Microsoft

Create a Recovery Drive in Windows 8

Greg Shultz shows you how to create a Recovery Drive in Windows 8 for both a flash drive and an optical disk.

If you haven't done so yet, you need to create a recovery drive for your Windows 8 system. Doing so now will save time and effort, not to mention grief, should you encounter a problem with your Windows 8 installation. A Recovery Drive will allow you to boot your system and easily access a number of recovery and troubleshooting tools that you can use to revive an ailing Windows 8 system.

Unlike its predecessor, Windows 8 allows you to create a Recovery Drive using a USB flash drive, which provides you with new capabilities, such as being able to backup an OEM recovery partition. Of course, you can also create a Recovery Drive on an optical disc - just like you did in Windows 7. While both procedures end up with the exact same Recovery system, they are created from separate user interfaces - the USB Flash drive is created from a new user interface and the optical disc is created from the old System Repair Disc user interface. Why Microsoft didn't unify the process under one roof, I don't know.

This blog post is also available as a TechRepublic Photo Gallery.

In this edition of the Windows Desktop Report, I'll show you how to create a Recovery Drive in Windows 8 using a USB flash drive. I'll also show you how to create a Recovery Drive on an optical disc.

Caveat

Regardless of whether you are creating a Recovery Drive using a USB flash drive or on an optical disc, it is important to remember that a Recovery Drive is bit specific. In other words, if you create a Recovery Drive in a 64-bit version of Windows 8, you can't use that drive to boot up and repair a 32-bit version of Windows 8. Likewise, you can't use a 32-bit Recovery Drive in a 64-bit system.

Using a USB Flash Drive

To begin with, you need to know that the USB flash drive you choose to use will become a dedicated Recovery Drive - you won't be able to use it for anything else. In its base configuration, the contents of the Recovery Drive will require about 256MB of space. However, if you choose to include the OEM recovery partition, you'll need more space. Thus, if you are creating a basic Recovery Drive, you can use a 1GB USB flash drive. (If you have a smaller sized drive, from the old days, you could use it as well.) If you are going to add OEM recovery partition, you'll want at least a 16GB USB flash drive.

To launch the USB flash drive version of the Recovery tool, use the [Windows] + W keystroke to access the Search Settings page, type Recovery Drive in the text box, and click Create a recovery drive, as illustrated in Figure A. You'll then encounter a UAC, as shown in Figure B and will need to click Yes to continue. As you can see in the UAC dialog box, the program name is shown here as Recovery Media Creator.

Figure A

Accessing the Recovery Drive tool from the Start screen is easy.

Figure B

When you launch the Recovery Drive tool, you'll encounter a UAC.
In a moment, you'll see the first screen in the Recovery Drive wizard, as shown in Figure C. If your computer came with an OEM recovery partition, the Copy the recovery partition check box will be enabled allowing you to include the contents of the recovery partition on the recovery USB flash drive. (If you select this option, you'll need a sufficiently large capacity USB flash drive.) To continue, click Next.

Figure C

If your computer came with an OEM recovery partition, the Copy the recovery partition check box will be enabled.
In the next screen of the Recovery Drive wizard, you'll be prompted to select your USB drive. If the drive isn't already connected to your system, you can insert it now. When you do, Windows 8 will rescan the system and display your drive. Now, as you can see in Figure D, since I am only creating a basic Recovery Drive, the wizard informs me that the drive will only need to hold at least 256MB and that everything currently on the drive will be deleted. Remember, this will become a dedicated Recovery Drive. Once you select your USB flash drive, click Next.

Figure D

The USB flash drive you choose to use will become a dedicated Recovery Drive.
In the next screen, as shown in Figure E, you are once again warned that the contents of the drive will be deleted. To continue, click the Create button.

Figure E

You are again warned that everything on the drive will be deleted.
When you do, Windows 8 will format the drive and the begin copying files to the drive, as shown in Figure F. If you are creating a basic Recovery Disk, the process will just take a few minutes. If you are including a recovery partition, go get yourself a cup of coffee - it could take as long as an hour.

Figure F

If you are including a recovery partition, the creation process can take up to an hour to complete.
When the process is complete, Windows 8 will open the drive so that you can see the contents, as shown in Figure G. You can then close the Recovery Drive wizard by clicking the Finish button.

