[Windows 10 Tip #10] - Make a System Recovery Drive, NOW
When is the best time to prepare for a disaster? When everything's going just fine, of course. Unfortunately, many people don’t take the time to create a System Recovery Drive for their Windows 10 systems until AFTER they really need it. Here are the steps to make a bootable USB recovery drive; I hope you will follow them right now, if you haven’t done so already...
How to Create a Win 10 System Recovery Drive
What causes a corrupted installation of Windows? Malware, a software glitch, human error, or maybe cosmic rays. The point is to be prepared, in case it does happen. Let's walk through the process of creating a System Recovery Drive that will help you get back to good.
[See more helpful articles in my Windows 10 Tips series: Click Here.]
There are several pathways to Windows 10. You might have upgraded from Windows 7 or 8. You might have done a "clean install" on a formatted hard drive. Or you might have purchased a new PC with Windows 10 pre-installed. I mention this as a preamble to creating a Windows 10 system recovery drive, because if you ever need to re-install, there's a chance you'll need to enter a product key to (re)activate Windows.
Your Windows Product Key is a 25-character text string that used to appear on a holographic sticker attached to your setup CD, or the PC’s chassis. Windows 10 PCs don’t come with that Certificate of Authenticity. Instead, the Product Key is (usually) embedded in the computer’s BIOS. Every time you re-install Windows 10, the key is read from the BIOS and activation is automatic. But just in case, you should find your Product Key and store it in another, safe place.
FINDING YOUR PRODUCT KEY - Open PowerShell by entering “powershell” in the Start menu’s search box and clicking on the app that appears in the search results. When you see a command line prompt - typically PS C:\Users\(username)> - copy and paste the command below onto the command line. (Copy it exactly, including all the parentheses and punctuation.)
(Get-WmiObject -query 'select * from SoftwareLicensingService').OA3xOriginalProductKey
When you see the 25-character key, highlight and copy it from Powershell to some safe storage place. I simply emailed mine to myself with the subject line, “Windows 10 Product Key.” If I ever need it, a quick search of my email will find it.
CREATING A RECOVERY DRIVE
Booting from a recovery USB drive allows you to perform basic troubleshooting and repairs, and to use Windows’ automatic troubleshooter utility. If you include the Windows 10 system files on your recovery drive, you can boot from that drive and re-install Windows 10 if necessary.
A basic recovery drive needs only 512 MB of space, but if you plan to copy the system files to the recovery drive it should have at least 16 GB of total space. The USB drive will be formatted during creation of the recovery drive, so move any data you wish to preserve.
Enter “Create a recovery drive” in the Search box to find the shortcut that leads to the Recovery Media Creator tool. When the tool starts, the option “Back up system files to the recovery drive” will be checked. Uncheck it if you want just a basic recovery drive. Then insert a USB drive in a port and click Next in the tool’s window. Follow the prompts and soon you will have a recovery drive.
If you don't have an OEM (vendor-supplied) recovery partition, you can add Windows 10 installation files to the recovery drive by downloading the Windows 10 Media Creation tool, using it to create an ISO file, double-clicking to mount the ISO file in Explorer, and then dragging the complete contents of the mounted drive to your recovery drive.
You won’t miss your recovery drive until it’s desperately needed, and then it will be too late. So take the time to make one while you don’t need it. If your Windows 10 system somehow gets borked, insert your recovery drive, reboot your computer, and follow the prompts to recover.
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 11 Aug 2017
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- [Windows 10 Tip #10] - Make a System Recovery Drive, NOW (Posted: 11 Aug 2017)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved