A Windows 10 recovery drive should be an important part of your backup and recovery plan. A recovery drive, while not a backup, can be used to repair and recover your PC in the event of a startup failure.
A recovery drive is a bootable USB stick that contains a stripped-down version of Windows. You can use the built-in backup and recovery tools in Windows, as well as a basic command line to interact with your computer. A recovery drive can be thought of as a way to jumpstart a Windows 10 PC that is having issues.
How to create a Windows 10 recovery drive
The process of creating a recovery drive in Windows has become somewhat buried. The simplest way to locate it is to use the Start menu to look for “create a recovery drive.” To run the program that appears, you must be logged in as an administrator.
The wizard’s first screen gives an overview of what recovery drives can do. There’s only one checkbox to enable, which we recommend you do. This option, “Back up system files to the recovery drive,” copies important Windows files to your drive, allowing you to reinstall Windows in the event of a disaster. To continue, click “Next.”
While the contents of your recovery drive are being prepared, you’ll see a “Please wait” loading screen. This could take a while, particularly if you chose to include your system files. After a few moments, you’ll be prompted to connect your USB stick on a confirmation screen. The drive’s required capacity will be displayed on the screen. When the recovery drive is created, any files currently saved to the USB will be permanently deleted.
To begin the writing process, connect your USB stick and press the “Next” button. Depending on the number of files to be copied and the speed of your USB stick, this could take some time.
Your drive will be ready to use once the process is completed. You’ll be able to connect your recovery drive and use its tools to start restoring your system if you ever have a startup problem. It will allow you to restore your PC from a System Restore point, reflash your PC from a system image, completely reinstall Windows, or drop to a command prompt to manually inspect issues.
Remember that the steps for booting from a USB drive vary by device; if you’re having trouble booting from your recovery drive, consult the documentation for your hardware.