Fix “We can’t create a recovery drive on this PC” Error in Windows 10

Windows allows you to create USB recovery media using the RecoveryDrive.exe (“Create a recovery drive”) utility. When you attempt to create the recovery drive in Windows 10, the following error appears and the process stalls:

We can’t create a recovery drive on this PC

Some required files are missing. To troubleshoot problems when your PC can’t start, use your Windows installation disc or media.

We can't create a recovery drive on this PC

hand point iconGo to the solution part directly.

What causes the error “We can’t create a recovery drive on this PC”

The above error occurs if Windows RE is disabled or the Windows RE image file (Winre.wim) is missing from the Recovery folder.

The Recovery Drive creation process starts with the verification of core files, including the Windows RE image (Winre.wim) file. If the WIM is missing from its designated location (defined in the Reimage.xml file), Windows attempts to look at the alternate locations such as Windows\System32 & Windows\System32\Recovery folders for Winre.wim.

If the file is not present in any of the above locations, the above error is triggered.

The failed event is logged in setupact.log & setuperr.log. Here are sample events:

setupact.log
============

Info       [RecoveryDrive.exe] WinRE config file path: C:\WINDOWS\system32\Recovery\ReAgent.xml
Info       [RecoveryDrive.exe] Update enhanced config info is enabled.
Warning    [RecoveryDrive.exe] Failed to get recovery entries: 0xc0000225
Info       [RecoveryDrive.exe] winreGetWinReGuid returning 0X490
Info       [RecoveryDrive.exe] ReAgentConfig::ReadBcdAndUpdateEnhancedConfigInfo WinRE disabled, WinRE Guid could not be determined  (0x490) 
Info       [RecoveryDrive.exe] Wim dir location: \\?\GLOBALROOT\device\harddisk0\partition2\Recovery\WindowsRE
Info       [RecoveryDrive.exe] System is WimBoot: FALSE
Info       [RecoveryDrive.exe] Exit WinReGetConfig return value: 1, last error: 0x0
Error      GetRecoveryInfo(160): Result = 0x80070002[gle=0x00000002]


setuperr.log
============

Error      GetRecoveryInfo(160): Result = 0x80070002[gle=0x00000002]
Error      GetRecoveryInfo(160): Result = 0x80070002[gle=0x00000002]
Error      Failed to get recovery info, error code: 0x80070002[gle=0x00000002]
Error      CreateRecoveryUsb(531): Result = 0x80070002[gle=0x00000002]
Error      BuildUsbDriveList(368): Result = 0x80070002[gle=0x00000002]
Error      UsbWaitThreadProc(488): Result = 0x80070002[gle=0x00000002]
Error      Failed !!!!!, error code: 0x80070002[gle=0x00000002]
Error      RecoveryDrive.exe execution failed: 0x80070002
Error      GetRecoveryInfo(160): Result = 0x80070002[gle=0x00000002]
Error      GetRecoveryInfo(160): Result = 0x80070002[gle=0x00000002]
Error      Failed to get recovery info, error code: 0x80070002[gle=0x00000002]
Error      CreateRecoveryUsb(531): Result = 0x80070002[gle=0x00000002]
Error      BuildUsbDriveList(368): Result = 0x80070002[gle=0x00000002]
Error      UsbWaitThreadProc(488): Result = 0x80070002[gle=0x00000002]
Error      Failed !!!!!, error code: 0x80070002[gle=0x00000002]
Error      RecoveryDrive.exe execution failed: 0x80070002

You can see the system error 0x80070002 in multiple areas. Error 0x80070002 denotes The system cannot find the file specified. And the file it’s looking for is Winre.wim.

What is a Recovery Drive?

The Recovery media helps restore a Windows device to the factory state, even if the user needs to replace the hard drive or completely wipe the drive clean. Restoring Windows using the Recovery Drive is also called bare-metal recovery. The recovery drive would contain a bootable copy of Windows RE so that the users get access to troubleshooting and recovery tools when booting from recovery media.

When you create the Recovery Drive, the Windows system files (including the Windows and driver updates installed), and any customizations included in the OEM provisioning package, are copied to create the recovery media.