Figure G

When the process is complete, you will see the contents of the drive in file Explorer.
If you included a recovery partition on the USB flash drive, when the process is complete, you'll be prompted to delete the recovery partition from the hard disk to free up space, as shown in Figure H. If you delete the recovery partition, you'll then have to use Disk Management to extend your system partition into the newly freed up space.

Figure H

If you included a recovery partition on the USB flash drive, you'll be prompted to delete the recovery partition from the hard disk.

Keep in mind that, you should only delete the recovery partition if you are really hard up for disk space. The reason that I say that is that without the recovery partition on the hard disk, it is imperative that you not loose or accidentally reformat your USB Flash Disk as it now contains you only copy of the recovery partition. On the flip side, you may want to create a System Image that contains a copy of the recovery partition. I suppose that you could create two USB Flash Disk Recovery disks that include the recovery partition so that you have a backup of your recovery partition.

Using an optical disc

If you want to use an optical disc to create a Recovery Drive, you'll launch the Windows 7 File Recovery tool and use the old System Repair Disc interface. Keep in mind that while you will use this legacy interface, you will indeed end up with the same Windows 8 Recovery system created with the new Recovery Drive wizard.

To launch the optical disc version of the Recovery tool, use the [Windows] + W keystroke to access the Search Settings page, type Windows 7 File in the text box, and click Windows 7 File Recovery, as illustrated in Figure I.

Figure I

Accessing the Windows 7 File Recovery tool from the Start screen is easy.
Now, when you see the Windows 7 File Recovery user interface, select the Create a system repair disc command on the left side of the screen to launch the creation tool. This process is illustrated in Figure J. To start the procedure, click the Create disc button.

Figure J

You'll launch the Create a system repair disc procedure from the Windows 7 File Recovery user interface.
You'll then see the program begin the process of creating the disc. This process is illustrated in Figure K.

Figure K

Creating a Recovery Drive on an optical disc is a relatively quick procedure.

What's your take?

Will you use a USB flash drive to create a Recovery drive? Or will you use an optical disc? Will you backup and remove an OEM recovery partition? As always, if you have comments or information to share about this topic, please take a moment to drop by the TechRepublic Community Forums and let us hear from you.

Also read:

About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

60 comments
akachhawa
akachhawa

Hi Greg,

I recently purchased Acer R7-572, It notified to create a recovery back up. I attempted to do that and it showed i need atleast 16GB of space in USB flash drive. As I did not had the flash drive handy, i did not create the recovery back up. While I shut down, it ran some updates. I was then tying to create the back up it asked me to have 32GB of USB flash drive. I then uninstalled the updates. I have two questions?

1. Is their anyway to reduce the size and get the same requirement of 16GB space in flash drive?

2. As 32GB flash drive would have only 29.8GB of free space, would that be enough as system is asking for atleast 32GB of free space now?

your help is appreciated.

Mariyana11
Mariyana11

Hi Greg, it was very helpful for me. I created a recovery usb drive - without partition - the laptop has not a recovery partition. But it was very fast - about 4 min. Is it normal? when I buy my laptop, the girl in the shop told me it will took 1 hour about ... In fact I wanted to do the following: create a recovery of windows 8 that I can use if/when my laptop has some problem with windows 8.

rhyed
rhyed

hi Greg. I have my samsung ultranote preinstalled with win8 but i need to use ubuntu for my school when i try to install ubuntu using Flash Drive I might change any set up of my laptop. when i try to open my laptop it say that (all boot is try bu could found any and then press f4) when i press f4 it direct me to the recovery mode i try to click recovery but it didn't work i also try to may a factory image etc. but it says that (could not create a boot configuration etc) iam not using ubuntu but i want to bring back my W8..please help me iam getting confuse of what to do not to have my new laptop...thank alot in advance

VidhiM
VidhiM

Hi Greg, I want to create a recovery drive using a USB flash drive in my new W8 laptop (Dell Inspiron 15). Although I receive an error - "We cant create a recovery drive on this PC. Some required files are missing....." just after Figure C.

Can you suggest something to resolve this?

Vince0001
Vince0001

Thanks for sharing your useful articles. It must have been a labour of love on your part. 

