Years ago when you bought a new computer it was normally accompanied by a Recovery DVD that enabled you to reinstall the Windows operating system or at least recover it from fatal system corruption, usually caused by malware (i.e. a virus). These days though the computer comes with a, often hidden, Recovery Partitition on its hard drive that enables you to reinstall or at least recover the Windows 10 operating system. This is all well and good, but what happens when the Recovery Partition itself becomes corrupted/damaged?
In the example below I will show you how to create a Recovery Drive using the Windows 10 recovery program. It will make a copy of your computer's recovery partition, which hopefully isn't corrupted, as well as important Windows 10 system files so that you have a way of reinstalling or at least recovering your copy of the Windows 10 operating system. The recovery drive (recovery files) must be saved onto a USB Flash Drive, which must have a capacity of at least 16 GB.
To create a Recovery Drive using a USB Flash Drive begin by clicking on the START Menu button, to make the START Menu menu-items appear, and then click on the SETTINGS menu-item (Fig 1.0) to open the Settings control panel window (Fig 1.1). From there start typing the words RECOVERY DRIVE.
Fig 1.0 - Click on the START Menu button and then on the SETTINGS menu-item to continue
As you begin typing the edit box will automatically become active with the letter R and so on already inside it, so there is no need to click inside the edit box first. Once the words RECOVERY DRIVE have been entered into the edit box click on the button/link called CREATE A RECOVERY DRIVE (below) to launch (open/run/execute) the Recovery Media Creator program.
Fig 1.1 - Type RECOVERY DRIVE inside the SEARCH edit box and then click on the button/link called CREATE A RECOVERY DRIVE
After clicking on the CREATE A RECOVERY DRIVE button/link a UAC (User Account Control) system requester will appear whereby you then need to click on its YES button to continue.
Fig 1.2 - Click on the UAC system requester's YES button to continue
User Account Control (UAC) is a feature of Windows 10 that helps to prevent unauthorized changes to the computer, such as deleting a system file or installing software. When attempting to launch the Recovery Media Creator program the UAC security requester above automatically blocks you off, because it wants to know if you are the one attempting to launch the program and not a robotic piece of malicious software for example. In the above case simply click on the YES button to continue, or on the NO button to cancel the recovery creation process.
After clicking on the uac security requester's YES button the first step of the Recovery Media Creator program will appear on its Recovery Drive window. In that first step you need to decide whether or not you want the Windows 10 system files copied onto the usb flash drive. If you do, you need to make sure the option called BACK UP SYSTEM FILES TO THE RECOVERY DRIVE is ticked. It basically means make a copy of the recovery partition so that you can reinstall Windows 10 as well as troubleshoot Windows 10 start-up problems. Unticked means you will not have the ability/option to reinstall Windows 10. Click on the NEXT button when you have decided.
Fig 1.3 - Tick the option called BACK UP SYSTEM FILES TO THE RECOVERY DRIVE and then click on the NEXT button
Fig 1.4 - Windows 10 is gathering information and checking if a usb flash drive is inserted
Fig 1.5 - Oh dear! There is no usb flash drive inserted into the computer.
After doing initial system checks regarding the Windows 10 recovery partition on the computer's hard drive (Fig 1.4 above) and checking for the presence of a usb flash drive with a capacity of at least 16 GB (Fig 1.5 above) the Recovery Media Creator program is ready to begin the actual copying process; assuming there is a usb flash drive inserted of course. All you need to do at this point is click on the NEXT button (below) and then confirm you are absolutely sure there is no important data on the inserted flash drive by clicking on the CREATE button (Fig 1.7 below).
NOTE WELL - The inserted flash drive will be formatted (blanked/erased/deleted/wiped clean of data), hence the warning with the yellow triangle and exclamation mark (Fig 1.7).
Fig 1.6 - Click on the NEXT button to continue
Fig 1.7 - Click on the CREATE button if you are absolutely sure there is no important data on the inserted flash drive
After clicking on the CREATE button the Recovery Media Creator program begins by formatting the inserted flash drive using the FAT32 file system and renaming it RECOVERY. It then copies the necessary Windows 10 system files (for restore/reboot purposes) and recovery partition files (for reinstallation of Windows 10). The files copied take up approximately 10 GB, but the other 6 GB could be used at actual restore/reinstallation time for Windows 10's own use; so don't store any of your personal files on the remaining 6 GB of the flash drive.
Fig 1.8 - The recovery program is in the process of creating a Recovery Drive
Fig 1.9 - The recovery program has finished. The Recovery Drive is ready for use.
At this point the Recovery Drive has been created, so click on the FINISH button (above) to complete the whole process. If you then look inside the inserted flash drive (its folder), now called RECOVERY, you will see the relevant system/restore/reinstallation files within it.
Fig 1.10 - The USB Flash Drive can now be used to recover/reinstall the Windows 10 operating system
I recommend creating a recovery drive BEFORE anything bad happens to your copy of the Windows 10 operating system simply because Windows 10 will be expensive to replace. It currently costs £119.99 (£79) to buy on a USB Flash Drive or as a Download.
Often is the case that too many people with new computers do not bother to create the computer manufacturer's set of recovery/restore dvds when asked to by the computer. Many people ignore the notifications (pop-up messages) about inserting a blank dvd in order to create a set of recovery/restore dvds because they have been told to ignore pop-up messages and/or because they do not have any dvds available. In the latter case they think the message will not appear again and therefore think they can not create the recovery/restore dvds anymore. This is wrong though. They just need to look on the START Menu for a folder or menu-item called ASUS (or whatever the name of their computer manufacturer is) or a CREATE RECOVERY DISC (or similar) folder or menu-item. Even without those options/menu-items they can still create a recovery drive as above. In other words, there is no excuse not to create something.
NOTE WELL - The usb flash drive might not boot-up (start-up) on your computer, and therefore not display the recovery drive and its recovery options, because your computer's BIOS has not been programmed to make the usb flash drive the first item to boot (start) when the computer is first switched on or restarted. The BIOS is normally programmed to boot (start) the hard drive first because it has the Windows 10 operating system on it. However, in the case of a corrupt Windows 10 you need to tell the BIOS to boot from the usb recovery drive instead.
As an example, using the ASUS X553MA laptop: Switch on the computer (laptop) and press the F2 keyboard key as you do so. Keep the F2 key held down until you see the blue BIOS screen. From there, press the right arrow cursor key until the BOOT Menu and its options are displayed. Now use the down arrow cursor key to highlight in white the option called BOOT OPTION #1. Pressing the ENTER key will then bring up a menu option whereby you then use the down arrow key to highlight the flash drive. In this example the SanDisk flash drive. Press ENTER again to set the flash drive as the first bootable drive. Now press the right arrow cursor key to the EXIT Menu and press ENTER on the SAVE & EXIT option.
Fig 1.11 - Making the SanDisk flash drive bootable on the ASUS X553MA laptop
Look for your computer's online manual, if need be, and consult its BIOS Settings page for more information on programming the computer's boot-up sequence.