Windows Enterprise Desktop

May 22, 2017  10:57 AM

KB4016871 Fixes Spurious Win10 DISM Issue

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
DISM, Image management, Troubleshooting, Windows 10

For the past five months, the Current Branch for Windows 10 (Builds 1604 and 1703) has been subject to a spurious DISM issue. (I blogged about this as far back as December, 2016.) That is, running DISM with the /checkhealth option returns a “healthy” verdict. OTOH, the /scanhealth option indicates the component store is corrupted but “repairable.” It turns out the cause of the issue is a version staging file that’s associated with the Win10 image, but not included in the .wim file itself. That’s why I’m pleased to report that the recent cumulative update KB4016871 fixes spurious Win10 DISM issue. There’s a small bit of user/admin effort required to effect the fix, as this sequence of PowerShell cmdlets shows:

KB4016871 Fixes Spurious Win10 DISM Issue

This sequence of cmdlets shows a contradiction between items 1 and 2, and the fix in item 3.

How KB4016871 Fixes Spurious Win10 DISM Issue

I’ll explain the what and how. But first, let’s review what the preceding screencap shows:

The first cmdlet corresponds to dism /online /cleanup-image /checkhealth. Note: it returns a positive result for “ImageHealthState” (“Healthy“).

The second cmdlet corresponds to dism /online /cleanup-image /scanhealth. Although it’s run on the same image as the preceding cmdlet it returns a negative result for “ImageHealthState.” (“Repairable” means that it has discovered potential corruption that can be repaired.) The CBS.log file shows the culprit is a missing file named (its name is loooong, so it wraps across two lines):


Once the afore-cited cumulative update is applied to the online image, however, the third cmdlet now works! It corresponds to dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth. This clears the error condition, and shows that KB4016871 fixes spurious Win10 DISM issue at long last. We know this because ImageHealthState shows as “Healthy” upon completion.

Apparently, the cause of this issue is that the TestRoot and FlightSigning Package file identifies a specific bit of staging and version identification data. In fact, Windows Update uses it when running the Unified Update Platform (UUP) to decide what updates to download. Thus, it’s not really part of the Windows Image file itself and, though referenced, doesn’t turn up when a deep health analysis runs against a targeted Windows image. This produced some kind of error in an earlier release of Windows 10 Current Branch, but is now rectified with Version 1703 (Build 15063.296). One must still run the final cmdlet or its native DISM counterpart to finalize that fix, though.

[Note added later on 5/22, thanks to posters Bree and s0urce at] It looks like the repair actually comes from Microsoft, courtesy of the online image checks that are part and parcel of the way DISM works. Here’s a quote from Bree’s post on the subject:

It would seem that the ‘source not found’ error was not just referring to finding the source on the local PC, but also to a failure to find a valid download for the package on MS’s servers. This would appear to be what @s0urce says MS have fixed ‘internally’.

Whether or not KB4016871 is a prerequisite is a moot point (I suspect not). What is essential is to run DISM once more now that MS have fixed things at their server end so that the working packages can be downloaded and the repair completed to 100%.

Here’s a snippet from the CBS file that shows this fixed functionality at work

2017-05-20 10:08:53, Info                  CBS    DWLD: Windows update server URL:
2017-05-20 10:08:53, Info                  CBS    DWLD:Content is Full-Cab package.
2017-05-20 10:08:53, Info                  CBS    DWLD: Windows update server URL:
2017-05-20 10:08:53, Info                  CBS    DWLD:Content is Express package.
2017-05-20 10:08:53, Info                  CBS    DWLD: Windows update server URL:
2017-05-20 10:08:53, Info                  CBS    DWLD:Content is Express package.

