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

Applies to: Windows 10, version 2004, all editionsWindows Server, version 2004, all editionsWindows 10, version 1909, all editions

Summary


When a Windows operating system does not start or restarts unexpectedly, you can use the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) to run commands that may resolve the issue. This article describes how to start WinRE from Windows installation media to troubleshoot common startup issues.

More information


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.

To start WinRE, follow these steps.

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

  1. Start the system from 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.

    Note A Command Prompt window opens.
  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

    Note 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 operation 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 issues 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 issues 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

    Notes

    • If any issue is found and fixed, repeat steps 6 and 7.

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

  8. At the command prompt, run the following DISM command to revert any pending actions:
     

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

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