How to Create a Windows 10 Recovery Drive

How To Create A Windows 10 Recovery Drive Feature

What would you do if Windows 10 suddenly wouldn’t boot or the system just wouldn’t work? From viruses to simple accidents, damage to the operating system can completely prevent a PC from booting into Windows 10. That’s why you need to create a Windows 10 recovery drive.

If your operating system does become corrupted, you can plug in the USB recovery drive and boot into it to help repair the damage. This will then give you a menu with several options you can use to help bring Windows back to life.

What You Need

All you need to create a Windows 10 recovery drive is an empty USB drive. You can either buy a new one or use one that you don’t need. You can’t store anything else on the drive while it’s being used as a recovery drive.

Ideally, you’ll need at least 16 GB of storage, but a larger drive is okay, too. Anything smaller may not work, especially if you have a 64-bit version of Windows.

If your drive has any data on it currently, plug it in to your computer and format it. Open File Explorer and right-click on your USB drive’s letter/name. Click Format.

How To Create A Windows 10 Recovery Drive Format

Choose NTFS as the file type and press Start.

How To Create A Windows 10 Recovery Drive Format Ntfs

When to Do It

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 never know when something may go wrong, and preparing in advance can save you some major headaches if the worst does happen.

How To Create A Windows 10 Recovery Drive When

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.

How to Create a Recovery Drive

Open the Start menu and type “create a recovery drive.”

recovery-drive-win-10-select

Select the result. This starts the Windows 10 recovery drive wizard.

recovery-drive-win-10-create

There’s a somewhat cryptic checkbox 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.

recovery-drive-win-10-size

When you click Next, Windows calculates how much space is needed. When it’s finished, it’ll tell you the space needed to make the recovery drive. If you’re looking to purchase a USB drive as a recovery drive, use the information on this page to gauge how big of a USB drive you’ll need to buy. If you have a drive on hand that fits what Windows asks for, plug it in now. You can cancel the process if needed in order to buy a compatible USB drive.

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

Once you plug the USB drive 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.

Good to Go

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.

While you’re at it, learn how to schedule regular backups to a network storage device, too. You can also try recovering files using a different type of bootable USB drive if Windows is already corrupted and can’t be repaired.

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

Crystal Crowder Crystal Crowder

Crystal Crowder has spent over 15 years working in the tech industry, first as an IT technician and then as a writer. She works to help teach others how to get the most from their devices, systems, and apps. She stays on top of the latest trends and is always finding solutions to common tech problems.

2 comments

  1. Do I need to do anything with my BIOS if I want to boot up with the USB recovery drive?

    I’m very much confused with UEFI and legacy BIOS. Not sure which one I need to access in order to boot from a USB drive…

  2. Your computer may recognize the recovery drive and boot to USB automatically. However, if it doesn’t, the following should help:

    https://www.maketecheasier.com/common-bios-settings/
    https://www.maketecheasier.com/boot-uefi-from-windows10/

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