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I'm running Windows 7 Home Premium RTM (64-bit) and I want to take advantage of the system recovery tools (eg the Command Prompt) without using the Windows 7 DVD. My understanding is that this environment (WinRE) should be installed to your HDD by default as part of the Windows 7 installation. However, when I hit F8 on boot and select "Repair", I get:

Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause. To fix the problem...

Status: 0xc000000e

Info: The boot selection failed because a required device is inaccessible.

The "Info" line seems like the smoking gun. My next step was to boot from the Windows 7 DVD, and choose "Repair". It indicated my Recovery Environment wasn't on the Windows 7 boot menu (perfect) and offered to fix it. I said yes and rebooted, however same issue as above. In addition, when I booted in to Windows 7 and I looked at the boot menu options, the recovery/repair option was not there. Only my Windows installation.

Finally, I ran the Disk Management tool (diskmgmt.msc) and took a look at the contents of my "System Reserved" partition (which was set to "Active" as normal). It's unclear to me what the contents should look like, however it is my understanding that the WinRE environment gets installed to this partition.

(As part of the above troubleshooting I followed http://superuser.com/questions/25728/how-to-fix-windows-7-boot-process which lead to http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/668-system-recovery-options.html).

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If you're still interested in this (it just got auto-bumped), I just did a similar thing: superuser.com/a/425962/117590 I assume you had a RE originally installed, since you have the (broken) boot option. Your question also didn't turn up when I searched, for whatever reason, since one of the answers is actually what I did. Would have saved me some time :\ –  Bob Jul 4 '12 at 10:50

3 Answers 3

For recovery on F8 you need:

a special loader entry and a device options entry in the BCD and two files on disk: "winre.wim" + "boot.sdi" and some linking between them.

I have posted here -->Windows 7 boot some info on "good" BCD entries created during Windows 7 install to VHD (a litle more complicated - but the principle is the same).

For (during) a Windows 7 installation 3 entries in the BCD store are created:

1.) Windows 7 loader entry

2.) Windows 7 recovery loader entry

3.) device options entry for the recovery loader.

There is a link from 1.) to 2.) and a link from 2.) to 3.) implemented through {GUID}'s (every entry in the BCD is regarded as object and has a {GUID}).

I intend to post a step by step "How-to repair the 'Repair my computer' option on F8" only by repairing Windows BCD and copying two files. (check link above next week).

Added: In Dual-boot Repair - second part of page explained how to add 'Repair your computer' on F8 (advanced boot options) if missing. Download link for Windows 7 32-bit and 64-bit recovery files.

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When you install Windows 7 on a blank drive, it creates a 100MB partition where it installs the recovery application. Does your computer have that 100MB partition?

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Yes. This is the "System Reserved" partition. In my case it's 1.46 GB though. I thought the size was a function of the size of the partition where c:\Windows sits? Just to make sure I'm looking at the right thing, when I run Disk Management (diskmgmt.msc) I see a volume called "System Reserved" (1.46 GB) set as System, Active, Primary. In the root of the volume I see a hidden "Boot" folder, a hidden bootmgr file and a bootsect.bak. Do you see the same? –  Howiecamp Oct 15 '09 at 2:57

Check here. http://blogs.msdn.com/winre/archive/2007/01/12/how-to-install-winre-on-the-hard-disk.aspx

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@Chris - this doesn't seem to (re)install the Windows 7 repair/recovery environment. Thoughts? –  Howiecamp Mar 5 '10 at 0:23

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