General Question

noodle_poodle's avatar

Why won't windows 7 restart in recovery?

Asked by noodle_poodle (1614points) February 16th, 2014

I am trying to reformat my hard drive and booting from the disk only gives me the option to repair not re install. In windows there is an option called recovery at which point it asks “restart you computer and continue the recovery” but then immediately brings up an error box saying “can not restart windows in recovery environment”. Is there something blocking this function? If not what the hell is the point of adding a function that only brings up an error box? Is there another way to force windows to open recovery and delete and re install winidows?

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5 Answers

mrentropy's avatar

When you say ‘disk’ do you mean the CD or the hard drive? If you boot from the CD you should get the option to upgrade or do a ‘custom’ install, which is the part where you can re-format and re-install.

As a side note, in the entire history of Windows I don’t think I’ve ever seen a recovery actually work.

Lightlyseared's avatar

The recovery option generally only works if all the install files are available and on a separate drive or partition from the one your trying to install windows onto (because windows can’t reinstall itself if you just formatted the drive with the files it needs). You need a windows DVD. If you haven’t got one you used to be able to download it from Microsoft. You’ll still need the key but that should be on a sticker stuck to the machine somewhere.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

You don’t need the CD to reformat you can use the disk utility under computer management if you can at least boot into windows. Then you can use the CD to install a new copy.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Most newer machines have a smallish (and usually hidden) recovery partition on your hard drive. What the recovery sequence is doing is looking for that hidden partition in order to rebuild your drive. (note, this is what manufacturers did in place of including a recovery CD in the box when you bought a new PC)

Where is the partition? If you have installed a new hard drive, then the recovery partition that was on the old drive simply wouldn’t be there. (Duh)

If you went into disk management and deleted that hidden partition (which is possible to do), then it wouldn’t be there to find.

So the fact that it isn’t findable tells me that someone, somewhere along the line, did something to cause the partition to no longer exist. You would know that better than we do.

Most newer machines will allow you to boot and recover from a USB thumb drive; that assumes that (a) your machine’s BIOS is new enough to enable that and (b) you made a backup to a thumb drive.

Bottom line, recovery isn’t finding the partition where it is supposed to be. The question for you: why not?

arronflem's avatar

As far as I understand you should either create a disk to start a recovery process like this one or do it with USB , either way should work.

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