I have just bought an Asus Notebook pre loaded with Win 8. .

The 1TB HDD in my Asus Notebook is a mechanical drive. I have a 40 GB spare SSD lying around that I would like to use as the boot drive since there is space for a 2nd HDD in the notebook. I would like to ask how I can go about making the SSD as the OS boot drive without having to purchase another Win 8 license. Is this the correct way; i.e. first create a Recovery Drive on my thumbdrive and to also include the OEM recovery partition. Temporary disconnect the 1TB HDD, boot up using the recovery thumbdrive, then select the option Reset PC to install a fresh OS on the SSD?

dsabet
dsabet

Thanks but still have a question - does this recovery USB flash have all of the drivers?  That's the real pain!

Mitz32
Mitz32

Hi Greg 

So what if you want to back up the recovery partition to an optical disk? Is there any option for that ? Will the system repair disk work if I completely format or change my HDD. Which i dont suppose because it just 256 MB while the OS is almost 20 GB.

Atccscc
Atccscc

Hi Greg:

I bought Dell Inspiron 15R5521  in March this year. However the unit failed to boot / initialize on power up  in June. Dell replaced the motherboard, HD  etc in a hit and run type of service without caring to  restore  the system to  original  level.    Now  the model number indicates as 3521 ,I do not have the GPT file system and also the new HD doesn't have the recovery  partition.  How can I get this recovery data so that I can store it separately in an external HD drive.

natazaika
natazaika

Hi Greg,

I have Toshiba laptop with windows8. After I installed more applications (adobe master collection and Microsoft office) I made recovery DVD-R. Yesterday I complitely erased hard drive and resored it with my DVD. It came out as a factory default setting. What should I do to get back my apps without reinstalling them?

Thank you.

audreysmith
audreysmith

Hi Greg

Thanks for your very informative and helpful article.

I have copies of all of my important data- so - if windows 8 needs restoring- I only need to be able to recover windows 8 from it's original install

I am wondering if the following "obvious" solution to a windows 8 recovery plan would work.

If I copy the recovery image in "D" drive of windows 8 to a CD or external hard drive or anywhere else, will I be able to use this image to restore windows 8 to it's original config?

Thanks for your help

Audrey

recoverasis
recoverasis

Hi Greg, I have created a USB drive as recovery drive and not followed the steps mentioned in the recovery, accidentally my original data on USB is erased. Is there any way I can recovery my old data. Thanks in advance!

bertleen
bertleen

Search any third party software to repair and recover windows drive with out any problem, nice suggestion please try.......! Best Regards Bert Leen www.facebook.com/pages/Windows-Data-Recovery/239926112792542

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...not quite sure that we are on the same page here. When you say [i]You only have one shot at it[/i] you must be talking about HP's built-in system recovery tool, not Windows 8's Recovery Drive tool. If one of your HP Restore discs was damaged, HP should help you to replace it - you shouldn't have to buy a Windows 8 DVD from Microsoft. If HP is refusing to help you, then you should investigate returning the system to HP for maintenance or look into getting it replaced. If it is only 5 weeks old, it should still be covered under warranty. Please post the model number of your HP system. I'm having trouble believing that you can not boot from the DVD.

Biggd4355
Biggd4355

Wether you use a set of DVD's or a flashdrive. You only have one shot at it. I made 4 disks of the restoration ( required ). But one of the disks got damaged. Now Microsoft wants me to purchase the windows 8 operating system. My PC is only 5 weeks old. Plus, on my HP PC you cannot change the boot sequence to boot from dvd rom. Customer support at Microsoft would not tell a HP manager if a second set of restoration discs could be made without paying $100.00. This is flat out wrong and HP was not happy about the runaround. Saying it was probably bait and switch.

magnus717@hotmail.com
magnus717@hotmail.com

Hi! I am trying to format my self built stationary windows 8 OS computer. At first I got the message "Some files are missing. Your Windows installation or recover media will provide these files", where the only option is to cancel. After tips from googling the problem, I use my 4GB USB drive to create a recovery drive with similar, if not exact the same, procedure as the steps provided above. But I get the same message "Some files are missing. Your Windows installation or recover media will provide these files", and I cannot proceed. I had windows 7 on the computer and installed windows 8 via a free online offer for engineering students at my university, so I do not have any purchased physical material available if needed. Formatting should still be easily doable though. Any help is much appreciated!

