How to Create a Recovery Disk for Windows 10

A recovery disk allows you to restore or reinstall Windows 10 when your computer experiences serious errors or fails to start up properly. Having a recovery disk can save you time, money, and frustration down the road if you ever need to revive your PC.

This article provides step-by-step instructions on creating a recovery disk in Windows 10, using either a USB flash drive or DVD.

Why You Need a Windows 10 Recovery Disk

A Windows 10 recovery disk contains the installation files and tools required to recover, refresh, or reset your PC. It lets you access the Windows Recovery Environment, which includes various troubleshooting and system restore options.

Here are some key reasons why a recovery disk is useful:

  • Fix boot issues: If Windows 10 fails to boot up properly, you can boot from the recovery disk and use the Startup Repair tool to automatically diagnose and fix boot configuration problems.
  • Reinstall Windows: You can choose to keep your files or remove them and reinstall a fresh copy of Windows 10 from the recovery disk. This is useful if Windows becomes corrupted.
  • System restore: The recovery disk provides access to System Restore, allowing you to roll back system files, settings, and programs to an earlier restore point.
  • Wipe your PC: Using the recovery disk, you have the option to reset your PC back to factory default settings, handy if you want to recycle, sell, or give away your computer.

In summary, a recovery disk gives you the flexibility to revive your PC and recover from serious Windows problems without needing to buy Windows 10 again or pay for professional IT assistance.

Creating a Windows 10 Recovery Drive on a USB

Here are the steps to create a recovery drive on a USB flash drive:

1. Insert a USB Flash Drive

  • Insert a blank USB flash drive that is at least 16GB in size. All existing data on the drive will be deleted.

2. Type “Create a Recovery Drive”

  • In the Windows search box, type “Create a recovery drive” and press Enter.

3. Launch the Recovery Drive Tool

  • The Create a recovery drive window will open. Click Yes on the User Account Control prompt.

4. Back Up System Files (Optional)

  • Check the box to “Back up system files to the recovery drive” if you want the ability to reinstall Windows 10 later. This requires more drive space.

5. Select USB Drive

  • Select your inserted USB drive and click Next.

6. Confirm and Create

  • Confirm that existing data on the drive will be deleted. Click Create to start building the recovery drive. This may take a while.

7. Finish and Label

  • When done, click Finish, safely eject the USB drive, and clearly label it as your Windows 10 recovery drive. Store it in a safe place for future use.

Follow these steps carefully when creating your recovery drive. Avoid disconnecting the USB flash drive early or you may corrupt the recovery partition being created.

Creating a Recovery Disk on DVD

If you prefer, you can create a recovery disk on DVD rather than USB. Here is the process:

1. Insert Blank DVD

  • Place a blank DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW or DVD+RW disc into your PC’s DVD drive.

2. Open Backup and Restore

  • Go to Control Panel > System and Maintenance > Backup and Restore.

3. Click “Create a System Repair Disc”

  • On the left pane, click “Create a system repair disc”.

4. Select DVD Drive

  • Choose your DVD drive from the drop-down list and insert a disc if prompted.

5. Create Disc

  • Click the Create Disc button. This burns the recovery files and tools to your disc.

6. Finish and Label

  • When done, close the window, eject and clearly label your Windows 10 system repair disc.

The recovery DVD allows you to access the same recovery options but lacks the ability to reinstall Windows 10 like the USB drive method. However, it’s a suitable backup option if your PC doesn’t support booting from USB drives.

Using the Windows 10 Recovery Disk

If Windows 10 fails to start up properly in the future, here is how to use your recovery disk:

  1. Insert the recovery drive and restart your PC.
  2. Press the boot menu key to boot from the recovery drive instead of your hard drive. Refer to your PC’s manual for the correct key.
  3. Choose your keyboard input language and click Next.
  4. Select “Troubleshoot” followed by “Recover from a drive” to reinstall Windows 10 from the recovery drive.

Be patient as this process will take some time. Ensure you’ve backed up any personal files separately as they will be deleted.


Creating a recovery disk in Windows 10 is simple and offers peace of mind in case you ever need to revive your PC from serious system errors or failure to boot.

Follow the step-by-step instructions to create your recovery drive on either USB or DVD. Store it safely after creation and use it to restore, refresh, or reinstall Windows if you experience major computer issues down the track.

Having a recovery backup on hand can save you time, money and frustration compared to paying for professional computer repair or buying Windows again.