Users can optionally back up (Windows system) files required to perform bare metal recovery. When the Back up system files to the recovery drive option is selected, the following are copied onto the USB recovery media as well, into WIM files named Reconstruct.WIM, Reconstruct.WIM2 and so forth.

  • Windows Component Store
  • Installed drivers
  • Backup of preinstalled Windows apps
  • Provisioning packages containing preinstalled customizations (under C:\Recovery\Customizations)
  • Push-button Reset configuration XML and scripts (under C:\Recovery\OEM)

Note: The personal files won’t be backed up or restored when you do a bare metal recovery using the Recovery Drive.

During the process, the partitions are removed, recreated, and reformatted automatically.

tips bulb iconThe size of the recovery media will depend on the size of the recovery folder, Windows\System32, the WinSxS folder, etc. You can reduce the size of the backup by reducing the size of the WinSxS (“Component Store”) folder.



What does the Recovery Drive contain?

Folder PATH listing for volume RECOVERY
G:.
│   reagent.xml
│   
├───EFI
│   ├───Microsoft
│   │   ├───Boot
│   │   │   │   boot.stl
│   │   │   │   bootmgfw.efi
│   │   │   │   bootmgr.efi
│   │   │   │   kdnet_uart16550.dll
│   │   │   │   kdstub.dll
│   │   │   │   kd_02_10df.dll
│   │   │   │   kd_02_10ec.dll
│   │   │   │   kd_02_1137.dll
│   │   │   │   kd_02_14e4.dll
│   │   │   │   kd_02_15b3.dll
│   │   │   │   kd_02_1969.dll
│   │   │   │   kd_02_19a2.dll
│   │   │   │   kd_02_1af4.dll
│   │   │   │   kd_02_8086.dll
│   │   │   │   kd_07_1415.dll
│   │   │   │   kd_0C_8086.dll
│   │   │   │   memtest.efi
│   │   │   │   winsipolicy.p7b
│   │   │   │   BCD
│   │   │   │   
│   │   │   ├───bg-BG
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───cs-CZ
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       memtest.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───da-DK
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       memtest.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───de-DE
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       memtest.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───el-GR
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       memtest.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───en-GB
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───en-US
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       memtest.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───es-ES
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       memtest.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───es-MX
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───et-EE
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───fi-FI
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       memtest.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───fr-CA
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───fr-FR
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       memtest.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───hr-HR
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───hu-HU
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       memtest.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───it-IT
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       memtest.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───ja-JP
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       memtest.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───ko-KR
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       memtest.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───lt-LT
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───lv-LV
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───nb-NO
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       memtest.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───nl-NL
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       memtest.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───pl-PL
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       memtest.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───pt-BR
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       memtest.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───pt-PT
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       memtest.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───qps-ploc
│   │   │   │       memtest.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───ro-RO
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───ru-RU
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       memtest.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───sk-SK
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───sl-SI
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───sr-Latn-RS
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───sv-SE
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       memtest.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───tr-TR
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       memtest.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───uk-UA
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───zh-CN
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       memtest.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───zh-TW
│   │   │   │       bootmgfw.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       bootmgr.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       memtest.efi.mui
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   ├───Fonts
│   │   │   │       chs_boot.ttf
│   │   │   │       cht_boot.ttf
│   │   │   │       jpn_boot.ttf
│   │   │   │       kor_boot.ttf
│   │   │   │       malgunn_boot.ttf
│   │   │   │       malgun_boot.ttf
│   │   │   │       meiryon_boot.ttf
│   │   │   │       meiryo_boot.ttf
│   │   │   │       msjhn_boot.ttf
│   │   │   │       msjh_boot.ttf
│   │   │   │       msyhn_boot.ttf
│   │   │   │       msyh_boot.ttf
│   │   │   │       segmono_boot.ttf
│   │   │   │       segoen_slboot.ttf
│   │   │   │       segoe_slboot.ttf
│   │   │   │       wgl4_boot.ttf
│   │   │   │       
│   │   │   └───Resources
│   │   │       │   bootres.dll
│   │   │       │   
│   │   │       └───en-US
│   │   │               bootres.dll.mui
│   │   │               
│   │   └───Recovery
│   └───Boot
│           bootx64.efi
│           
└───sources
        boot.wim
        $PBR_ResetConfig.xml
        $PBR_Diskpart.txt
        Reconstruct.WIM
        Reconstruct.WIM2

Fix for Error “We can’t create a recovery drive on this PC”

  1. First, let’s check the status of the Windows RE on the computer. To do so, open an admin Command Prompt window, and then type the following command:
    reagentc /info

    could not find the recovery environment - reagentc.exe

    The above command shows the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE) and system reset configuration.

