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Configure System and Data Recovery

In this tutorial, you review how to configure system and data recovery options for Windows 10. If you have experience with an earlier version of Windows, you might be familiar with many of the options because some are included in Windows 10. To prepare for the exam, it is recommended that you work through all the wizards and tools to ensure that you're comfortable with each process, paying special attention to the newer options.

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.

Configure System Restore

System Restore has been available in previous versions of Windows. It is useful when a computer becomes unstable and you need to restore the operating system to one of the restore points created during a period of stability.

System Restore is not enabled by default in Windows 10. To turn on System Restore and manually create a system restore point, follow these steps.

  1. Click the Start button, type system, and click System Control Panel.
  2. On System, select the System Protection link in the left pane.
    The System Properties dialog box appears with the System Protection tab open.
  3. Highlight the drive you want to protect and click Configure.
  4. In the System Protection For Local Disk dialog box, select Turn On System Protection.
  5. Under Disk Space Usage, move the slider for Max Usage to allow room on the restore points to be saved (5 percent is a reasonable amount).
  6. Click OK.
  7. In the System Protection dialog box, click Create, provide a name, and then click Create.
  8. After the restore point is created successfully, click Close.
  9. Click OK to close the System Properties dialog box.

When System Restore is enabled, it automatically creates restore points at these times:

  • Image Whenever System Restore-compliant apps are installed.
  • Image Whenever Windows 10 installs Windows updates.
  • Image Based on the System Restore scheduled task.
  • Image When you create a system restore manually from the System Protection screen.
  • Image When you use System Restore to restore to a previous restore point. Windows 10 automatically creates a new restore point.
The scheduled task that automatically creates system restore points is located at the Task Scheduler Library\Microsoft\Windows\SystemRestore location in the Scheduled Tasks feature.

Many users prefer to use the graphical user interface (GUI), but you can use Windows PowerShell to configure System Restore. This is useful if you need to configure the settings on a large group of computers and do not use Group Policy. Some of the available Windows PowerShell commands include:

  • Enable-ComputerRestore: Enables the System Restore feature on the specified drive
  • Disable-ComputerRestore Disables the System Restore feature on the specified drive
  • Checkpoint-Computer Creates a new system restore point
  • Get-ComputerRestorePoint Gets the list of restore points on the local computer

Use the following command to enable System Restore on the C drive of the local computer.

PS C:\→ enable-computerrestore -drive "C:\"
The System Restore feature requires drives that are formatted with the NTFS and uses the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) in the background.

For systems with a small hard drive, you can still use System Restore, but you might want to reduce the amount of space allocated for the restore points to limit the number of historic maintained restore points. When the allocated space becomes full, System Restore deletes the oldest restore point and reuses the space.

To recover your system by using System Restore, start the process from System Restore in System Protection in Windows 10. If you cannot log on to your system, you can launch the wizard from Advanced Options.

Prior to launching the System Restore tool, the wizard offers to show you whether any apps and files will be affected by performing a specific System Restore based on the date and time of the restore point you select. To use System Restore to restore your PC to an earlier time, follow these steps.

  1. Click the Start button, type system, and click System Control Panel.
  2. On System, select the System Protection link in the left pane.
    The System Properties dialog box appears with the System Protection tab open.
  3. Click System Restore.
  4. On the Restore System Files And Settings page, click Next.
  5. On the Restore Your Computer To A State It Was In Before The Selected Event page, choose the restore point that you want to be restored.
  6. After you select a restore point, click Scan For Affected Programs and then click Next.
  7. On the Confirm Your Restore Point page, click Finish.
  8. On the warning screen, click Yes.
    The System Restore prepares your computer and restarts. The System Restore process can complete in a few minutes or longer.
    When the process is complete, the system restarts, and you can sign in to Windows.
    You are presented with a summary of the system restore status and a confirmation that your documents have not been affected.
  9. Click Close.
If you started System Restore from the Advanced startup options rather than from Windows 10, the Advanced startup options prompt you to log on to your account before allowing the System Restore process to complete.