I recently tried to Reset my Windows 11 PC by clicking on to Settings -> System -> Recovery -> Reset PC button but it failed and displayed an error message “Could not find the recovery environment” Insert your Windows installation or recovery media, and restart your PC with the media.
The error message pop-up window is shown in below screenshot for your reference. There could be several reasons why your PC’s windows recovery environment is not available for example if windows recovery environment is corrupted or your PC could be a hit by a virus which has made a lot of changes on your PC including disabling your abillity to reset the PC by disabling / corrupting Windows recovery environment.
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REAgentC.exe tool (Option – I)
REAgentC.exe tool can be used to configure Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE) boot image. You can use this command to check for the status of Windows Recovery Environment, Disable or Enable Windows Recovery Environment.
Use the command
reagentc /info to check Windows RE status. As you can see the status is currently disabled therefore I was unable to Reset the PC.
Enable Windows Recovery Environment by using command
Once its enabled, run the command
reagentc /info to make sure that Windows RE status is showing as Enabled. Along with that you will also see Windows RE location and Boot Configuration data (BCD). Now, try to reset your PC again, you should not get the error message and you should be able to reset your PC.
Create a Recovery Drive (Option II)
If the above option does not work for you then you can also try creating a Recovery drive and using it to boot from the recovery drive and Re-Install Windows 11. (Please note Re-installation of Windows OS will delete all data in your OS drive along with all the installed applications. Please make sure to backup your personal files before re-installation of Windows OS).
After you click on Recovery drive, A wizard will guide to and create a recovery drive. Plug in an empty USB drive (Recommended USB size is at least 16 GB, I have used a 8 GB USB for this demo without any issues) and keep the selection “Back up system files to the recovery drive” selected. Click on Next to Proceed.
USB drive must not have any important data stored because this process will format the usb to create a recovery drive. Cross check this drive letter and make sure this is the drive letter of your USB drive. Click on Next to proceed.
Everything on the drive will be deleted. If you have any personal files on this device, make sure you’ve backed them up. Click on Create to proceed.
Formatting the USB drive.
Copying the system files to the USB drive. The whole process of creation of recovery drive may take upto 2 hours time. Once the recovery drive is created, you can restart your PC and boot it via this recovery USB drive. You will find option to Reinstall Windows on this screen.
It took more than 1 hour to complete the process of recovery drive creation. Once its completed, you will get the message “The recovery drive is ready“. Click on Finish to proceed.
As you can see in the below screenshot, I had used a 8GB USB drive and still there is 1.55 GB free space left. The screenshot also shows the contents of the Recovery drive. Just reboot the PC and boot it via this USB drive to enter into the Recovery mode and Reinstall the Windows OS or trobuleshoot various Windows OS related issues.
Could not find the recovery environment can be fixed easily by using REagentC.exe tool. You can find more information about this tool by clicking here. If you still have any issues resetting your PC then you can try creating a recovery environment drive and boot from it and go through the availalbe options on the screen to re-install Windows 11. If you have got a Windows 11 original ISO disk / Bootable Image then you can also use it to boot and re-install Windows 11. Please note that Re-installing windows 11 will delete all the data stored in your OS drive along with all installed applications. Therefore, make sure you have a backup of your personal / important files before proceeding with this step.