May 19, 2017  11:10 AM

Manage Win10 Drivers Using DISM

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
Device drivers, DISM, Windows 10

Insider Preview Build 16199 was released for Windows 10 a couple of days ago (5/17). In the wake of its install, I checked on Windows 10 drive handling. To that end, I consulted the Reliability Monitor, which shows driver installs as it tracks system changes and errors. Sure enough, Relimon reports that drivers for all devices on a PC get installed during the upgrade process (see screen capture). This spurred today’s blog post, as I explain how to manage Win10 drivers using DISM. In fact, this tool can back up and restore drivers associated with any given Windows image.

Manage Win10 Drivers Using DISM

A quick peek at “Informational Events” on upgrade day (5/17) shows installs for all device drivers on each upgraded PC.

Why Manage Win10 Drivers Using DISM?

Any time you run the Windows installer, you run the risk that it won’t find one or more drivers. Some of these can be critical, as my long-time experience with pre-release technical previews of Windows 10 taught me. On my test PCs, I sometimes had to supply a driver for Killer NIC adapters (fixed since the 1607 version last year) after an upgrade install. Ditto for a Dell/Atheros 1537 wireless adapter on my test tablet. YMMV as far as driver coverage goes in Windows 10. Thus, it’s best to be prepared to fill in where MS fails to find everything driver-wise.

Simply put, the answer to the question posed in this section’s heading — namely: “Why manage Win10 drivers using DISM?” — is “Because it’s easy and fast.” If a PC’s drivers are all current and correct before you perform a Win10 upgrade, you can use DISM to back them up in under two minutes. After an upgrade, you can use that backup to restore individual drivers via Device Manager/Update driver, or perform a wholesale replacement of all drivers using DISM.

How to Manage Win10 Drivers Using DISM

At the command line, DISM backs up drivers using this syntax:

 Dism /Online /Export-Driver /Destination:{DL}:{FS}

 Here {DL} stands for drive-letter, and {FS} for folder specification, so that you’d enter /Destination:D:\DriverBk if you wanted to create the driver backup in a folder named “DriverBk” on the D drive.

The corresponding command for grabbing all drives from such a backed-up folder is:

 Dism /Online /Add-Driver /Driver:{DL}:{FS} /Recurse

Please note that this latter approach simply adds those drivers to the DriverStore in Windows 10. DISM doesn’t remove drivers already present after an upgrade install. That’s why most experts, and yours truly, recommend that you use Device Manager to identify devices that need drivers. Instead, you can right-click those devices one at a time, then use the Update driver capabilities to point at your driver folder as the update source instead.

May 17, 2017  11:35 AM

Current MS Drivers Show Vista 2006 Date

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
Device drivers, UPnP technologies, Windows 10

Take a look around inside Device Manager. If you do, chances are nearly certain you’ll find one or more drivers dated 6/21/2006. That date is no accident, but could be a calculated distortion of its true vintage. 6/21/2006 is the release date for Windows Vista. Microsoft development engineer “zac_I” explains what’s up, in a in a Reddit post from January 2017. Here’s proof that current MS drivers show Vista 2006 date from Device Manager on my production PC:

Current MS Drivers Show Vista 2006 Date

Chances are pretty good you’ll see this date popping up on most MS-supplied drivers for generic or non-OEM devices like this human interface (HID) item.

OK, So Why Do Current MS Drivers Show Vista 2006 Date?

To answer this question, zac_I’s explanation is worth reproducing verbatim:

There’s a very good reason for that, and it has nothing to do with the age of the driver or anything.

When PNP ranks drivers, it first looks at the hardware ID that the driver matches. If any two drivers match identical hardware, the first tiebreaker is the date of the driver. So if you had a device that could use a built-in driver, but you had installed some custom/OEM driver on your device, every time MS updates our driver, it would overwrite your custom driver because the date is newer than the one you wanted. How do we avoid this? Every driver we ship has the Vista RTM date, regardless of when it was last updated (we update the version number, which is the next tiebreaker if the date is the same). Since only drivers as far back as Vista are compatible with new versions of Windows, every driver should have a date newer than Vista RTM, preserving the driver you installed as the best ranked driver.

