How do I fix system recovery options?

If you are having issues with the system recovery options on your Windows computer, there are a few things you can try to get it working again. The system recovery options allow you to restore your PC to an earlier point in time, reset your PC, or advanced startup options like safe mode. If these options are not working, the main solutions are to run the System File Checker tool, boot into safe mode to troubleshoot, or reset your PC. Keep reading for more details on how to fix common system recovery option problems.

Quick Fixes to Try First

Before diving deep into troubleshooting your system recovery options, here are some quick things to try first:

  • Restart your computer – This can fix simple errors and refresh system files.
  • Boot into Safe Mode – Safe mode loads only the essential drivers and services to troubleshoot issues.
  • Run the System File Checker – The SFC scans Windows system files and replaces corrupt files.
  • Reset your PC – Resetting will reinstall Windows and retain your personal files.

If those quick fixes do not resolve the problem, continue reading for how to fully troubleshoot and repair the system recovery options.

Run the System File Checker

The System File Checker (SFC) scans Windows system files to find and replace corrupt or missing files. Running SFC can often resolve problems with system recovery and other Windows features not working properly. Here are the steps to run SFC:

  1. Type Command Prompt in the Windows search bar and right click to Run as Administrator.
  2. In the Command Prompt, type the following command and press Enter:
    sfc /scannow
  3. This will scan your system files and replace any files or components that are damaged or missing. The scan can take 5-10 minutes.
  4. Once completed, restart your computer and see if the system recovery options are working again.

If SFC finds errors but cannot fix them, you may need to run DISM and SFC again or reset your PC. Overall, SFC is a handy tool for troubleshooting system recovery and many other Windows issues.

Boot into Safe Mode

Booting into Safe Mode starts Windows with only the bare essential drivers and services. This can isolate problems caused by third party applications or drivers.

To enter Safe Mode:

  1. Access the Windows Recovery Environment by holding Shift and clicking Restart in the Start menu.
  2. On the Choose an Option screen, select Troubleshoot > Advanced options.
  3. Go to Startup Settings and click Restart.
  4. After your PC restarts, you will see a list of startup settings. Press 5 or F5 to boot into Safe Mode.

Once in Safe Mode, try accessing the system recovery options again. If they work properly in Safe Mode, the issue is likely being caused by a driver or application loading at normal startup. You can then troubleshoot those startup items.

Safe Mode is very useful for diagnosing problems with system tools like recovery options that do not load properly at normal startup.

Reset Your PC

If no other troubleshooting steps resolve your system recovery issues, resetting your PC may be necessary. Resetting reinstalls Windows but retains your personal files and settings.

Here is how to reset your PC:

  1. Access the Recovery Environment using the Shift + Restart method.
  2. Go to Troubleshoot > Reset this PC.
  3. Select Keep my files to retain personal files.
  4. The reset will reinstall Windows and remove other applications and drivers.

Resetting your PC can resolve many system issues when standard troubleshooting does not work. However, make sure to backup important data beforehand.

Advanced System Recovery Tools

If the main system recovery options are not accessible or not working, there are some more advanced tools and methods to try:

  • Startup Repair – Automatically diagnoses and repairs startup issues.
  • System Restore – Reverts system files and settings to an earlier restore point.
  • Command Prompt – Access advanced recovery tools like bootrec, DISM, and more.
  • Recovery Drive – Boot to a USB drive to access system recovery tools.
  • Windows Installation Media – Completely reinstall Windows as a last resort.

Using advanced tools like System Restore, Startup Repair, and the Command Prompt provides more ways to fix the system recovery options. If all else fails, reinstalling Windows from installation media or a recovery drive can get your PC up and running again.

Fixing Specific System Recovery Issues

Beyond general troubleshooting steps, here are solutions for some common system recovery problems:

System Recovery Options are Missing

If system recovery options like System Restore are missing or not showing in the Advanced Startup menu, try these fixes:

  • Check if recovery partition is still present using Disk Management.
  • Recreate the recovery partition using recovery media if missing.
  • Enable system protection for drive C to turn on System Restore.
  • Use Startup Repair to detect and restore missing recovery tools.

Can’t Reset PC

If resetting your PC fails or is not available as an option, try these troubleshooting steps:

  • Disconnect all external devices except mouse and keyboard.
  • Boot into Safe Mode and try resetting again.
  • Use Startup Repair tool.
  • Clean reinstall Windows from installation media.

System Restore Failed

If a System Restore fails to complete, these steps may resolve it:

  • Restart and try System Restore again.
  • Boot to Safe Mode and try restoring again.
  • Create a new restore point first.
  • Increase drive C partition size if full.
  • Scan drive C for errors and fix found errors.

Startup Repair Cannot Fix Issues

If Startup Repair is unable to automatically repair issues, try the following:

  • Run SFC and DISM scans to check system file integrity.
  • Apply pending Windows updates.
  • Roll back device driver updates if recent issue.
  • Revert to Last Known Good Configuration.
  • Refresh or reset your PC.

For advanced troubleshooting, also create a boot log to review error details from Startup Repair.

Preventing System Recovery Issues

Following best practices can help avoid many system recovery and startup issues:

  • Regularly create system restore points.
  • Keep drive C partition below 90% full.
  • Update Windows and drivers to latest versions.
  • Don’t install unofficial Windows updates.
  • Install applications only from trusted sources.
  • Properly shut down computer rather than force powering off.

Performing periodic SFC scans, creating system images, and backing up important data can also help you easily recover from or prevent startup and system recovery problems.

When to Use Clean Installation

If you have exhausted all other troubleshooting methods, a clean install of Windows may be required. Here are signs it is time for a clean install:

  • System files are corrupt and SFC cannot repair.
  • Critical boot files are damaged or missing.
  • Hardware failures causing startup and system problems.
  • Windows registry is badly corrupted.
  • Malware or virus infection is severe.
  • Multiple system resets have not resolved issues.

Back up your personal data first, then boot to Windows installation media. Choose custom install and delete all partitions to perform a true clean install. This will give you a fresh working Windows system.


Troubleshooting and repairing system recovery options in Windows can be done through SFC scans, safe mode, resetting your PC, advanced recovery tools, and ultimately a clean install if needed. Identify the specific problem, then apply the targeted solution. With the right approach, you can get your system recovery options working again.