Preparation before Repairing Windows 10/11: Rescue Your Data
If you run into problems with your PC running Windows, 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 to 6 GB in size.
- To save space on your PC, you can delete the recovery image from your PC and use a recovery drive instead.
Windows 8.1 includes 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. Warning: Creating a recovery drive will erase anything already stored on your USB flash drive.
- Use an empty USB flash drive or 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.
Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search. (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Search.). Enter recovery drive in the search box, and then select Create a recovery drive. 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 select Next.
- Note: The check box is greyed out when your PC doesn’t have a recovery partition.
The recovery drive will include only the recovery tools and a bootable image, but not a recovery image to use for refreshing or resetting your PC.
Insert a USB flash drive into your PC that's at least as large as the size indicated on the screen.
When Do You Need to Repair Windows 10/11 from USB?
Select the USB drive you'd like to use for your recovery drive, then select Next. 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.
- When the process is done, do one of the following:.
- If you want to keep the recovery partition on your PC, select Finish.
- If you want to remove the recovery partition from your PC and free up disk space, select Delete the recovery partition.
Create bootable Windows 11 recovery USB drive
Then select Delete. This will free up the disk space used to store your recovery image.
When the removal is done, select Finish.
Note: Some PCs don't offer the option to remove a recovery partition. If you experience this, there isn't a recovery partition on your PC that's using additional disc space.
Remove the USB flash drive. This is now your Windows 8.1 recovery drive, and you'll need it if you ever need to refresh or reset your PC. Keep it in a safe place and don't use it to store other files or data. Note: If your PC came with Windows 8 and you upgraded it to Windows 8.1, your recovery drive will include Windows 8, and you’ll need to upgrade to Windows 8.1after you refresh or reset your PC.
System recovery options can help you repair Windows if a serious error occurs.
To use system recovery options, you'll need a Windows installation disc or access to the recovery options provided by your computer manufacturer. If you don't have either of those choices, you can create a system repair disc to access system recovery options.
Create bootable Windows 11 installation USB drive
Open Backup and Restore by clicking the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Maintenance, and then clicking Backup and Restore.
What is Windows recovery disk or USB
In the left pane, click Create a system repair disc, and then follow the steps. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
Note: If you're prompted to insert a Windows installation disc, it means that the files needed to create the system repair disc can't be found on your computer.
Insert a Windows 7 installation disc. Insert the system repair disc into your CD or DVD drive. Restart your computer using the computer's power button. If prompted, press any key to start the computer from the system repair disc.
If your computer isn't configured to start from a CD or DVD, check the information that came with your computer. You might need to change your computer's BIOS settings.
Choose your language settings, and then click Next. Select a recovery option, and then click Next.
Tip: Print these instructions and keep them in a safe location with your system repair disc.
Start your computer from a Windows 7 installation disc or USB flash drive. You might need to start, or boot, your computer using the Windows 7 installation disc or a USB flash drive if you want to:. Install or reinstall Windows 7. Recover Windows 7 from a serious error.
If your computer won't start Windows at all, you can access Startup Repair and other tools in the System Recovery Options menu from the Windows 7 installation disc or USB flash drive.
These tools can help you get Windows 7 running again. Note: If you use a Tablet PC or other computer with a touchscreen, you might need to attach a keyboard and mouse in order to use Startup Repair and other tools in the System Recovery Options menu.
How to Create a Windows 11 USB Recovery Drive
Turn on your computer, insert the Windows 7 installation disc or USB flash drive, and then turn off your computer.
Restart your computer. Press any key when prompted to do so, and then follow any instructions that appear.
When the Install Windows page appears, click Install now to begin the installation process or click Repair your computer to access system recovery options.
Follow the instructions. If the Install Windows page doesn't appear, and you aren't asked to press any key, you might have to specify that your computer uses its DVD drive or a USB flash drive as the first startup device.
To do this, you need to change settings in the computer's basic input/output system (BIOS). Note: Most newer computers can start from a USB device, but some older computers might not have this capability.
For more information, check the documentation that came with your computer or go to the manufacturer's website.
Before you change BIOS settings, check the information that came with your computer or go to the computer manufacturer's website. Specific procedures for accessing the BIOS and changing settings can differ depending on your computer's manufacturer, or you might be able to choose which startup device your computer uses without changing BIOS settings.
Create a Windows 11 Media using Media Creation Tool by Microsoft
Warning: Be careful when changing BIOS settings. The BIOS interface is designed for advanced users, and it's possible to change a setting that could prevent your computer from starting correctly. Turn on your computer, insert the Windows 7 installation disc or USB flash drive, and then restart your computer. Newer computers often display a startup (or boot) menu.
On the startup menu, choose "BIOS setup," or "BIOS settings," or something similar. Procedures vary depending on the BIOS manufacturer. Usually, you must press a key (such as F2, F12, Delete, Esc) or a key combination immediately after you turn on your computer but before Windows starts.