That means the real clue to the age for Microsoft-supplied drivers appears in the Driver Version field just below the date. In the preceding screen cap, this shows 10.0.15063.0. This indicates it comes from Windows 10 Creators Update. That version of Windows 10 made its public debut on 4/11/2017, so that provides a “no-later than” timeframe for such drivers. Of course, MS grabs and uses whatever driver is current at the time of the release, so it’s nearly certain that the actual date is somewhat older. But this is one case where just because the date says 2006, it doesn’t actually hearken back 11 years. In fact, it’s probably not even close…

Fascinating stuff, eh?

[Shoutout to Kavia Digdarshan at The Windows Club, whose 5/16/17 article “Why are Windows 10 Device Drivers still dated back to 2006?” brought this tantalizing bit of administrivia to my attention. Thanks!]

May 15, 2017  11:42 AM

MiniTool Power Data Recovery Rocks

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
Data Recovery Software, Troubleshooting, Windows 10

In January of this year, I blogged about the MiniTool Partition Wizard. In response to my post, the software’s maker asked me to take a look at their sister product: MiniTool Power Data Recovery. I get a lot of requests like this, so I don’t always get around to using or writing about such products. In this case, I was headed in the same direction but then I shot myself in the foot. And indeed, that’s also what gave me cause to learn that MiniTool Power Data Recovery rocks at its appointed task. Let me explain…

Why say “MiniTool Power Data Recovery Rocks?”

Good question! Thereby hangs a tale: Because of research into mSATA SSDs about three years ago, I have half-a-dozen Samsung EVO 840 256 GB SSDs hanging around my hardware collection. In finding tools to put these drives to work, I’ve purchased a couple of Syba SD-ADA40107 2.5″ SATA 6G/USB 3.0 to Dual mSATA RAID Adapters ($26 from Newegg). Basically, these devices let you drop in a pair of mSATA SSDs and use them as a RAID 0 or RAID 1 array, or as JBOD (just a bunch of disks).

MiniTool Power Data Recovery Rocks

Pop a couple of mSATA SSDs into this card, and plug it in using SATA, and you’ve got a fast and capable 2X capacity RAID0 hard disk (500 GB my case).

My “shot to the foot” came from confusing my primary data drive (!) with my experimental drive. And alas, I ended up wiping the partitions on the data drive thinking I was working on the other drive. Ouch! I found a three-month-old backup that I was able to use to restore about 90% of the contents of the original drive, but I couldn’t find copies of the other 10%, some of which was important stuff I didn’t want to lose. Thus, if ever I was faced with a need for data recovery, this was it.

Recovery is not free, but it works well

That’s when I learned that the free version of MiniTool Power Data Recovery comes with a 1 GB data recovery limit. I needed to restore about 21 GB of data, so there was nothing to do except pony up the $69 fee for a personal license. The expenditure proved worth every penny, because the tool’s “Lost Partition Recovery” facility resuscitated about 99% of the data on the affected drive. Recovery coverage depends on how much data has been overwritten onto new partitions in finding and saving files and folders from previous “lost” partitions. In my case I was luck enough to recognize my mistake quickly, and did no writing to the drive other than what occurred when setting up the partitions and writing the entries necessary to set up NTFS on the volume.

The process was fairly slow, because over 210 GB worth of files were recovered. It ended up taking 2.7 hours to complete, on a fairly fast PC (i7 4770K on a Z97 chipset motherboard), but that’s probably because I had the drive plugged into a USB 3.0 drive caddy rather than a 6 Gbps SATA port. But MiniTool Power Data Recovery proved equal to the task, and paid for itself, IMHO, on its first use.

I’d learned about the program from, where the program gets accolades from many members. See, for example MiniTool Power Data Recovery to the Rescue and Good data recovery tool for deleted files?, among many others. It definitely did the job for me, and may come in handy for admins and power users in need of a capable first line of file/disk recovery software defense. That’s why I assert with some confidence that “MiniTool Power Data Recovery rocks!”

