In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to create a Windows 10 recovery drive to return your system to a healthy state at any time.

Computers and their operating systems are incredibly complex technologies that can last a very long time from the moment of purchase. However, there is a very high probability that you will encounter specific problems or performance drops at some point, and one of the effective solutions will be a complete reinstallation of the system.

There are many ways to restore your system to its original state. Most computer manufacturers offer recovery tools. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to create a recovery disk to return your system to a healthy state at any time. The steps below should be appropriate for any computer running Windows 10, but in our example, we’ll use a device running Windows 10, version 20H2.

How to back up drivers on Windows 10

Performing a clean installation of Windows assumes that you will most likely be installing a system without the appropriate drivers for your computer. In some cases, standard windows-built drivers may be right for you. They will allow you to connect to the Internet to download missing drivers from Windows Update. However, it will all depend on whether drivers are available in Windows Update and whether you could connect to the network using the built-in universal drivers.

You can also read: 3 Easy Ways to Update Drivers in Windows 10

Most significant OEMs offer to download the latest drivers from official websites, but this option is sometimes unavailable. Fortunately, you can back up the drivers to install them later. You’ll need an external hard drive or SSD. You can create a new folder on the disk to store a backup copy of the drivers, which will be easier to find later.

To back up the current drivers, you’ll need a command prompt or elevated PowerShell. You can right-click on the Start menu or click Win + X and select from the Windows PowerShell context menu (administrator).

To back up the drivers, type the following command:

dism /online /export-driver /destination:"{path}

where {path} is the location of the folder you want to use on the external drive. You can open the desired folder and copy the path from the address bar in File Explorer. In our example, we will use the Drivers folder on drive D so that the command will look like this:

dism /online /export-driver /destination:"D:\Drivers"
How to Create a System Recovery Disk for a Windows 10 PC

If all goes well, many child folders containing driver backups will appear in the selected folder.

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How to Create a System Recovery Disk for a Windows 10 PC

How to Create a Windows 10 Startup Disk

To create a bootable disk, you’ll need another external USB drive. Using the same disk that was used to back up drivers and data will not work. Creating installation media will delete all other data on the disk, so you’ll need a disc without essential data. For the latest version of Windows 10, the disk capacity must be at least 8 gigabytes.

Option 1. Using Media Creation Tool

The easiest way to create Windows 10 installation media is to use the Media Creation Tool. You can download this tool on our website:

Download Windows 10 Media Creation Tool

How to Create a System Recovery Disk for a Windows 10 PC

Run the downloaded file and accept the license agreement. The program will then ask if you need to update the system or create installation media. We are interested in the second option. In the next step, you need to choose the language, architecture, and edition of Windows 10. The program will automatically apply the settings that correspond to your system, but you can change them if you want.

How to Create a System Recovery Disk for a Windows 10 PC

If you want to create installation media, select the second option on the initial Create Installation Media screen (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) that appears after running the program on your system.

How to Create a System Recovery Disk for a Windows 10 PC

The Media Creation Tool will then ask you to select the media: an ISO file or a USB flash drive. The ISO file allows you to postpone the creation of a boot disk. The option with a USB drive is more suitable for us. Once again, make sure that the capacity of your USB flash drive is at least 8 gigabytes. Then select the flash drive, but remember that all data on it will be deleted.

At this point, the tool will automatically download the latest version of Windows 10 and burn it to the selected drive. This operation will take some time – you need to leave the program open and wait for the process to complete.

Option 2. Using Rufus

Using Media Creation Tool is very simple, but this option is not ideal in all use cases. For example, you don’t have access to the Internet, but you have a USB drive and a ready-made ISO file with the image of the desired version of Windows 10.

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In such cases, a tool such as Rufus is suitable. The software allows you to burn ISO images to a USB drive. The latest versions of Rufus also support downloading some operating systems from the Internet. We’ll look at the option of having a ready-made ISO image created with the Media Creation Tool or obtained elsewhere.

Download the latest version of Rufus from our website and launch it:

Download the latest version of Rufus.

Download Rufus

The program offers many different options, but for most users, a couple of points will suffice. Under Device, select your USB flash drive. As with the Media Creation Tool, remember that all data on the media will be deleted during the startup disk creation process. In the Boot method field, select the Disk or ISO Image (Select Image) option, click SELECT and select the ISO image you want to use (created in the above step). The arrow next to the button allows you to go into boot mode to download your preferred operating system. In our example, we don’t need that.

How to Create a System Recovery Disk for a Windows 10 PC

After selecting the ISO image, the program will apply the default settings. You don’t have to worry about anything – press the START button at the bottom of the window to start the process of creating a bootable flash drive. Once the process is complete, you can use the drive to install your chosen operating system.

Option 3: Create a System Recovery Disk

The System Restore drive contains all the necessary files to start Windows 10 and access recovery tools that will help fix critical errors in Windows 10 or fully restore the operating system to a working state.

If the PC you want to repair is still fully working, you can create a recovery disk using the built-in Windows 10 tools. Some manufacturers, such as Dell and Microsoft, recommend creating recovery disks using this method. In this case, the recovery disk contains not only the operating system but also pre-installed programs. This option is excellent for creating a recovery drive on a brand new computer. This will be your insurance in case after a while there are problems with the computer.

To create a recovery drive, open the Start menu and type Recovery Drive. Select the proposed application of the same name.

How to Create a System Recovery Disk for a Windows 10 PC

As usual, when you create a recovery drive, all the contents on your flash drive will be deleted. This time, the flash drive’s capacity should be at least 16 gigabytes, although the requirements vary depending on the brand of your laptop. Dell, for example, recommends a minimum of 32 GB. If your media meets the requirements, start the recovery disk creation process and wait for it to complete.

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Alternatively, you can go to the Control Panel > System and Security > the Security and Maintenance Center > Recovery > Create a Recovery Disk. On the first screen, select Next, and in the next step, you will need to specify the drive on which the backup will be saved.

Option 4: Solutions from manufacturers

Many PC manufacturers offer tools to create recovery images for your specific device. If you prefer this approach, then there are several options from the most prominent manufacturers.

For Microsoft Surface devices, you can download the recovery drive from the support page. To download an image, you’ll need to select a model for your Surface device and provide a serial number. You can then burn the image to a USB flash drive with at least 16 GB of memory or 8 GB if you’re using Surface RT or Surface 2.

HP offers Cloud Recovery Tool, which can create a recovery image for your specific PC. The app is available for download from the Microsoft Store. HP also provides instructions on how to use this tool. To use the utility, you will need a flash drive with at least 32 GB of memory since recovery images include the installation of Windows and all drivers and pre-installed software.

Lenovo has a similar tool called digital download recovery service. Go to the Lenovo website to request a digital download for your PC. You’ll need a serial number and a Machine Type Model (MTM). You also need to download the Lenovo USB Recovery Creator tool. Download the appropriate version and follow the instructions in the application to download the image and create a recovery disk based on it.

Dell has a similar tool, the Dell OS Recovery Tool. It is available for download on the official website. Download the utility and follow the instructions to create the recovery media. You’ll need to provide a service tag for the device, and you’ll need a flash drive of at least 16GB.

You can also read: How to speed up Windows 10 computer? 10 Best Ways


We’ve covered all the primary methods for creating a System Recovery Disk for a Windows 10 PC. This instruction will help you return a fully functional computer. If you face any issues, please share them below.

And which of the methods do you use? Share in the comments below.


Ruby has been a writer and author for a while, and her content appears all across the tech world, from within ReadWrite, BusinessMagazine, ThriveGlobal, etc.

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