SaintMark5
SaintMark5

My main boot drive containing Windows 8 has failed. It will occasionally boot into the troubleshooting menu, but if I go to the recovery option, it tells me something about an I/O error. I expect this, as, like I said, the hd is pretty much dead. I have an image from yesterday on another drive on the system, but I have not made a recovery disk. I don't have access to another 64-bit Windows 8 system to make one. Only my Macbook Air. I know there must be a way to download a .iso or .img copy of the recovery disk with which to make my own from OSX, but can't seem to find one. How do I go about this? Another thing: I have yet to receive my new SSD drive in the mail, but it is somewhat smaller than the drive I imaged that failed. The image contained the OS, Program Files, and a lot of media. Basically, if I am able to load the OS and Program Files onto the SSD (which I know it will be big enough for), will I be able to recover the media onto another drive?

vrakeshis
vrakeshis

Hi, Thank you for the detailed and very very useful post. I want to use optical discs. Could you highlight the reason for the nomenclature difference between "Recovery" Disc & "Repair" Disc. Though you have mentioned that the legacy "Repair" disc method does the same thing, but I had confusion whether the "Recovery" Drive Creation (say on USB) is a real recovery akin to a fresh copy from an image snapshot and the "repair disc" is only to boot and fix/repair the existing (problematic/corrupt) Windows-8. Secondly, could you give me an idea, as to how many DVDs could be required for an out-of-the-box laptop that I received with Windows-8 pre-installed ?? Thank you for your valuable posts. Regards, Rakesh

Flaming_Crossbow
Flaming_Crossbow

Hi, Does the create a recovery drive work for making a recovery drive for reinstalling windows 8 after replacing the HDD with an SSD? So if i made a recovery drive while running on the HDD on a preinstalled laptop, and replaced the HDD with an SSD and then booted with the recovery drive to recover windows to the SSD would that all work? If yes, what specifice recovering configuration do i need to set? i do not intend to keep any date so would base configuration be sufficient?

rodion15
rodion15

Shouldn't you mention that you needn't create a system repair disc if you have the Windows 8 install DVD?. And that you needen't create a Windows 8 recovery drive unless you include a system image?. I went ahead and created a repair disc CD-ROM then I later found I could use the Windows 8 DVD and choose the Repair option for the same purpose.

leverseau
leverseau

i dont khow how to do and i want to if nessesery

dorianearl
dorianearl

Thank you so much, this was very helpful for me. I have share some important solution for windows corruption, Kernel for windows data recovery software to recover all over data files from damaged windows 8 partition.

pabloinla
pabloinla

I did as recommended, created a Windows Recovery USB file. No option to copy System files even though I have a system created partition. Used program I have used hundred times, Uniblue PowerSuite, 2013 (UPS2013). UPS2013 ran and updated 2 drivers, asked to restart. On restart, got the Repair screen. Plugged in the USB, it was not recognized. There was no option I did not try given the several choices. One option as a last resort was DOS prompt, cd to a Srt folder. There is no SRT folder, no srtTrail.txt found with dir search. On reinstall, there is no srt folder so whatever that instruction from TechRepublic came from, it's not correct. I had to start from scratch to reinstall Windows 8, which I am still working on all those programs and Mboard drivers. This is really upsetting and time consuming! I have mirrored drives, that did not help. I used EaseUS Toto to create a partition backup of the System and C:\ drives, but I found it would not boot into Windows. Any comments, welcome.

greenpond
greenpond

Win 8 disk management indicates a health recovery partition on my laptop's SSD. Recovery fails to create a USB flash drive disk - "some required files are missing". The copy check box is grayed out. My install was a downloaded Win 8 Pro file using the Install Assistant to upgrade Win 7. Perhaps the recovery partition is still Win 7?