May 12, 2017  10:18 AM

Clean Up Old Wireless Profiles in Windows 10

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel

I have five mobile PCs at my disposal. At various times, I’ve taken all of them on the road with me. Earlier this week, I took at look at the various wireless profiles defined on each of those machines. I found no less than 18 entries on any given machine. My trusty Lenovo T520 — the machine I take with me most often, thanks to its 15.6″ display, comfortable keyboard, and capacious storage (3 drives for 2.75 TB) — had 25! Looking at what I found when running netsh wlan show profiles quickly led me to clean up old wireless profiles on all of those machines. PowerShell makes that pretty easy, so I’ll show what I found, then explain how I cleaned it up.

Clean Up Old Wireless Profiles

Aside from numerous client office networks and my home WAPs, this list features lots of hotels and miscellany (25 entries!).

How to Clean Up Old Wireless Profiles in Windows 10

PowerShell happily fields 99.9% of the commands that cmd.exe accommodates, and thousands of cmdlets besides that. I turned to the standard network management command netsh to get my work done in this case. The basic sequence of activities flowed like this:

  1. netsh wlan show profiles produced the list of profiles shown in the preceding screen capture. These include numerous client locations, my iPhone and home WAP networks, plus lots of hotels and other remote networks, many of whose generic names ring no bells with me at all.
  2. netsh wlan delete profile name=”<name>” is the syntax for removing old, obsolete or unwanted profiles from that list, where one must substitute <name> with an actual profile name (e.g. TSI or Ft.Marcy Wifi, both of which were among the 15 targets I removed). [Note: the quotation marks enclosing the value of the name attribute are mandatory.]
  3. PowerShell lets you use cut-n-paste operations with commands, so I used the output from netsh wlan show profiles to capture the strings I used in the subsequent delete commands to clean up the entries I didn’t want or need any longer. Took me less than two minutes on any given PC to clean up my list.

For those of us who take their PCs with them on the road, and who tie into lots of  “away” wireless LANs, this kind of clean-up is worth doing at least once a year, if not more often than that. Good thing that PowerShell makes it fast and dead simple!

May 10, 2017  3:56 PM

Intel AMT Exploit Needs Attention

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel

On Monday, a piece in ZDNet attracted my attention and interest. Shortly thereafter, it also generated some local alarms on four of my systems. The title of that piece says it all “Intel chip vulnerability lets hackers easily hijack fleets of PCs” (emphasis mine). Alas, it seems an Intel AMT exploit needs attention in businesses of all sizes that run Intel-based PCs of  “a certain age.” In this case, AMT stands for Active Management Technology. As it happens, AMT lets IT admins perform remote maintenance/update tasks, including wiping hard disks.

AMT can, in the words of the ZDNet story, allow an administrator “to remotely control the computer’s keyboard and mouse, even if the PC is powered off.” Such godlike powers need strong controls that turn out to be MIA. In fact, security researchers discovered that a blank password gets anybody into the Web interface for AMT. That gives them the ability to do whatever they want to entire fleets of PCs. The best fix turns out to be disabling AMT altogether. Admins must thus forgo its administrative conveniences to avoid potentially catastrophic compromises. Find all the details in this Intel security advisory on Exploit Intel-SA-00075.

How to tell if the Intel AMT exploit needs attention on your PCs

Fortunately, Intel has also released a detection tool to tell you if your PCs are vulnerable to this exploit or not. That said, only operations that use AMT are subject to this vulnerability. Thus if your business hasn’t turned on AMT, it can’t be compromised through AMT, either. Download the Detection Guide from the Intel Download Center and you’ll be able to tell if your PCs are vulnerable or not. I ran it on my 8 PCs here at the house, and learned that half of them are potentially vulnerable to this exploit. But I don’t run AMT, so that vulnerability cannot currently be exploited.

