Windows : create a missing recovery partition

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When cloning a large hard disk to a smaller one, I lost the recovery partition. So far not bad, Windows works without recovery partition, but in case of an error the partition helps to get the PC up and running again. To summarize, here's how it works with the recovery partition: As long as the partition is still there, it can be deactivated and written to a file. If the partition gets lost unexpectedly, it can be recovered from the Windows setup media. This post is also available as a video, see: Youtube video.

Missing recovery partition

A look into the Disk Management, shows the partitions, Disk 0 has only one EFI system partition and the C drive:

The recovery partition can be loaded via Restore / Advanced Startup and "Restart now", among others:

If the recovery partition is missing, only the following 2 options are displayed in the Advanced options - Troubleshoot menu:

WinRe.wim vs. recovery partition.

If the recovery partition is not present, the content is normally located in the file: c:\windows\system32\Recovery\WinRe.wim.

The command: "reagentc /enable" in the command prompt uses the file WinRe.wim and fills the recovery partition with it. Conversely, the contents of the recovery partition can be written from the partition to the file with the command: "reagentc /disable". If neither the recovery partition nor the WinRe.wim file exists, the file can be copied from the Windows setup media:

Get the recovery partition from the Windows setup DVD.

Unfortunately, the Winre.wim file is not located directly on the setup media, but hidden within the "install.wim" file. To load the contents of the file, we can use the dism command and the mount-wim parameter:

c:\> mkdir c:\temp
c:\> dism /mount-wim /wimfile:"d:\sources\install.wim" /index:1 /mountdir:"c:\temp" /readonly

After successfully loading the file, the Winre.wim is located in the specified c:\temp folder under c:\temp\Windows\System32\Recovery.

The file can then be copied to the Windows folder: C:\windows\system32\Recovery\winre.wim

To unload the wim file we should use the following command after copying:

c:\> DISM /unmount-Wim /MountDir:"c:\temp" /discard

Creating the recovery partition

If the winre.wim file exists, the recovery partition can be restored as follows:

DISKPART> list disk
DISKPART> select disk (DiskNumber from list disk)
DISKPART> list partition
DISKPART> select partition (Partitions Number from Drive c:)
DISKPART> shrink desired=700
DISKPART> create partition primary
DISKPART> format quick fs=ntfs label="winRE"
C:\WINDOWS\system32> reagentc /enable
REAGENTC.EXE: Operation Successful.

Start recovery partition

When starting the recovery partition via "Recovery", "Advanced startup", the reboot takes a little longer and the menu contains additional options:


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Updated: 2022-05-14 von Bernhard 🔔

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