How to Create a Windows 10 Recovery Disk

How to Create a Windows 10 Recovery Disk

/ Shayne Sherman

Windows 10 allows users to create a system repair disc (DVD or CD) and a recovery drive (USB) that they can use to restore and troubleshoot problems that may occur on their computers.

Both options give you access to Windows Advanced Startup Options, where you can diagnose and repair system files.

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Recovery disks or drives have been around even in the early years of personal computers.

Manufacturers of pre-built computers would include a recovery disk that contains the exact copy of your operating system at factory defaults. This way, you can quickly restore your computer using the system repair disc if your operating system decides to go sideways.

On Windows 8 and 10, you can create your recovery drive using a modern flash drive or even a traditional CD or DVD.

Today, we will show you how to create a Windows 10 recovery drive and back up your system files.

Let’s get started.

What Type of Windows 10 Recovery Disk Should You Create?

While a USB drive and CD/DVD can be used to access the advanced boot options for troubleshooting Windows 10, we still recommend using a USB drive to create a Windows 10 recovery disk.

A USB drive is more durable than a traditional disk prone to scratches.

CD/DVDs also have less storage than a modern USB drive, which allows you to back up system files in a single storage device compared to multiple recovery CDs or DVDs.

However, if your computer cannot boot from a USB drive, you must create a CD/DVD-based Windows 10 recovery drive.

So be sure to consider this before creating a recovery disk.

How to Create A Windows 10 Recovery Drive?

If you create a recovery drive on Windows 10, check out the guide below and follow the steps carefully to avoid issues.

Formatting the USB Drive

Before anything else, format your USB drive as NTFS first. The Windows 10 recovery media creation tool seems to require your drive to be in the NTFS Format before it can detect it.

To format your drive as NTFS, follow the steps below.

  1. First, insert the USB drive into your computer.
  2. After that, press the Windows key + S and search for File Explorer.
file explorer into start menu

3. Open File Explorer and right-click on your USB drive from the side menu.

4. Next, click on Format.

5. Ensure the NTFS is selected under the File System tab. Click on Start to begin the process.

format removable drive

Now that you have an NTFS formatted drive, we can create the Windows 10 recovery drive.

Create A Recovery Drive on Windows 10

To create a recovery drive on your computer, check out the steps below to guide you through the process.

  1. Press the Windows key + S on your computer and search for ‘Create a Recovery Drive.’
create recovery drive

2. After that, ensure that ‘Back up system files to the recovery drive‘ is marked checked and click Next.

back up system files to the recovery drive

3. Next, select the USB drive you want to store the recovery files and hit the Next button.

4. Click Create to start creating the Windows 10 recovery media.

After the process completes, you can close the creation tool window.

If you are running Windows 8, you will also be asked if you want to delete your recovery partition.

Doing this would remove the recovery disk built-in to your hard drive, and you would need the flash drive you just created when you refresh or reset your computer.

How to Create A Windows 10 Repair Disc?

If you prefer to use a Windows 10 repair disc or your computer does not support booting to a USB drive, check out the guide below on creating a Windows 10 repair disc.

  1. First, insert the CD or DVD into your computer.
  2. After that, press the Windows key + S and search for ‘Control Panel.’
  3. Next, click on Open.
windows search control panel

4. Click on Backup and Restore.

5. On the side menu, click Create a System Repair Disc.

create a system repair disc

6. Select the writable disc you have inserted and click Create Disc.

Now, Windows will start writing the system files to the disc. This process can take a couple of minutes, so be patient and wait for the disc creation to complete before removing the CD or DVD.

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How to Use the Advanced Boot Option?

Here’s a guide on the different options that you can choose from the Advanced Boot Option for first-time users.

System Restore – this function is used to roll back your PC to a state where it was functioning correctly. System Restore will not affect any files or data stored on your hard drive.

It might still affect installed programs on your computer, especially if Windows starts to go sideways after installing a specific computer program.

Startup Repair – if you are having problems with your computer and can’t get Windows to boot, you can use the startup repair option. While it does not explicitly display what is wrong with your computer, it effectively repairs any Windows issues that prevent booting your operating system.

Command Prompt – CMD can execute administrative commands on your system, like an SFC scan, which is also a great tool for repairing broken system files. You can also use the Command Prompt to execute different commands that can save you from completely reformatting your computer.

System Image Recovery – This tool will come in handy if you regularly back up your computer. This tool can restore Windows images that include all of your data and installed applications.

Go Back to the Previous Build – this function allows you to revert to the previous version of Windows if you installed an update to your system and it started to malfunction.

As you can see, many features and safety nets available on Windows can help you fix various problems on your computer and recover essential data from your hard drive.