If a PC is vulnerable, here’s what the output from that Detection tool looks like:

Intel AMT Exploit Needs Attention

To check your systems, run the detection tool and see if the word Vulnerable pops up in RED.
Unaffected systems will report Not Vulnerable in GREEN

From what I can glean from the Intel advisory, other coverage, and my own experience, Intel PCs built from 2010 through 2014 are likely to be affected. Thus all of my older systems were affected. These included:

  • my wife’s Ivy Bridge dual core i7 mini-itx box
  •  my son’s Haswell quad core i7 Dell XPS27 All-in-one
  •  my two Lenovo Sandy Bridge dual core i7s laptops

None of my newer systems fell prey, however:

  •  the Surface Pro 3 i7 (Haswell i7-4650U)
  •  my Dell Venue Pro 11 7139 (i5-4210Y)
  • my production desktop PC (i7 6700)
  • my Insider test desktop (i7 4770K)

I suspect many business PCs will be subject to the AMT vulnerability. For those organizations using AMT, turning it off for the time being is an essential step to regaining control over their PC fleets. Don’t delay in taking that step, please!

May 9, 2017  3:55 PM

What’s your app priority?

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele
Enterprise mobility, VDI, Windows 10, Workspace

Applications are the key to end-user computing, but they haven’t always been the industry’s focus. Security fears around BYOD and the consumerization of IT put the spotlight on mobile device management and, later, EMM. And the flood of major software vendors into that market kept our attention there for much of the past decade.

That will change this year.

Application development, deployment and delivery are some of the top end-user computing (EUC) projects taking place in IT departments this year, according to TechTarget’s 2017 IT Priorities Survey. Let’s take a closer look at some of the app-related results.

Deploying an enterprise application is this year’s most popular mobility project. Among organizations implementing mobility, half said they will roll out at least one app this year. Collaboration apps will be a popular choice, with nearly 40% of respondents planning to deploy those.

Organizations will explore different approaches to get these apps into users’ hands. Some will build them themselves, as more than 35% plan to adopt a mobile application development platform. And 29% will use desktop or application virtualization to deliver apps to mobile devices.

Speaking of virtualization, it’s one of the most common data center projects planned for 2017. Of organizations with IT infrastructure projects in the works, 28% will implement VDI. That beats out much-hyped technologies such as converged and hyper-converged infrastructure, private cloud computing and containers. Clearly, it’s a priority to bring enterprise applications to users wherever they are, on whatever devices they have.

On the desktop side, more than 46% of organizations that have projects planned this year will deploy or migrate to Windows 10. Applications dominate the rest of the list, however, with software as a service, app and desktop virtualization, and cloud apps all garnering at least 25%. IT departments seem content to stick to these more traditional technologies; only 7% of respondents plan to deploy workspace suites, a new approach to delivering and managing all of a user’s applications and data across all of his devices.

Management and security are still important and always will be. Almost 40% of organizations with a mobility project will deploy enterprise mobility management (EMM) this year. But it’s applications that will drive end-user computing growth.

This post originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of Access Magazine.

May 8, 2017  12:25 PM

Insider Win10 UWP File Explorer

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
UWP, Windows 10

Here’s an odd and interesting bit of Windows trivia for you. Windows 10 Insider Builds since 15063 (arrived 3/20/2017) include a UWP version of File Explorer. It’s not immediately usable without creating a special shortcut, though. If you’re willing to cut’n’paste a specific and cryptic string to define one, the Insider Win10 UWP File Explorer is yours to play with. That string is:

explorer shell:AppsFolder\c5e2524a-ea46-4f67-841f-6a9465d9d515_cw5n1h2txyewy!App

Be careful if the string spans more than one line. If so, paste the string into a text editor and remove any spurious linefeeds (there shouldn’t be any). YMMV, depending on which browser you use. I pasted it as a continuous string from my source, so you should be able to grab and use it that way, too. My source, BTW, is a tip that appeared at  on 5/6/17.

What Does Insider Win10 UWP File Explorer  Look Like?