paulrgreenwald
paulrgreenwald

I followed the instructions, inserting an un-needed USB drive (4GB). Ran the utility, un-checking the Copy System Restore Partition. Then ran the Windows 7 File Recovery utility, selecting Create a System Image. Selected the USB drive and got the following message: This drive cannot be used to store a system image because it is not formatted with NTFS. Formatted the drive with NTFS, reran the Recovery Drive utility (which formats the drive before copy the utility files to it) and got the same error in Windows 7 File Recovery utility. What am I missing??

pabloinla
pabloinla

When using instructions here and in the Dialog Box for creating a Windows 8 Recovery Drive, I am not able to copy the recovery partition; the option is greyed out. I have an 8 Gb USB drive so that is not the issue. I tried to assign a drive letter to the System Partition, that did nothing. Any ideas? (I note that there must be a System Partition for the option to appear. However, there is a partition created during install which is only available for system stuff(?) so isn't that the System Partition?) By the way, at Fry's Electronics here 2Apr2013, no drive under 8 Gb is even available, so space for Recovery is not an issue.

csbillings
csbillings

I bought a Dell desktop with Windows 8 installed. I then had to activate it online. I took advantage of Microsoft's upgrade to Windows 8 Pro on sale in January. I then had to reactivate it again. What version is now on the recovery partition? If I make a USB Recovery Drive, will it be the original Windows 8 installed by Dell, or will it be the upgrade version of Windows 8 Pro that I installed? In case of a total hard drive failure, will I have to reactivate both versions all over again? I only wish that Dell would give you the original OEM disks like they did for my last Dell computer. Also, Microsoft to my surprise, did not send me a disk for the upgrade to Windows 8 Pro. When I opened the package I thought the disk was missing at first, until I read the instructions. I just had to enter the upgrade number and it opened the files that were already in the operating system but were hidden and locked. I still prefer disks and am not too happy with Windows 8 although there are some features I like.

wilburlikesmith
wilburlikesmith

You mentioned that you have to give up the flash disk and dedicate it as a Recovery Drive. Wouldn't it be possible to backup and/or zip the contents of the flash disk and when needed copy it back to a flash disk when needed? Or does Windows 8 actually do some funky stuff to the flash disk's file system etc?

rifhickman
rifhickman

it seems you can create a recovery drive only once. tough if you damage or lose it....

PaleRider1861
PaleRider1861

O/T Last week I ordered my daughter a Dell Inspiron 17R laptop, which came preloaded with Windows 8. After removing McAfee software and adding others, I spent about 5 hours hands-on with this machine, and it was, in one word,SUPERB! I cannot speak to the Surface users, but using Windows 8 on this machine (no Touch Screen) was absolutely wonderful. You can read about the experience all you want, but until you've actually used it, you won't see what makes this OS truly cutting-edge technology. This laptop came with a core i3 3227U CPU, 500GB hard drive, 4GB RAM, DVD burner, Wireless, USB3 slots, as well as card readers; true, not the most powerful system, but plenty enough horsepower for her purposes. It was a thing of beauty, and one of these is in my future, now sooner rather than later.

henry
henry

What I do is create 3 partitions on any hard disk and leave say 100 gig for W7 OS and around 80 gigs for the backup of the OS only and create a DATA partition. Hence on a 500 gig drive you get around 300 gigs for data. I then make all the defaults for W7 folders transferred over to the DATA partition. W7 allows this but it is a bit tedious to do. But the benefits are huge as the “OS only” can be backed up using W7 to the 3rd W7_Bkup partition and as there is no data transferred I can then and even “remotely” rebuild a client’s computer for them. Why W8 dropped this wonderful ability that W7 had beggars belief. For some programmes that won’t let you move the files out of C drive I use Syncback Pro to do it for me overnight automatically. It wakes my W7 PC up and does the backups and then goes back to sleep. Slick piece of software is Syncback Pro. I also have a programme that someone in middle America wrote around Ghost 11.5 that will allow me to make a “one file image file” of any W7 build before it goes onsite. A gem of a tool this is, as I can store these image files cheaply to use for a full recovery if needed at any time. Huge time saver. W7 is the best OS I have sampled from Microsoft and W8 does not cut it for me. As one person said on one of these forums it will be something else for an OS for him/her if Microsoft tries to force people to W8. Yep, it could be Linux here I come????? I am pretty impressed by Linux and at 71, I aren’t too old to learn either. If I can finished with QED

crates
crates

Sounds as if there's no real need/reason to create a bootable recovery drive in advance of problems, since it's not system-specific. If/when problems happen, create a recovery drive off of someone else's (same-bit) Windows system and then use it on the computer with problems--yes?

