How to Restore a Deleted Recovery Partition in Windows 8

Christian Cawley 26-02-2015

For 12 months I was surprisingly productive using a Microsoft Surface Pro. Except that 128 GB of storage is not nearly enough to run all the apps required to get work done and the couple of strategy games needed to relax. With limited onboard storage and maxed out cloud storage, I decided to delete the recovery partition.


As useful as this can be in unlocking an extra 10 GB of storage (it might be more on your computer, or less), when it comes to having to refresh Windows 8, the lack of a recovery partition – and in many cases with Windows 8 computers, a lack of installation media – makes this impossible. Did your Windows 8 device come without recovery discs, or a printed serial number? Then the solution explained in this post is aimed at you.

Let’s get the recovery partition back again!

Deleting the Recovery Partition for Extra Space on a Windows 8 Computer

Deleting the recovery partition is a quick and easy way to gain extra space on your Windows 8 tablet or ultrabook (or even, if you’re greedy for storage space, your laptop or desktop!). It isn’t advised, however, unless you have the installation media to hand or have made a baseline image of your Windows 8/8.1 setup How to Use Clonezilla to Clone Your Windows Hard Drive Here's all you need to know about how to use Clonezilla to clone your hard drive in the easiest way. Read More . Failing those things, then at the very least make sure you have made a recovery drive How to Create a Windows 8 Recovery Disk The days of reinstalling Windows when it acts up are long since gone. All you need to fix Windows 8 is a recovery disk, either on CD/DVD, a USB or an external hard disk drive. Read More  that can be used to restore a failing installation. This will save you from having to recreate the recovery partition.


Once you’re happy, the recovery partition can be removed from Windows 8 by opening Disk Management. This can be done by typing Disk Man on the Start screen, or opening File Explorer, right-clicking This PC and selecting Manage, then expanding Storage.


From here, right-click the recovery partition and select Delete Volume. You will then be able to use that space for storage, although be aware that Windows may not allow you to use the Extend Volume command. Rather, you’ll have to keep using it as a separate volume of limited size. This is, however, quite useful for mirroring data from your preferred cloud storage service.

Attempting to Refresh or Reset Windows 8 With No Recovery Partition

What happens when you attempt to refresh, or reset Windows 8.1 Windows 8 Refresh Not Working? Try These Tips Windows 8's Refresh is like reinstalling Windows, but it's easier, faster, and preserves your personal files. If Refresh fails or doesn't solve your problems, these troubleshooting tips should help you fix things. Read More when there is no recovery partition on, or connected to, your computer?

The procedure is to open the Charms menu, select Settings > Change PC Settings, tap Update and Recovery, and then select Refresh your PC without affecting your files or Remove everything and reinstall Windows.

Without a recovery partition or drive, neither of these options will work.


What we’re going to do now is create a new recovery partition, use it to reset Windows, enabling secure deletion of your data, and then put you in a position to reset or recover Windows 8 How To Restore, Refresh, or Reset Your Windows 8 Installation In addition to the standard System Restore feature, Windows 8 has features for "refreshing" and "resetting" your PC. Think of these as ways of quickly re-installing Windows -- either keeping your personal files or deleting... Read More in the usual manner.

Create a New Recovery Partition in Windows 8

With no recovery partition, no refresh or reset can take place. This is something that can be resolved, however, and without too much messing around.

You need to start with a Windows ISO, either burned to DVD or saved to your HDD. One way to get this is to download your Windows 8 ISO Overcome Windows 8.1 Upgrade Errors With A Legal ISO Download The Windows Store upgrade doesn't work for everyone. To avoid or fix issues, perform a fresh Windows 8.1 installation using Microsoft's ISO file download. You can even use the installation media on multiple computers. Read More directly from Microsoft, which will require your product key to install. In many cases this is included with your Windows 8 computer, but if not, don’t worry. Some devices (such as the Microsoft Surface Pro and laptops from other manufacturers) don’t include the key.



To get your hands on a legal copy of Windows 8 that you can use on your computer, use Microsoft’s tool to create installation media for Windows 8.1. This shouldn’t take too long to work through, although the download can take a while depending on the speed of your connection. While this is happening, open a new tab and download WinReducer’s Wim Converter tool, which you’ll need shortly.

When Windows has downloaded browse the ISO (which can be mounted in Windows 8 by double clicking the file) or the physical disc, and search for a specific file which can be used to create a new recovery partition. You’re looking for the Sources folder, where you’ll find install.esd. This is the recovery partition, basically, but in its current state it is useless. To make it work for us we need to first move it from the ISO or DVD to a location on your hard disk. From there, we convert it from install.esd to install.wim, and this is possible with the WimConverter tool, downloaded earlier.


Extract the file and run it, updating as requested. You’ll then be able to use the Open button to browse for the install.esd file, and use the Convert button in the top left corner to begin. When all is converted, you should now have a file called install.wim, which you should copy to a new folder on your C:\ drive, labelled C:\Win81-Recovery. The next stage is to register the file so that Windows knows it is there and can create a recovery drive.


On the desktop, right-click the Windows Start screen button and select Command Prompt The Windows Command Prompt: Simpler And More Useful Than You Think The commands haven't always stayed the same, in fact some have been trashed while other newer commands came along, even with Windows 7 in fact. So, why would anyone want to bother clicking the start... Read More (Admin). In the command line, enter:

REAGENTC /SetOSImage /Path C:\Win81-Recovery\INSTALL.WIM /Index 1

This will register the INSTALL.WIM file as your PC’s recovery image.