If all goes well with your shortcut creation, you’ll see something like this on your Windows 10 Insider desktop:

Insider Win10 UWP File Explorer

The UI is greatly stripped down and simplified in UWP File Explorer. I’m curious, but by no means ready to switch over from the old version.

Playing around with this version of File Explorer, I make numerous immediate observations:
1. It’s greatly stripped down from the explorer.exe version. There are only minimal display controls (icons at lower right include only list and icon view, a simplified checkbox selection capability, and limited “other” options under the ellipsis at furthest bottom right).
2. I really miss the ability to display file details, such as size, creation/modification dates, and so forth.
3. I likewise miss the ribbon with its extensive, context-sensitive controls.
4. The search function is slow and seems a bit cumbersome (I use VoidTools Everything anyway, so I’m spoiled).

Overall, this earliest version seems more like a throwaway experiment or a toy implementation, rather than a serious contender to replace the current heavyweight  version of File Explorer. But with Windows S looming and UWP the main UI for touch and limited-capability versions of Windows I don’t expect things to stay that way for long. It’s interesting though, and worth checking out, for those who have an interest in such things.

Build the Shortcut for Insider Win10 UWP File Explorer

The quickest way to build the shortcut for this version of Explorer is as follows:

1. Right-click the desktop background on Windows 10 Insider
2. Select “New” –> Shortcut from the resulting pop-up menus
3. Paste the string into the location box in the Create Shortcut window, then click next.

That’s it. The shortcut will appear on your desktop. Double-click same to launch the Insider Win10 UWP File Explorer. Enjoy!

May 5, 2017  11:27 AM

Fix CCleaner Install Hang

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel

In rebuilding my Windows 10 Insider test desktop, I’ve been re-installing my usual toolbox of Windows apps and applications. Chief among the latter is Piriform’s CCleaner, a long-time go-to for cleaning up file clutter on Windows PCs. This time around while installing CCleaner, I ran into something I’ve never encountered before. As I fired off the installer, it got to about 10% complete and then hung. I let it sit for 10 minutes and when the progress bar hadn’t moved I realized something was wrong. I searched Google for “CCleaner install hangs Windows 10” and found lots of helpful information online. For me, the best way to fix CCleaner Install hang appeared in a Piriform Forums post entitled “[Solution] When CCleaner won’t install or download (Windows).”

How Best to Fix CCleaner Install Hang

The forum post explains a great many techniques for resolving download or install problems. For me, the tip that did the trick read “Make sure CCleaner isn’t already running. To find out if it is, open Task Manager to see if it’s in the list of running processes.” I checked, and sure enough, I saw not one, but two instances of CCleaner.exe on the alphabetical list (by process name) on the Details pane therein.

Fix CCleaner Install Hang

Normally, one sees only a single CCleaner.exe or CCleaner64.exe running in Task Manager. On my test machine, I saw 2!

I right-clicked each of those two items, and selected “End Task” from the resulting pop-up menu. Then, when I relaunched the installer, it immediately completed the job. The whole thing was done in under 30 seconds as has been typical on that and other machines for years. I can only speculate I double-double-clicked when launching the installer, and thus and had two instances of the installer running at the same time. The program wisely chose to forgo honoring my erroneous request for two installs, but I didn’t understand that’s what I was seeing until I looked into Task Manager to see what was going on.

Overall, the afore-linked Forum article is a good one. Might be a good idea to bookmark it in case you, too, ever fall prey to some CCleaner install or download difficulties. It worked nicely for me, so it could also do likewise for you.

May 3, 2017  12:30 PM

Troubleshooting Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE)

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
system recovery, Windows 10

In resuscitating my Insider Preview desktop, I’ve been fixing dual boot and Windows Recovery (WinRE). (Links to previous posts: Balky Mobo, Clean Install.) Apparently, something about dual boot interferes with WinRE’s normal operation. It usually lurks in the background, ready to take over if Windows boot or startup issues appear. Dual booting, however, appears not just to disable WinRE. Alas, it also breaks its normal re-enablement process. In researching this, I’ve discovered a couple of peachy resources, and found a nice fix. The resources help with troubleshooting Windows Recovery Environment issues, so I share them here.