  2. If the Windows RE status shows up as Disabled or if the Windows RE location is empty, here is the command you need to run:
    reagentc /enable

    This enables the Windows Recovery Environment on the computer.

    could not find the recovery environment - reagentc.exe

    When you run the enable command, what happens in the background is that the Windows RE image file (Winre.wim) is copied from the Windows\System32\Recovery to the C:\Recovery\WindowsRE folder and the boot configuration entries (BCD) is updated accordingly.

Can’t enable Windows RE?

If you encounter errors when enabling the Windows RE using reagentc.exe command-line, see the next section, “How to Repair or restore the Windows Recovery Environment” for a solution.


How to Repair or Restore the Windows Recovery Environment

If the Windows RE image Winre.wim is missing from the source or is corrupted, the following error occurs when running the reagentc.exe /enable command-line:

REAGENTC.EXE: The Windows RE image was not found.

could not find the recovery environment - reagentc.exe

To resolve this, we need to extract a fresh copy of Winre.wim from the Windows 10 Setup disk or ISO. Follow these steps:

tips bulb iconFor maximum compatibility, make sure you select the version of Windows 10 ISO/DVD that matches the version of Windows 10 currently installed. You can download any version of Windows 10 ISO using Rufus.

  1. Extract Winre.wim from the install.wim file located inside the Windows Setup disk or ISO. You can find detailed instructions in the article How to Extract Files from Windows 10 ISO or DVD (Install.wim)
    Let’s say you extract Winre.wim from the ISO/DVD source to the D:\ drive using the instructions in the linked article above.
  2. Next, open an admin Command Prompt Window, and type the following command:
    cd /d C:\Recovery\WindowsRE

    If the above command is successful, you’ll see C:\Recovery\WindowsRE in the prompt.

  3. Type the following command now:
    copy D:\Winre.wim

    You should see the 1 file(s) copied message in the output. The file Winre.wim which we extracted to the D:\ drive, is now copied to the C:\Recovery\WindowsRE folder.

  4. Type the following command:
    reagentc /setreimage /path C:\Recovery\WindowsRE

    You should see the output similar to the following:

    Directory set to: \\?\GLOBALROOT\device\harddisk0\partition2\Recovery\WindowsRE
    
    REAGENTC.EXE: Operation Successful.
    The above path starting with the GLOBALROOT is the symbolic link that points to the Recovery\WindowsRE folder on the C: drive. The partition# and the harddisk# would vary depending upon the configuration of each computer.
    Note that the file Winre.wim must exist in that folder before running the reagentc.exe /setreimage command-line. Otherwise, you’ll get the error REAGENTC.EXE: No valid image found in the specified path.
  5. Finally, run the following command to enable the Windows Recovery Environment and reconfigure the Boot Configuration Data (BCD) entries present in the System Reserved partition.
    reagentc /enable
  6. If you see REAGENTC.EXE: Operation successful in the output of the previous command, then type the following command to verify if the Windows Recovery Environment is enabled:
    reagentc /info

    You should see something like this in the output.

    Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE) and system reset configuration
    
    Windows RE status: Enabled
    Windows RE location: \\?\GLOBALROOT\device\harddisk0\partition2\Recovery\WindowsRE
    Boot Configuration Data (BCD) identifier: 1216a3d5-d870-11ea-a9e9-1866da06b846
    Recovery image location:
    Recovery image index: 0
    Custom image location:
    Custom image index: 0
    
    REAGENTC.EXE: Operation Successful.
    
    could not find the recovery environment - reagentc.exe

After following the above steps, the Windows 10 Recovery Drive creation error We can’t create a recovery drive on this PC would be resolved now.

We can't create a recovery drive on this PC

Additionally, you’ll also find that the tools such as Startup Repair, System Restore, Uninstall Updates, etc., are restored back in the Windows RE page.


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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded Winhelponline.com in 2005.

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