How to create a recovery USB drive in Windows 10

If your computer is having problems and won’t boot, you can force the computer to boot to a USB recovery drive. Below are the steps to create a recovery USB drive in Windows 10.

Create recovery USB drive in Windows 10

Even if you don’t experience any problems on your computer, it’s still a good idea to create a Windows USB recovery drive and keep it in a safe place for future use.

A recovery USB drive can help you gain access to your computer when it has problems and refuses to boot from the hard drive.

In such cases, you can force the computer to boot from the USB recovery drive and gain access to troubleshooting tools and other advanced settings in the Windows operating system.

The good thing about the Windows recovery drive is that it is not tied to a specific PC but can be used to boot any Windows 10 computer into recovery mode.

What size USB drive is required to create a Windows 10 recovery drive?

The size of USB drive required to create Windows 10 recovery drive varies from 1GB to 32GB depending on whether you select the option to back up system files or not.

While the recovery drive without a system file backup is good enough to boot any Windows computer and fix problems, it cannot be used to reinstall Windows 10.

In comparison, a recovery drive with system file backup can be used both to fix problems and to reinstall Windows 10 on your computer.

Is it necessary to format the USB drive?

You can plug in any working USB drive to create a Windows 10 recovery drive and there is no need to format the USB drive.

Windows will automatically format the USB drive and erase all data before creating the recovery drive. So, make sure to transfer the data from the USB drive to another location.

How to create a USB recovery drive for Windows 10

Windows 10 computers come with the Recovery Drive app preinstalled, which allows you to easily create a Windows recovery drive on a USB drive.

Type recovery drive in the Windows search box and click recovery drive app in the search results.

Open the Windows recovery drive app

If prompted, enter your admin password. On the next screen, click Next to start creating a Windows 10 recovery drive.

Create recovery drive screen in Windows

The program will run for a few minutes and you will be prompted to connect USB drive of at least 1 GB if you are not backing up system files, and 32 GB or more if you are backing up system files.

Choose USB drive and click Next. In the confirmation warning pop-up window, click Create to start creating the recovery drive.

The time to create the recovery drive is short if you haven’t selected the option to back up system files. When backing up system files, it may take 40 minutes or more for the process to complete.

Once the process is complete, you will see a pop-up window that says “The recovery drive is ready”. Click on Finished > Eject the USB drive and remove it from your computer.

Make sure you clear Label the USB device Use as a Windows 10 recovery drive and keep it in a safe place.

There was a problem creating the Windows recovery drive

Sometimes, the recovery drive creation process may run for a few minutes and the error message “There was a problem creating the recovery drive” appears.

In this case, close all files, folders and browser tabs on your computer and try again. If you keep getting this error, disable it Back up system files to the recovery drive option and try again.

In general, if the option to back up system files is not selected, you should be able to create Windows 10 Repair Drive without any problems.

Note: Simple recovery drive without system files is good enough to fix problems in your computer, but you cannot reinstall Windows with this repair disk.

Create a Windows USB recovery drive using the Media Creation Tool

Windows Media Creation Tool provides an easy way to create a bootable Windows 10 USB drive that can also be used as a Windows 10 recovery drive.

You can learn more about it and create a Windows 10 bootable USB drive by following the steps in this guide: How to create a Windows 10 bootable USB drive.

Both Windows recovery drive and Windows 10 bootable USB drive can be used to fix problems on your computer.

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