Cmd_Line_Dino
Cmd_Line_Dino

"Who Am I Really" mentions his 3.1 system loads 3.1 in about 12 seconds. Also we have all seen countless folks report how their systems boot in only "n" seconds. Now I certainly prefer faster boot over slower but as long as it's of reasonable speed I don't spend any time fussing over it because I boot so infrequently. I spend my effort making my systems reliable. So reliable that when I put them into suspend I don't worry have I saved all files. Even back when using Windows 3.1 in a large corporate Novell network I once ran my primary workstation for 26 days without a reboot or restart of Windows (no suspend in those days). Today my home desktop is a Win 7 64 ASUS based build that I did. It's right next to where I sit to read and watch TV (always via Tivo). My system is ready 7x24 to in an instant search an issue and do daily reading. It and our excellent 30 Mbit broadband access ... what a powerful tool.

Tiger-Pa
Tiger-Pa

Windows reports that it can't create a recovery drive because some files are missing. I have seen this reported on several forums as well but no solution. My system has a clean install of Win8 Pro - any ideas what's missing?

Darkniss
Darkniss

Thanks for the info! I'm still getting used to Win 8 Pro's app and recovery functionality. I like File History and use an encrypted drive (Bitlocker) to save my data as I add to it. I, too, am looking forward to the results of your experiments. Hopefully, I can use the encrypted drive as for system recovery also.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...Windows 8 DVD, you can boot from it and access the Recovery Drive options. Now as for restoring an image to a smaller SSD, I can't imagine that would work. If you are more interested in recovering your data than in preserving your Windows installation, keep in mind that the System Image on your other drive is stored as a VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) which Windows 8 and mount natively, thus it will be just another drive on your system. So, if you get your new SSD and install Windows 8 on it from scratch, you'll be able to get to all of your data stored on the VHD in the System Image folder on your other drive and copy all of it to wherever you want.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...changed the name of the tool. Both a Recovery Drive and a Repair Disk essentially perform the same function - they allow you to boot your system and easily access a number of recovery and troubleshooting tools. They are [b]not[/b] in and of themselves a backup. For example, a Recovery Drive will allow you to boot your system and run the System Image Recovery operation. However, you must have already created a set of System Image discs beforehand. Likewise, to be able to use System Restore, you or the system will have to have created restore points. This article is the beginning of a series of articles on how to use all features of the Recover Drive. They are all listed below. The number of DVDs required for a image backup will really depend on how much data is on the hard disk.. Could be as few as 3 DVDs or as many as 8 DVDs. Here is the list of articles in the [u]Recovery Drive Series:[/u] [b]Create a Recovery Drive in Windows 8[/b] - I showed you how to create a Recovery Drive in for both a flash drive and an optical disk. http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/window-on-windows/create-a-recovery-drive-in-windows-8/7261 [b]Be ready to use the Windows 8 Recovery Drive[/b] - I showed you how to use the Recovery Drive and exactly what to expect if you should ever need it. http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/window-on-windows/be-ready-to-use-the-windows-8-recovery-drive/7287 [b]How the Windows 8 Automatic Repair feature works[/b] - I showed you how the access and use the Automatic Repair tool from the Recovery Drive. http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/window-on-windows/how-the-windows-8-automatic-repair-feature-works/7335 [b]Refresh your Windows 8 system from a Recovery Drive[/b] - I showed you how to use the default mode of the Refresh your PC tool from the Recovery Drive. http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/window-on-windows/refresh-your-windows-8-system-from-a-recovery-drive/7384 [b]Create a custom recovery image for Windows 8s Refresh your PC tool[/b] - I showed you how to use the Recimg command line tool to create a custom recovery image for the Refresh your PC tool. http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/window-on-windows/create-a-custom-recovery-image-for-windows-8s-refresh-your-pc-tool/7413 [b]Reset your PC from a Windows 8 Recovery Drive[/b] - I showed you how to use the Reset your PC tool from the Recovery Drive. http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/window-on-windows/reset-your-pc-from-a-windows-8-recovery-drive/7438 [b]Restore Windows 8 with System Image Recovery[/b] - I showed you how to create and use System Image Recovery tool from the Recovery Drive to restore your hard disk. http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/window-on-windows/restore-windows-8-with-system-image-recovery/7464 [b]Use the Recovery Drive Command Prompt to edit the registry or recover data[/b] - I showed you how to access the Registry Editor and copy data files from the Recovery Drive's Command Prompt. http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/window-on-windows/use-the-recovery-drive-command-prompt-to-edit-the-registry-or-recover-data/7619