To confirm this has worked, enter:



With a recovered, working recovery partition, you can now proceed with the standard steps to begin refreshing your computer, or resetting the system to its factory settings.

Alternatively, if you need to rush the recovery or if you’re having issues with the WIM conversion, you might consider heading to the Microsoft TechNet site and downloading the Windows 8.1 Enterprise evaluation kit. This is an ISO file of around 3.5 GB, and you will need to make sure that you have chosen the correct version for your hardware. However, this will lead to problems later on, namely a reset PC that requires activation, so we suggest you stick to the steps above.

Recovery Back in Place: You’re Ready to Reset!

With your recovery partition now replaced and registered, you’ll be able to reset Windows 8.


As described, you’ll need to head to Settings > Change PC Settings, tap Update and Recovery, and make a decision between the two options. Note that if you take the Remove everything… option, Windows will then ask you to confirm which drives you want to be wiped. Windows 8 has a secure wipe feature here, which should remove anything sensitive or embarrassing from your computer’s hard disk drive.

If it doesn’t do the job, other secure wipe utilities are available How to Securely Delete Files From Your HDD or SSD in Windows Did you know files never actually get deleted? That's why they can be recovered; by you or someone else. If this makes you feel uncomfortable, learn how to securely delete files. Read More .

Any questions? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credits: hand picking up Via Shutterstock

Related topics: Data Recovery, Disk Partition, System Restore, Windows 8, Windows 8.1.

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  1. Tom.
    May 13, 2017 at 7:05 am

    So is there any other program to use besides WinConverter apparently it isn't free anymore. I don't have the money to do this or I would just upgrade to windows 10

  2. Fernando D
    January 5, 2016 at 6:31 am

    It's possible assign a recovery backup partition as recovery partition? Cheers

  3. RAHUL
    December 29, 2015 at 7:21 am

    Every Time i have been writing the Command you provided keeping every letter correct and exact space, but every time it has been showing REAGENTC is not recognised, so please help me

  4. janelle
    December 11, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    I need a copy of windows 8 disc does anyone know where i can get a free copy at?

  5. leafwarbler
    November 24, 2015 at 2:26 am

    Thanks for your introduce. The whole steps maybe restore recovery partition, but I wondered can we use third-party data recovery program to recover the partition and without system data loss?

  6. Anonymous
    September 25, 2015 at 2:14 am

    hi cold any one help me ??
    i have problem >>> i delete my image recovery >>> or i can say it clearly i delete system resort point >>> and when i looking in recovery partition i fond it empty >>> after that i try to recover my laptop (( Inspiron 15 5548 )) it's work , but i have a lot of problem i can not fix it as (( i can not install dell bake-up and recovery )) ((factory setup error 5)) what i can do in this case ??

    note >> i am from Jordan it is a country in the middle east >> when i went to the company that give dell customer help >>> they say sorry we can not help you in this case >> and i look around fore any help but no one help me pleas i need help and a lot of time i try to ask support chat , but they didn't help me because i can not speak English very will.

    pleas send me e-mail ((

  7. Anonymous
    August 11, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Good Day,

    I recently installed Windows 10 on my computer, after the initial install I seemed to have some issues. I re-installed Windows 10, selecting remove all files etc including all data. After the second install I can no longer recover my windows 8. According the disk management I do believe I still have the windows 8 recovery files on disk 0 partition 8 which is 10.38 GB which I'm unable to access or at least do not now how correctly. What are the correct commands to recover my windows 8 partition. Many Thanks R

  8. Anonymous
    August 6, 2015 at 7:51 am

    I upgraded to windows 10 a couple of days ago. I have a Dell laptop with a recovery partition which would still have the factory installed recovery files for windows 8.1. How do I change that to windows 10? So that when I choose the reset or recover options when needed, the computer would not revert back to windows 8.1. ?

  9. Anonymous
    August 5, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    I have windows 8 built in hp laptop and i deleted the recovery drive by mistake, but here it is written that "To get your hands on a legal copy of Windows 8 that you can use on your computer, use Microsoft’s tool to create installation media for Windows 8.1."i dont get it why use microsoft tool to create windows 8.1 installation media though i have windows 8 right now in my pc...

  10. Khalid Hassan
    June 1, 2015 at 6:29 am

    Followed all the steps, and so far I think it's all good, but in case I selected the "Remove everything" option, will it also remove the Recovery Folder that I made earlier?

  11. Marc
    May 21, 2015 at 9:30 am

    I did everything to a T, when I type in /info, I get the location as GLOBALROOTdeviceharddisk0partition2RecoveryWindowsRE
    did everything work correctly?

  12. Ahmed Rahamathulla
    March 13, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    My whole recovery partition has been deleted. And when I try to use REAGENTC to see the info, disable or enable it I only get an error :
    REAGENTC.EXE: Operation failed: 3

    REAGENTC.EXE: An error has occurred.

    Please help. I really want to reset my Windows 8.1.

    • Christian Cawley
      March 16, 2015 at 12:16 pm

      Do you have the space to create a new recovery partition?

    • Pete Sunday
      June 1, 2015 at 10:19 am

      I too am getting the same error when trying to point windows to the install.wim file. I created a new partition on my secondary hard drive, so R:WIN8install.wim I can't seem to get passed this! Can you help? Thanks

  13. Johnny Paul
    March 5, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    I would like suggest Remo Recover software as it can efficiently recover deleted partitions on Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows Vista…….

    • Christian Cawley
      March 8, 2015 at 1:36 pm

      Good choice Johnny. How long have you been using it?

  14. DonGateley
    February 26, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    The equivalent procedure for Win 7 (should there be one) would be greatly appreciated.