Here’s what you see on a typical Windows 10 PC, after you set up dual boot then run the REAgentC command. For those unfamiliar with that command, it’s used to configure a WinRE image and “push-button reset recovery.” Happily, that quote comes from one of my two nonpareil resources on WinRE.

Troubleshooting Windows Recovery Environment

After setting up dual-boot on Win10 on my PC, both installations show status as “Disabled.” Time for some troubleshooting!

Tools for Troubleshooting Windows Recovery Environment

First comes the “official resource” — the MSDN Hardware Dev Center’s 5/4/2016 documentation. It’s a multi-part opus. Thus, I provide links to each part, along with a brief explanation. Helpfully, the first item defines what WinRE is and does:

Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) is a recovery environment that can repair common causes of unbootable operating systems. WinRE is based on Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE), and can be customized with additional drivers, languages, Windows PE Optional Components, and other troubleshooting and diagnostic tools. By default, WinRE is preloaded into the Windows 10 for desktop editions (Home, Pro, Enterprise, and Education) and Windows Server 2016 installations.

WinRE produces a familiar “alternate boot” screen during Windows boot-up. It can come when called, or when the primary active install of  Windows 10 can’t or won’t boot:

Troubleshooting Windows Recovery Environment

When WinRE kicks in, this is what you see on your PC’s display.

Tool 1: MSDN/Hardware Dev Center WinRE Reference

Here are WinRE items from Microsoft. Key sections are flagged with an asterisk (*):

Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE)*: general WinRE overview.
Customize Windows RE: manipulate a WinRE image (using DISM). Include languages, packages, drivers, and custom  diagnostic or troubleshooting tools.
Add custom tool to the Windows RE boot options menu: mount and configure a WinRE image.
Add hardware recovery button to start Windows RE: simplified process introduced with Windows 10.
Deploy Windows RE: deploy WinRE to a new computer including BIOS and UEFI options.
Push-button reset: for OEMs wanting push-button reset features for computer systems.
REAgentC command-line options*: command-line tool for WinRE setup and management.
ResetConfig XML reference: XML elements in the ResetConfig.xml file for push-button reset.
Windows RE troubleshooting features: Recovering from startup failures and WinRE troubleshooting utilities. Automatic Repair, System image recovery, Command Prompt, and more.

In working with reagentc.exe, I found the overview and the command line options elements useful and germane. Those who wish to customize WinRE will find the other sections helpful, too.

Tool 2: TeraByte KB Article 587

This gem is entitled “Repairing the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE).” It’s both long and incredibly detailed. Believe me, that’s what you want when exploring various ways to get WinRE working on a Windows PC.

For me, the fix that worked appears in a section entitled “Reset the ReAgent.xml File.” It shows how to edit that configuration file. ReAgent.xml drives a running Windows image’s set-up for and understanding of WinRE. By changing XML elements as this section recommends, I was able to run reagentc /enable successfully. This meant that the tool rebuilt my Windows Recovery environment and made changes needed to get it working again.

But the article covers a range of ways to repair WinRE. First, it explains various ways that WinRE might fail. These include:

  • WinRE disabled
  • BCD file not correctly configured to boot WinRE
  • missing or misplaced WinRE.wim file
  • wonky WinRE configuration file (ReAgent.xml)

Repairs discussed include

  • disabling and re-enabling WinRE
  • correcting invalid BCD file references to WinRE
  • moving WinRE to the right path/location
  • resetting the ReAgent.xml file
  • finding and restoring the Winre.wim file

Each repair provides sufficient detail to work your way through it. Even better, each section is illustrated with examples. Bottom line: I was able to diagnose and fix my issues using this Guide. ‘Nuff said!

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