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...Recovery Drive is not a backup in and of itself. Instead, the Recovery drive is merely a tool that will allow you to boot up your system and then perform a recovery operation using other sources. This article is just the beginning of a series of article that show you how to use a Recovery Drive. In your case, you would create a System Image of your HDD and then restore it to the SDD - See the article Restore Windows 8 with System Image Recovery (http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/window-on-windows/restore-windows-8-with-system-image-recovery/7464)

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...laptop with Windows 7 installed and then the OEM recovery partition contains Windows 7. If you have upgraded the system to Windows 8 and want to keep it, then the Windows 7 OEM recovery partition on the hard disk is useless to you... As such, there is no reason to include the OEM recovery partition on your Windows 8 Recovery Drive. Unless, you decide that you want to go back to Windows 7, there is no reason to keep it. If your are technically savvy and so inclined, you could go to Disk Management and delete the Windows 7 OEM recovery partition. Just make sure that you have a backup of your data as well as a System Image of the entire drive. Just in case something goes awry. On the other hand, you can just leave the Windows 7 OEM recovery partition alone and just pretend it isn't there. It will do know harm other than occupy a tiny chunk of the overall hard disk space.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...since the drive is specifically formatted to make it bootable that what you propose would make the disk invalid for use as a Recovery Drive. However, I have not tested this to be sure...

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

... you can create as many Recovery Drives as you wish.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

Tiger-Pa - if you can post the exact error message text, that would be a lot more helpful.

LightenedOne
LightenedOne

@Greg Shultz This will not work if you are using an OEM Product key with the Retail Microsoft Window 8 ISO image. It will only work with a Retail Product key.

magnus717@hotmail.com
magnus717@hotmail.com

... when the downloading starts, it stops right away at 0% and gives the following message: "Download did not complete successfully The download task did not complete. The data is invalid." How could this be solved? I am using an Ethernet cable, and I have plenty of available space, so size or connection cannot be a problem. Furthermore, if I would get it to work, could I use the USB option instead of the disc option? I'd prefer that. I appreciate you taking time to help me, it's very kind of you!

vrakeshis
vrakeshis

Thank you for your guidance through the back-up/recovery/repair/restore series. After reading through all your articles (very beautifully written), I started to use the "Create System Image" of the "Windows 7 File Recovery" on my Windows 8 laptop. But after the screen which flashes the total size that would be required, when I ask it to start the process expecting it to prompt me for the 1st DVD, it flashes the message, - "The back-up failed. The system is not ready. (0x80070015) " . I am trying this on an out-of-the-box laptop with pre-installed Windows 8. Also tried it by disabling the anti-virus, but to no avail. Then I tried to start the process with a 4.7 GB blank DVD already in place. Then it flashed the message "Insert a blank media bigger than 1 GB". Since I expected it take anywhere between 3-8 DVDs as you mentioned above, I kept about 9 DVDs ready. I also inserted a USB pen-drive of 16 GB and tried to create the system image. Again it flashed the same message of insert a blank media greater than 1 GB in F:\ (same drive as USB) -??????? This has me totally puzzled and I would be obliged if you could throw light on this. I am using Windows 8 Single Language. I was able create a repair disc without issues, though. Regards, Rakesh

