Windows 8.1 Has stopped Working! What now… Windows RE?

Windows 8.1 Has stopped working, what now

When Windows has stopped working entirely, meaning it won’t even boot anymore, or when you’re experiencing so much problems that Windows becomes unworkable, there is only one thing left to be done. The only thing that can be done, is to use the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE) to restore your system to the old glory!

What can Windows RE do?

Windows RE has several recovery options that it offers to you, which includes a handful of essential tools for troubleshooting issues.

  • Repairing startup problems
  • Refresh your PC
  • Reset your PC
  • Advanced Options
    • System Restore
    • System Image Recovery
    • Command Prompt

Repairing start-up problems

This option is one of the most useless tools in the entire Windows RE environment that users can manually activate, since Windows actually actives this when it’s required, but it will always use it in the following situations.

  • Two failed attempt to start Windows (BSODs while booting, damaged boot files and so on)
  • A Secure boot failure or error.
  • A bitlocker error
  • Two consecutive unexpected shutdowns of the system within 2 minutes after the boot process being completed

But if Windows fails to detect the problems what then? Then you can enter the Windows RE environment by yourself and start the process, read How to access Windows RE to learn how.

 

How to reach Windows RE

You can use Windows RE in all sorts of ways but in most cases when you need RE you will not be able to execute method 1, 2 and 3 since… Windows is not working anymore…

  1. Open the right charm, then choose power, then hold the shift key and click on Restart
  2. Open the right charm, then click Settings, then click change PC settings, then click Update and Recovery and click on Recover, then click on Restart now.
  3. Open an elevated command prompt and type “shutdown /r /o” and hit enter.
  4. Plugin a USB Recovery Drive or put a Windows 8.1 Installation disc in your system and reboot your system, click on any button when the message appears, press any key to ….
  5. Force your system to fail starting Windows twice, automatic Startup repair will start.
  6. If you have an old system you can still use the F8 trick, but many new systems will not react to the key, since the boot process is to quick and Windows does not register the key in time.

Any of those 6 options will automatically bring you to the Windows RE interface.

 

Windows RE Options

The Windows RE interface has multiple options the user can choose from, and all of them have a different feature (of course.) You can choose the option below to read what it does.

Main screen

2014-05-22_18-29-51 Windows 8.1 Has stopped Working! What now...  Windows RE? Windows RE

Windows will attempt to start Windows normally, this option should be chosen if Windows for some reason decides that something went wrong, when nothing is wrong. Most people reading this post will not want this option.

Advanced Options

2014-05-22_18-31-03 Windows 8.1 Has stopped Working! What now...  Windows RE? Windows RE

This option allows you to use a Restore Point that you've created or that was created automatically (software, drivers, updates make these sometimes) and use it to recover your system configuration. This option does not affect the user his files
This option allows a user to restore an image he made of the system and replaces everything currently on the system with the image file. Be aware that this option does affect your files and that everything you did after you made the back-up was created will be lost
This option starts an automatic  diagnostic tool that scans your system and finds and attempts to solve any problems that could cause a startup to fail, this option is recommended if you're sure that something is preventing you from starting normal. In most cases Windows will however automatically start this tool when it detects startup problems.
This option starts an elevated command prompt that allows you to do manual recovery options, however this is something that normal users should not attempt!.

Troubleshoot

2014-05-22_18-30-39 Windows 8.1 Has stopped Working! What now...  Windows RE? Windows RE

Windows RE Option: Refresh your PC

The most popular option in the Windows RE interface is the refresh your PC option, it changes all PC settings back to their default settings while keeping your personal data files, personalization settings, and all apps installed from the Windows Store.

[alert-warning]While it preserves a lot of files, some files and programs are affected: All desktop installed programs will be removed, all files within the AppData will be removed and all files in the root of the system drive will be removed.[/alert-warning]

After starting this option Windows will boot into the Windows RE interface and gather:

  • User Accounts
  • Settings
  • Certain data
  • Windows Store Apps

Windows will then replace the following files and folders with the new installation:

  • \Windows
  • \AppData folders
  • \ProgramData
  • \Program Files
  • \Program Files (x86)
  • Default OEM software that was added to your system
[alert-announce]Refresh your PC can take up to a couple of hours and requires a lot of free disk space, according to Microsoft their website, 20% free hard disk space is recommended.[/alert-announce]

Windows RE Option: Reset your PC

A less user-friendly option, this will replace all files on your system and do a full clean install, this means that all your files will be removed and that Windows will be installed like it was the first day you got the system, I like to call this functionality the “Nuke” option.

There are several reasons you want to do this:

  • You wish to start clean without any of your settings or files
  • You plan to sell the system to someone
  • You are troubleshooting if hardware or software is causing issues.

As soon as you start the process you get two options, that is

  • Just remove my files
  • Fully clean the drive

Normal users should use the function Just remove my files, it removes the file headers, thus making them invisible for Windows and it will just write over them, however data restoration software will be able to recover partial or full files. Fully clean my drives will remove all files physically, thus making recovery software useless.

[alert-announce]Fully clean the drive can take multiple hours to complete depending on your system’s performance. You cannot shut down your system during the process! [/alert-announce]

After the Windows RE Reset Your PC function has been completed your system will be in the OOBE state as we like to call it, this means users will have to go trough the setting up users and such for their system.

What's your reaction?
Solved it!
11%
Helped me
0%
Didn't work
89%
Inaccurate Information
0%
About The Author
Yuri Pustjens
Yuri Pustjens
2014, 2015 & 2016 Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Windows Yuri specializes in troubleshooting (crash analysis and devices), system resource utilisation and system performance. He is also very interested in Customer Security. Yuri can be found as Windows Community Moderator and Wiki Author on Microsoft Answers and is active on different communities all across the web.
6 Comments
Leave a response
  • sandra
    February 19, 2015 at 11:48 pm

    Je n’ai plus de son sur mon.pc.un.amis informaticien à distance ma.dis de refresh mon pc mais je n’y comprend rien comment faire

Leave a Response