How to Create a Windows 10 Recovery Drive and Why You Should

Are you worried about Windows 10’s system files becoming corrupted? From viruses to simple accidents, damage to the operating system can prevent a PC from booting into Windows 10 whatsoever. To help repair any damage that does occur, Windows comes with the ability to create a USB recovery drive. Then, if your operating system does become corrupted, you can plug in this recovery drive and boot into it. This will then give you a menu with several options you can use to help bring Windows back to life.

As such, a recovery drive is nice to have on-hand for when your PC runs into an issue. Unfortunately, it’s not immediately obvious how to make one, when you should, or what you need for it. This article will cover these three topics so you can create your own recovery drive easily within Windows 10.

Given its name, you’ve probably already guessed that a USB recovery drive requires a USB drive to run from. In order to make a recovery drive, Windows 10 will need to wipe a USB drive of its data, so you’ll need a memory stick that you’re not actively using. As far as how much memory the memory stick needs to have, it can vary from computer to computer. 32-bit drives will need less room than a 64-bit one, for instance. In general, if you own a memory stick that has 16GB of storage or more, that should be enough to create a recovery drive.

If you don’t own a memory stick and you’re considering purchasing one to create a dedicated recovery drive, don’t buy one just yet! You can follow the steps below, and Windows will tell you how much space you need to create a recovery drive for your computer. Then you can purchase a stick that fits what Windows is asking for.

There’s a very easy answer to this; the best time is right now!

There’s no disadvantage to creating a recovery disk ahead of time. As such, it’s always ideal to make it as soon as you possibly can. That way, if your computer does become corrupted, you’ll have a drive ready and waiting to deal with the problem.

What If My PC Is Running Fine?

You may find it a bit odd to create a recovery drive when your computer is currently working perfectly. Couldn’t you just make the drive after the PC has been corrupted instead?

Unfortunately, the easiest way to create a recovery drive is by using your own copy of Windows 10. In order to do this, you need to be able to boot into Windows 10 so you can tell it to create a drive. If you wait until your copy of Windows 10 becomes corrupt, you can’t boot into it in order to make the drive. Therefore, it’s best to create it before Windows 10 encounters any problems.

Are There Other Ways?

Sometimes you’ll have a corrupt OS and no recovery drive to fix it. While using your own OS to make a recovery drive is the easiest way, it’s definitely not the only one. For instance, you can reinstall Windows 10 using installation media which you can create using Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool. You can also use a different computer running Windows 10 to create a recovery drive, then use it on your own to repair it. Just make sure the computer you use to create the drive shares the same system type (32- or 64-bit) as your own.

If you want to create a recovery drive on a working copy of Windows 10, just follow these steps.

First, access Windows 10’s search feature. You can do this by right-clicking the Start button and clicking Search.


In the search box type “Recovery Drive.” When an option called “Create a recovery drive” appears, click it.


A window will pop up telling you that it’s about to set up a recovery drive.


There’s a somewhat cryptic check-box on this page called “Back up system files to the recovery drive.” If you tick this box, it will allow you to reinstall Windows via the recovery drive if something goes wrong, which is highly useful. It’ll require more storage space to create a system backup, but it’s definitely worth doing if you can.


When you click Next, Windows will take some time to calculate how much space is needed. When it’s finished, it will tell you the space needed to make the recovery drive. If you’re looking to purchase a memory stick as a recovery drive, use the information on this page to gauge how big a memory stick you’ll need to buy. If you have a drive on-hand that fits what Windows asks for, plug it in now.

Remember that creating a recovery drive wipes all data on the stick! Check your memory stick for any crucial files before creating a recovery drive.

Once you plug the memory stick in and click next, it’ll take some time to format your new drive. Once done, you can use it to boot into and access special reparative actions.

Making a recovery drive for Windows 10 is both simple to do and highly useful for future hiccups. Now you know how to make one, when you should, and what you need in order to create one.

Has a recovery drive ever saved a computer for you? Let us know below.