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...that the download failed because you are either using a computer that is running Windows 8 or you are using a computer that doesn't meet the minimum system requirements. Check the first bullet point on the page - You must perform the download on a system running Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP SP3. In addition, you'll want to pay attention to the bit version of the system you use to perform the download. More specifically, if you want to end up with a 64-bit version of Windows 8, you'll need to perform the download on a system running a 64-bit version of Windows. Likewise, if you want to end up with a 32-bit version of Windows 8, you'll need to perform the download on a system running a 32-bit version of Windows.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...and understanding of how System Image works, I would say that the procedure that you are proposing as your "Requirement," will not work. A system image is an exact copy of the entire hard disk--as such the system image creation procedure will by default include both C and D partitions. Thus, when you perform a system image restore, it will will replace both the C and D partitions. Therefore, in addition to making a system image, you should regularly backup your data on the D partition. Then, in the event of a hard disk disaster, you would perform a System Image Recovery to get your system up and running again. Then you would restore your data.

vrakeshis
vrakeshis

Hi, Thank you for the your nice detailed reply. In reference to my previous post, I wanted to convey that I had used new DVD-R discs (and it didn't work). But even if one of the discs damaged at a later point then we may not be able to restore, so going for an external portable drive is a safer option, I feel. I checked the multiple image possibility on the external portable drive and I am glad to confirm that if we rename the old backup (say by appending 'WindowsImageBackup_Old') then we can have another new image created as 'WindowsImageBackup' residing on the external portable drive. In case we want to use the old one then we have to rename it back to 'WindowsImageBackup' (obviously renaming the new one also). Since I am not able to perform a complete restore yet, I just wanted to know/confirm a couple of things. In my case, I have my Windows 8 OS in C: partition and personal data in D: partition on the laptop hard disk. During system image creation to a portable hard drive, I am presented with a choice of drive selection as below. 1. EFI System Partion -------> selected and grayed out 2. Windows8_OC (C:) (System) -------> selected and grayed out 3. New_Volume (D:) 4. WINRE_DRV(system) -------->selected and grayed out My requirement is that during a system image recovery, I would only want a previous installation image of the OS on C: partition, but the personal data on D: partition should be untouched and safe. Hence, I wanted to confirm two aspects for system image creation and restoration from/on the same disk (i) During system image creation, I should not select D: in this case, isn't it ?? (ii)Thereafter during system restoration, I again wanted to confirm that I should not select format and repartition Thanks in advance, Regards, Rakesh

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...problem you reported yesterday concerning getting the "The back-up failed. The system is not ready. (0x80070015)" error message but never found anything conclusive. Now, seeing that you identified this as being possibly related to faulty DVDs, that would seem to make sense. However, I wonder about your assumption that it was the type of DVD disc i.e. DVD-R. When I made my system images in Windows 8, I used Memorex DVD+R type of discs and had no problems. I have some Sony DVD-R discs, that I will try and see what happens. As to your question about whether personal data can co-exist with multiple versions of system image on an external drive, the answer would be yes. I recently created a system image on an external hard disk that was full of other data... when I did so, the System Image procedure simply created a folder on my external hard disk called WindowsImageBackup and created the image there. All my other data was left untouched. When you perform a restore operation, you just point System Image Restore to the external hard disk and it automatically finds WindowsImageBackup folder, performs the restore operation. Again, all my other data was left untouched. Now, when it comes to storing multiple images on an external hard disk, I have not tried that yet, but I can speculate that either the first image folder would be overwritten or possibly renamed. If it was overwritten, then you would only be able to restore the most recent. If it was renamed, or maybe the second folder was named to something like WindowsImageBackup001, then it might be possible that a System Image Restore operation would prompt you to choose. Again, I am speculating as I have not tried this... Might be a future article...

vrakeshis
vrakeshis

UPDATE:: Hi, While trying to create System image DVDs, using the windows 8 feature, it keeps going into a loop where it keeps asking me insert DVD No1 each time. After wasting 3 DVDs and some more research on the web, I got to know that sometimes this doesn't work on DVD-R discs and it may work in DVD-RW discs only. Rather than be a hostage to faulty/damaged DVDs later, I thought I would use an external portable drive to create the windows 8 system image. Could you please tell me if my personal data can co-exist with multiple versions of system image on my adequately sized portable hard drive?? If yes, can I start off the process on my portable hard drive with my personal data already in place ?? I intend to use the windows 8 tool to create the system image. Also I read from one of your respondents that I can store multiple system images(or versions). Does that mean that during restoration from the system image, will there be provision to actually browse/select the image/version that I want ??? Thanks, Rakesh