Bare metal reset/recovery: create recovery media while deploying new devices

Recovery media (bare metal recovery) 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.

You can include this media with new devices that you provide to your customers using the same Windows images used to deploy the devices.


  • The PC firmware/BIOS must be configured so that the PC can boot from the media (USB drive or DVD drive).
  • The USB flash drive or DVD recovery media must have enough space for the Windows image.
  • If the Windows images are larger than 32GB or are larger the media you're using (for example, 4.7GB DVDs), you'll need to split the Windows image file to span across multiple DVDs.

To create a bootable USB recovery drive for a personal device, see Create a USB recovery drive.

Create a bootable Windows RE image

To create the recovery media that you can include with the PC, you must have the following:

  • A Windows image (Install.wim). You can either use the base Windows image or a customized recovery image.
  • A Windows RE tools image (Winre.wim). You can either extract the base Windows RE tools image from the Windows image, or use a customized Windows RE image.

Step 1: Open the Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment

  1. Download and install the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) and WinPE add-on.
  2. On your technician PC: Click Start, and type deployment. Right-click Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment and then select Run as administrator.

Step 2: Extract the Windows RE image from the Windows image

From the Deployment and Imaging tools environment:

  1. Mount the Windows image:

    md c:\mount\Windows
    Dism /Mount-Image /ImageFile:D:\sources\install.wim /Index:1 /MountDir:C:\mount
  2. Copy the Windows RE image.

    md C:\Images
    xcopy C:\mount\Windows\System32\Recovery\winre.wim C:\Images\winre.wim /h
  3. Unmount the Windows image:

    Dism /Unmount-Image /MountDir:C:\mount\winre /Discard

Step 3: Create a working folder for Windows RE files

  1. Create a folder structure for Windows RE, which is based on Windows PE:

    copype amd64 C:\resetmedia_amd64

    where amd64 is the architecture of the system you are creating media for.

  2. Replace the default Windows PE boot image (Boot.wim) with a Windows RE tools image.

    xcopy C:\MyImages\winre.wim C:\resetmedia_amd64\media\sources\boot.wim /h

Step 4: Add the Windows image

  • Copy the Windows image to the working folder.

    copy D:\sources\install.wim C:\resetmedia_amd64\media\sources\install.wim

    where D:\sources\install.wim is either the base Windows image or a customized push-button reset recovery image.

Step 5: Add bare metal recovery configuration scripts

  • If you're using a customized partition layout, add bare metal recovery configuration scripts to the working folder, under \sources. For more info, see Bare Metal Reset/Recovery: Enable Your Users to Create Media.

    copy E:\Recovery\RecoveryImage\ResetConfig.xml C:\resetmedia_amd64\media\sources\ResetConfig.xml
    copy E:\Recovery\RecoveryImage\ResetPartitions-UEFI.txt C:\resetmedia_amd64\media\sources\ResetPartitions-UEFI.txt

Create bootable media

Create a bootable USB flash drive

  1. Install Windows RE to a USB flash drive:

    Makewinpemedia /ufd C:\resetmedia_amd64 F:

    where F is the drive letter of the USB flash drive.

  2. Label the USB flash drive with a descriptive name:

    In File Explorer, right-click the drive, and select Rename, and type Full-PC Recovery.

Create a bootable DVD

  1. Create a DVD image file:

    Makewinpemedia /iso C:\resetmedia_amd64 C:\resetmedia_amd64\RecoveryImage.iso
  2. Insert a DVD.

  3. In File Explorer, navigate to C:\resetmedia_amd64, right-click RecoveryImage.iso, and then click Burn disc image.

Test the bare metal recovery features

  1. On a PC with an empty hard drive, insert your new recovery media.

  2. Start the PC, press a key to open the firmware boot menus, and then select the appropriate boot device.

  3. At the Windows RE Tools menus, select a keyboard layout, for example, US.

  4. Click Troubleshoot > Remove everything > Next


    If you are testing on the same PC, and you have not cleaned the hard drive, you may be prompted to select a drive. Select Windows 10.

    Select Yes, repartition the drives > Just remove my files > Reset.

    Windows resets the computer to its original state by using the recovery image.

Large-Scale Deployment

If you are deploying USB keys with your computers, you can create a basic copy of the Windows recovery media on USB by using the steps above. After you have performed final customization of the image, you can boot the computer to Windows PE, and update the install.wim image on the USB recovery media.

You can potentially save manufacturing time by appending the Windows image on the USB flash drive, rather than recapturing the entire Windows image. If you do this, you must also update the ResetConfig.xml configuration file element: RestoreFromIndex to the appropriate index number. For more information, see Append a Volume Image to an Existing Image Using DISM and ResetConfig XML Reference.

Bare Metal Reset/Recovery: Enable Your Users to Create Media

Push-Button Reset Overview

ResetConfig XML Reference

REAgentC Command-Line Options