WinRE – Windows Recovery Environment – Your Life Preserver and Safety Net – Part 1

Well we’re going to be going into what the Windows Recovery Environment is.  I learned a lot about this ONE feature, and I’m going to spend my days and postings sharing this information with you.  If you’re a tech or not, it won’t matter.  This ONE feature within Windows 7 ALONE makes it worth the purchase.  It does something that presently no operating system today does.

It can fix itself.

Or more correctly it can perform many automated features that can lend to recovering from many situations independent to the operating systems.  Bad drives, Power issues, flaky ram, software or drivers not up to the specs of the operating system or just simply our old friend, “Murphy”.

The Nemesis of MANY an IT Professional, Developer, Manager, Mom, Dad or even little Joey or Adam; Murphy S Law.  

The Windows Recovery Environment can be added to Vista but is not presently enabled by default.  It *IS* built into both Windows 7 and Server 2008R2 by default.   The automatic repair is more powerful with Windows 7 and Vista because of it’s ability to leverage System Restore but in Server 2008R2 you CAN leverage the “Repair Booting” issue if you’re stuck dead in the water.   But because when you’re planning a Server infrastructure you’ really don’t want to plan on having the ability to let somebody boot up and access your console, I consider it “nice to have” as an option on a Server, but something I personally for security reasons might disable.  And that is VERY easy to do in Windows 7 and Server 2008R2.

But it is a small and incredibly powerful Environment.   And being a technician I FULLY understand about alternate options such as “Windows Ultimate Boot CD” and various other outside repair environments.   WinRE does not quash or negate those.

What it DOES do is be a built in, useful, repair / recovery environment that is READILY there no matter what.

So *IF* you don’t have other methods to repair it’s there in Windows 7, always ready to help.

It can automatically repair boot issues, It can run a System Restore OUTSIDE of Windows (negating a Dead O/S problem where a System Restore would be able to bring you back).  You can check memory for issues.  Combined with the backup features WITHIN the operating system, you can restore a full image of the operating system into a NEW machine if the old one falls off DEAD!

With the Power of Windows PE tied in, you can use REGEDIT, Manipulate disk partitions and EVEN add drivers and connect to the NETWORK!  Yes!  You’ll even have the ability to access a RAID5 controller to move data from a crippled environment as a result!

It’s BEAUTIFUL!

Now to avoid confusion, in Windows 7 you’ll notice a partition split on the hard drive.  The first “hidden” partition is NOT the O/S . 

No, you’re now looking at the Operating system INSTALLING and USING Best Practices OUT of the box!  That little 100meg space, is your “SYSTEM” partition (which is the actual drive BOOTING up).   Your stock Windows Recovery Environment DOES share space with the O/S drive.  But again, you can change and extend that easily.

You can add drivers to it, you can add custom applications to it, you disable it or enable it, you can place it elsewhere.

You can even setup a way to access it via PXE over the lan (using WDS in Server 2008)

Why you can EVEN put it on a 256 mb USB flash drive. 🙂

So pardon the passion flying through my fingers.   The Energized Tech is about to rip through and launch a technical barrage of information.

And you’re about to benefit

Sean
The Energized Tech

“I have two Mistresses, Powershell and WinRE”

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