Home / Windows 10

Configure a Recovery Drive

When you install Windows 10, it does not include a separate recovery partition by default. However, if you purchase a new device, the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) might create one instead of providing Windows 10 installation media. You can create a USB recovery drive that enables you to recover your system. If Windows 10 becomes corrupted, your recovery drive can help you troubleshoot and fix problems with your PC when it won't start.

To do so, open Control Panel and click Recovery. Several advanced recovery tools are listed, including Create A Recovery Drive. You need a USB drive with a minimum capacity of 8 GB, which you should label as your system recovery drive.

Note: Secure Digital High-Capacity Memory Cards
If your device supports the use of Secure Digital High-Capacity (SDHC) memory cards, you can use one as an alternative to a USB flash drive when creating the recovery drive.

To create a recovery drive, follow these steps.

  1. Click the Start button, type Recovery, and click Create A Recovery Drive.
  2. Accept the User Account Control (UAC) prompt and provide the necessary credentials if required.
  3. In the Recovery Drive dialog box, select the Back Up System Files To The Recovery Drive check box and click Next.
    Windows 10 creates a recovery image, which can take a while.
    When the image is prepared, the Connect An USB Flash Drive dialog box appears, and you're prompted to connect a USB drive with at least 8 GB of space to your PC.
  4. On the Select The USB Flash Drive page, confirm the USB drive to be used from the list and click Next.
  5. On the Create The Recovery Drive page, click Create.
    The tool formats the USB drive and copies the recovery image files to the USB drive, which can take a while-in excess of an hour, depending on the performance of the PC and the media.
  6. On The Recovery Drive Is Ready page, click Finish.

The last page of the wizard advises you that you can delete the recovery partition stored on your PC and provides a link to do this, which will free up disk space.

Test that the recovery drive was successful by booting to the drive. It is good practice to label your USB flash drive as your recovery drive.

If you need to use the recovery USB, you can boot from the USB drive and access the advanced recovery tools to recover your computer.

The recovery drive is architecture-specific; therefore, a 64-bit (x64) recovery drive can only be used to reinstall a device with 64-bit architecture. Windows 10 Recovery Drive cannot be used to repair earlier versions of Windows.