures or unrepairable issues are listed in the results, you may have to investigate these further.

  6. At the command prompt, run the following command to complete a System File Check (SFC) for the system volume that's identified in step 4:

    SFC /scannow /offbootdir=D:\ /offwindir=D:\windows

    Note If any failures or unrepairable issues are listed in the results, you may have to investigate these further.

  7. At the command prompt, run the following command to complete an image cleanup and health restoration by using the DISM tool:

    DISM /image:D:\ /cleanup-image /restorehealth

    Note

    • If any issue is found and fixed, repeat step 6.

    • The DISM command only applies to Windows Server 2012 and later versions.

  8. At the command prompt, run the following command to revert any pending actions by using the DISM tool.

    Note If the pending actions can't be reverted, you may have to investigate these further.
  9. Close the Command Prompt window, and then select Reboot.