To avoid problems in the future, be sure to create a recovery disk right now and a Windows 10 repair disc so that you are well-equipped in case your operating system fails. Also, check out our other guides to keep your computer running smoothly. How to Use Android Apps on Your PC, how to unblock Adobe Flash content on your PC, how to take a screenshot in Windows 10, and how to make your keyboard light up.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Create A Windows Recovery Disk from Another Computer?

Yes, suppose you are unable to use your current computer. In that case, you can use another computer to create a recovery disk. It will work on any computer as long as the Windows version used to create the recovery disk is the same as the problematic computer.

Can I Download A Windows 10 Recovery Disk?

Microsoft has a dedicated page on its website that allows you to create an installation image that you can use to access the advanced boot options menu to repair your current system.

How Do I Restore Windows 10 Without A Disk?

If your computer is still booting up correctly, you can restore Windows 10 without disk by doing the following.

Press on the Windows key + I to open Windows Settings.
Next, select Update & Security.
Inside Update & Security, click on Recovery.
Now, under Reset this PC, click on Get Started.
Lastly, select Remove Everything and Reset to begin the process.

How to enter Windows recovery environment?

To enter the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE) from within Windows:
Go to the Start menu and select “Power.”
Hold down the shift key while clicking “Restart.”
This will bring up the “Choose an option” screen.
Select “Troubleshoot,” then “Advanced options,” and finally, “Windows Startup Settings.” Click the “Restart” button to enter the Windows RE.
Alternatively, you can enter the Windows RE by inserting a Windows installation media (such as a DVD or USB drive) and booting from it. When the “Install Windows” screen appears, select “Custom: Install Windows only (advanced)” and follow the prompts to install Windows. When the installation is complete, you will be prompted to create a user account and will be in the Windows RE.

How do I reinstall Windows 10 from a recovery drive?

To reinstall Windows 10 from a recovery drive:
Insert the recovery drive into your computer and restart your computer.
Press the appropriate key to enter the boot menu (the key may vary depending on your computer’s manufacturer, but it is often the F12 key).
Select the recovery drive from the boot menu and press enter.
Follow the prompts to reinstall Windows 10.

How to reinstall Windows from a USB flash drive and keep personal files?

To reinstall Windows from a USB flash drive and keep your personal files:
Insert the USB flash drive into your computer and restart your computer.
Press the appropriate key to enter the boot menu (the key may vary depending on your computer’s manufacturer, but it is often the F12 key).
Select the USB flash drive from the boot menu and press enter.
When the “Install Windows” screen appears, select your language and other preferences, then click “Next.”
Click “Install now” and follow the prompts to install Windows.
When you reach the “Which type of installation do you want?” screen, select “Custom: Install Windows only (advanced).”
Select the drive where you want to install Windows and click “Next.”
You will be prompted to create a user account when the installation is complete. After creating the account, your personal files should still be present on the system.

How often should you create a Windows recovery drive?

It is generally a good idea to create a Windows recovery drive when you first set up your computer and then update it periodically. This is because the recovery drive can be used to troubleshoot and fix problems with your computer, such as if it becomes infected with malware or if it experiences a hardware failure.
You should update your recovery drive at least once a year or whenever you make significant changes to your system, such as installing a new version of Windows or adding new hardware. This will ensure that the recovery drive contains the most up-to-date information and can help you recover your system more effectively in the event of a problem.
Remember that the recovery drive is not a replacement for regular backups, so you should create regular backups of your important files to protect against data loss.

How to create a Windows 10 recovery USB drive?

To create a Windows 10 recovery USB drive:
Insert a blank USB flash drive into your computer.
Go to the Start menu and search for “Create a recovery drive.”
Click “Create a recovery drive” to open the recovery drive wizard.
Follow the prompts to create the recovery drive. Make sure to select the option to “Copy the recovery partition from the PC to the recovery drive” to include the necessary files for troubleshooting and recovery.
Click “Create” to begin creating the recovery drive.
Creating a recovery drive will erase any data on the USB flash drive, so make sure to back up any important files before starting the process. Once the recovery drive is created, you can troubleshoot and repair problems with your computer or reinstall Windows if necessary.

What is Windows recovery environment?

The Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE) is a troubleshooting environment designed to help you fix problems with your computer. It provides a range of tools and options that you can use to diagnose and repair problems, including the ability to restore your system to a previous state, troubleshoot and fix hardware issues, and reset your system to its default settings.
The Windows RE is typically accessed when your computer has problems booting up or when you need to perform advanced troubleshooting tasks. It is not meant to be used as a regular operating system and should only be used when necessary to resolve issues with your computer.

Shayne Sherman
Meet the author

Shayne is an expert on all things Microsoft Windows and computer security. As a Windows user of over 30 years, he has been featured on Business Insider, Yahoo, Tech Republic, Hacker Noon, Techopedia, and many other publications. Aside from entertaining at his home theater, he enjoys spending time with his family, including his English bulldog, Fergie.