Create a USB recovery drive for Windows 8

If you run into problems with your PC, a USB recovery drive can help you troubleshoot and fix those problems, even if your PC won't start.


Your PC might have come with a recovery image that’s used to refresh or reset your PC. The recovery image is stored on a dedicated recovery partition on your PC, and is typically 3-6 GB in size. To save space on your PC, you can delete your recovery image from your PC and use a recovery drive instead. If you decide to do this, make sure you don’t lose the USB recovery drive. You’ll need it if you want to refresh or reset your PC in the future.
Create the recovery drive

Windows 8 and Windows RT include a built-in tool to create a USB recovery drive. Windows will let you know how big the recovery partition is, and you'll need a USB flash drive at least that big.

Creating a recovery drive will erase anything already stored on your USB flash drive. Make sure to transfer any important data from your USB flash drive to another storage device before using it to create a USB recovery drive.

To create a USB recovery drive
  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.
  2. (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search.)
  3. Enter Recovery in the search box, tap or click Settings, and then tap or click Create a recovery drive.
  4. Administrator permission required You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.
  5. After the recovery drive tool opens, make sure the Copy the recovery partition from the PC to the recovery drive check box is selected, and then tap or click Next.
  6. Or, if you want to create a recovery CD or DVD instead, clear the Copy the recovery partition from the PC to the recovery drive check box, tap or click Next, and then tap or click Create a system repair disc with a CD or DVD instead.
  7. On the next screen, find the size of the recovery partition, and then insert a USB flash drive into your PC that is at least this size.
  8. Tap or click the USB drive you would like to use for your recovery disk, then tap or click Next.
  9. Tap or click Create.
The recovery image and necessary recovery tools will be copied to your USB flash drive, which will take a while, depending on your PC and the size of the recovery image.
  1. When the process is done, do one of the following:
  2. If you want to keep the recovery partition on your PC, tap or click Finish.
  3. If you want to remove the recovery partition from your PC and free up disk space, tap or click Delete the recovery partition. Then tap or click Delete. This will free up the disk space used to store your recovery image. When the removal is done, tap or click Finish.
  4. Remove your USB flash drive.
This is now your Windows 8 or Windows RT recovery drive, so keep it in a safe place and don't use it to store other files or data.

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