Booting in WinRE Windows 10: no Internet access!?

  1. Posts : 17
    Windows 10 Pro

    Booting in WinRE Windows 10: no Internet access!?

    Hello all,

    This might be a stupid and silly question but I did not find any clear answer about this feature of standard wired Ethernet networking when a PC is booted in WinRE from an ISO install disc.

    Till today, I believed that such an Internet access was natural and possible but I just discovered my laptop does not access the Internet from the Windows Recovery Environment. I checked in the command console:
    • The green and yellow LEDs from the network adapter look to be active but the yellow one related to the Ethernet traffic blinks once from time to time, like my system would send some frames periodically
    • It does not get an IP address from the DHCP server of my Internet router
    • Not even an APIPA address by itself
    • The ipconfi.exe utility does not show anything, not event the hostname automatically allocated to the machine when booting in WinRE and starting with "MININT"
    • I tried a ping command to reach my expected gateway and I got an error message: "Unable to connect IP driver. General failure"
    • I checked with another laptop: same outcome!

    Just to add that it looks to me that any laptop is capable of TCP/IP network over its Ethernet NIC with PXE boot implemented in BIOS or UEFI firmware and I can see my network adapter as recognized for PXE booting over IPv4 or IPv6 as booting options when I manually access the boot menu at startup. Furthermore my hardware is standard: an HP ProBook 430 G5 laptop from 2019 with well-known components inside. Same behavior with a Dell Latitude 5450 laptop when booting in different WinRE environments from different Windows 10 builds.

    Is there anything I do wrong or is this lack of Internet access not possible in WinRE "by design"?

    Thanks in advance for your help!
      My Computer

  2. Posts : 4,571

    standard wired Ethernet
    that has been supported since at least windows vista, dependent on having the suitable drivers.

    did you run wpeinit from cmd prompt? open cmd prompt and type just the word wpeinit then press enter

    also try running penetwork and see what it reveals

    in the unlikely event that your winre doesnt already have suitable drivers:
    Last edited by SIW2; 19 Mar 2023 at 12:48.
      My Computer

  3. Posts : 17
    Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter

    Hello SIW2, you saved my day! Thank you so much!

    I have been spending hours searching online for fixing this to no avail before deciding to post my silly question.

    I will have a look at the links you provided to learn more about this. What does really strange to me is that this a the first time that I missed such an IP wired connection to a router in WinRE. Furthermore with two laptops and trying with another router to get this same "weird" no Internet access".

    Thank you again for your prompt and right help!
      My Computer

  4. Posts : 4,571

    if you want to see what it has done , you could type at cmd prompt:

    type x:\windows\system32\wpeinit.log
    (then press enter)


    notepad x:\windows\system32\wpeinit.log
    (then press enter)

    to make sure it runs automatically, you could call startnet.cmd from winpeshl.ini
      My Computer

  5. Posts : 17
    Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter

    In my case, the log was generated in the X:\sources folder. It clearly shows that no NIC had been initialized at the boot time because the load of a proper NIC driver is reported in the log. Maybe booting from a WinRE ou WinPE environment always works this way, i.e. with a explicit network NIC discovery then the proper driver load.

    As I am booting in WinRE from a standard Windows ISO-ESD DVD, I have not a customized WinPE environment. As far as I understand, it will not be able to launch startnet.cmd from a newly created winpeshl.ini configuration file unless I repackage my ISO image with this configuration file. Am I right?

    Thank you for your time.
      My Computer

  6. Posts : 4,571

    you would need to change it from this:

    Booting in WinRE Windows 10: no Internet access!?-10winre-7zip6.jpg

    to this:

    Booting in WinRE Windows 10: no Internet access!?-10winre-7zip7.jpg

    unless your pe is read only, you can just edit it with 7-zip without bothering to mount.
      My Computer

  7. Posts : 17
    Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter

    OK, thank you for the tip. As I do rarely boot in WinRE except for troubleshooting a crashed PC, I will stick with launching the wpeinit.exe command manually in the console for the moment. But I will later change my ISO image the way you mentioned with 7-Zip then create a bootable flash drive based on this modified image. I'd get back here in case I failed to get working boot image including the network connectivity.
      My Computer


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