How to Create a Recovery Drive to Troubleshoot Windows?

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Our computers are always prone to error and any sort of major error may cause the computer not to boot up at all. It’s a bad thing to happen and you would want to fix the Windows so that the computer is up and running again. Creating a recovery drive is a useful method in this aspect. There was a time when CD/DVDs were being used especially to recover Windows 7 or before. While you still can go for this approach even on Windows 8 or 10, using a USB device like a pen drive is the latest way to troubleshoot Windows for the convenience of most users as the use of CDs/ DVDs is becoming obsolete day by day. In this article, we will talk about the creation of a recovery drive and then how to use it to troubleshoot Windows problems.

How to Create a Recovery Drive to Troubleshoot Windows

What is Recovery Drive?

A recovery drive is a special kind of storage that is used to save system files and recovery files of Windows beforehand of a major breakdown of your computer. The data is saved on a USB device, CD, or DVD. When your PC fails to boot normally, you can use this stored data to get into the troubleshooting page of Windows and fix the problem. Yes, you won’t need this recovery drive too often, but it can be a magical solution when there is no help available.

Creating a Recovery Drive

Since the advent of Windows 8 and Windows 10, there has been a change in the storage device for the recovery drive. You can now use an external USB flash drive or more popularly known as a pen drive to work as a recovery drive. Nowadays, you hardly can get hold of a CD or DVD. That’s why the old method of creating a recovery drive badly needed changing.

To create a recovery drive, you would need a pen drive having a capacity minimum of 16 GB. Additionally, you would need to make sure that there are no files and data on the drive. Back up the files because they will be deleted in the process. Now, insert the pen drive into your PC and follow these steps:

Step 1: You need to navigate to the ‘Control Panel’ to create a recovery drive. Go to the Windows search bar and search for the control panel and then click on the search result.

Step 2: Expand the ‘Category’ and select the ‘Large icons’ to view all the options and sub-options of the control panel.

Step 3: Click on the ‘Recovery’ option as the following picture suggests. Alternatively, you can navigate to this option from the advanced settings of the ‘Systems and Security’ option.

Step 4: Click on the ‘Create a recovery drive’ item.

Step 5: If you want to get the extra tools to be able to reinstall Windows, you should right-check the ‘Backup system files to the recovery drive’ box. This will take some time, about an hour, to create the recovery drive as well as to back up the system files. Although backing up the system files will delay the process, we would still recommend it as you will get the additional tools for the reinstallation of Windows if be needed. Now, hit the ‘Next’ button.

Step 6: Select the USB flash that was inserted. Remember that everything on the drive will be removed. So, back up the important files beforehand. Then, click next.

Step 7: Windows will alert you for the last time about the deletion of files. If you are ready, hit the ‘Create’ button.

Step 8: Wait for a few minutes, up to 1 hour, depending on the status of your processor. When the recovery drive is created to the intended device, you will see the message of completion. Click on the ‘Finish’ button to exit the process.

Using the Recovery Drive

You will need the recovery drive whenever your Windows cannot boot up or stop abruptly several times. As Windows fails to start when any major error occurs to the system, hence you cannot get access to the troubleshooting options. This is where a recovery drive comes in handy as you can get into the recovery page of Windows with the use of a recovery drive.

Insert the USB flash drive that contains the recovery drive into the PC. Click on the ‘power’ button and hit the ‘ESC’ button several times simultaneously. 

You will be directed to the choice of the keyboard layout page. When this page or window appears on your screen, you will know that you have successfully entered the troubleshoot drive. Choose the language you want to use.

You will find the troubleshooting option to reset your PC; click here.

In the advanced menu, there are few recovery tools available. You can do a system restore that will take back the Windows to the pre-recorded restore point. Also, for automatic recovery, choose the ‘Start-up Repair’ option. The advanced users may want to navigate to the command prompt to fix the problem manually. And if you want to do any kind of repair, then just go back to the previous window and choose either continue to boot up the PC or turn off the PC.

Remember one important thing- the recovery drive created for Windows 10 cannot be used for Windows 8 or vice-versa. Only when two PCs match with each other in terms of model, drive, and version of Windows, then you can use one recovery drive for the other. If you want to create a common recovery drive for multiple PCs, then you should try using third-party recovery applications.


The users of Windows 7 or before have to use CDs or DVDs to store recovery data. Navigate to the ‘System Repair Disk’ that can be found in Control Panel> System and Security> Backup and Restore. Create a system recovery drive on a blank disk and later use it when the PC does not start normally. Windows 8 and 10 users can also try this alternate method. It does not matter whether you use the USB flash drive or CD as long as it works for you. The best thing is you can even reinstall the Windows if troubleshooting does not repair the Windows with the use of a recovery drive without the need for an additional system disk.

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