If you bought a computer a few years ago with
Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7, it probably came with a recovery CD, that let you fix
any problems or if all else failed, factory reset the computer. These days, it’s rare
to find a Windows 10 computer that even has a CD tray, and manufacturers don’t include
any recovery tools other than what you get with Windows.
That’s why it’s really important to make a recovery drive like this, just in case anything
goes wrong with your computer. In this video, I’m going to show you how
easy it is to make a recovery drive. I’ll show you what kind of memory stick you need
to buy, and I’ll show you how to use the recovery drive if your computer ever stops
working. If anything goes wrong with your Windows 10
computer, it has a built-in set of tools that you can use to repair it.
This actually came in really useful for me the other day. I was given a computer that
had tried to install a big Windows 10 update. The update failed part way through, and the
client was left with a computer that wouldn’t start up Windows.
Fortunately, Automatic Repair kicked in – after a couple of failed attempts to fix itself,
the computer took us straight to the Troubleshooting tools. We were able to take the computer back
to a previous version of Windows, and the computer started fine after that.
But it’s possible for Windows to break so badly that you can’t even load Advanced
Startup. Usually this happens when the hard drive fails and we need to put a new hard
drive into the computer. The new hard drive is completely blank, and so we need to install
Windows 10, and that’s when we need the recovery drive.
THE MEMORY STICK A recovery drive is just a normal USB memory
stick containing all the tools you need to fix Windows when it won’t start. And ideally
it contains a copy of Windows 10, so you can reinstall the operating system if all else
fails. Now you’re going to need a memory stick
that’s got enough capacity for everything that’s needed to repair your computer. I
can’t give you an exact figure on this, because each computer is different. But when
I made my recovery drive, it took up 6.5 gigabytes on the memory stick, but I have seen other
computers use much more. So, I would recommend buying a 16 gigabyte
memory stick, and you should be safe. I’d also recommend buying a decent brand like
SanDisk, Integral or Kingston. Your memory stick could be sitting around for a long time
before it’s ever used, but when the time comes for a recovery drive you’ll need to
rely on it, so I’d definitely recommend buying a decent brand.
MAKING THE RECOVERY DRIVE Once you’ve got the memory stick, your Windows
10 computer has everything built in that you’ll need to make the recovery drive.
Plug in the memory stick, and if anything appears on the screen, you can ignore it.
We need to open the Control Panel, so click on the Start Menu. Then type in Control, and
click on the Control Panel. When the Control Panel opens, this control
‘View By’ might be on Category. We want it to say Large icons, so change it to Large
icons if it isn’t already. Then click on Recovery.
Then click Create a Recovery Drive. Now we can follow these steps. You’ll see
a check box to Back up system files to the recovery drive. Make sure this is ticked.
Then click Next. After a short wait, you’ll be asked to select
your memory stick. Make sure you choose the correct drive.
Then click Next, and read the next page carefully, because if there’s anything on your memory
stick at the moment, it will be deleted. If you’re ready, click Create.
At this point, you’re in for a long wait. For me, this part took an hour and a half.
Once the recovery drive has been made, you can click Safely Remove, and Eject the memory
stick. Make sure you label the memory stick as the Recovery Drive for this computer, and
keep it somewhere safe. USING THE RECOVERY DRIVE
Now fast forward to the hopefully distant future, where you turn on your computer and
it doesn’t start. How do we use the recovery drive to save the day?
What happens next varies between different computers. On some machines, it could be as
simple as plugging the recovery drive into the nearest USB slot, switching on, and waiting
for the blue screen of the Recovery Drive to appear.
On other machines, you have to take a few extra steps to tell the computer that you
want to boot up from the USB drive. Many computers have a startup key to bring
up the boot menu, where you can choose to boot from either the USB drive, cd drive,
or the hard drive. Some computers even show this information very briefly when you switch
them on. It’s usually the Escape key or F12. Try searching for your computer model
on Google to find out the boot key. On my computer, I switch on, then press Escape
a couple of times. A startup menu appears, and I need to press F9 to select my Boot Device.
I then get a list, and I can move between the options by pressing my up and down arrow
keys. I want to boot to my USB hard drive, then I press Enter.
Now that the screen has gone blue, everything we see is coming from the recovery drive.
We want to select the keyboard layout, then go to Troubleshoot.
The first option we see is to recover from a drive. This would get your computer working
like new again, but it says it will remove all your files and apps, so it’s definitely
a last resort. Let’s go into Advanced options. We’ve
got a few things we can try here. First, we can Go back to the previous version.
If you think Windows 10 stopped working after it tried to install a big feature update,
This tool attempts to roll back the update. If that fails, you can try Start-up Repair,
which looks for anything specific that might stop Windows from loading.
Or, you could try System Restore, which can turn your computer back to how it was working
the last time a restore point was made. Restore points are usually made automatically, every
time you install something or receive an update. If you’ve made a certain kind of backup,
called a System Image, you can recover this backup using System Image Recovery.
I’ve made a video here explaining how to make a System Image, so if you like the idea
of making a copy of your computer’s hard drive and keeping it safe with your recovery
drive, you should give it a watch. Next up, if you really know what you’re
doing, you might be able to use Command Prompt to diagnose and fix the problem.
Whatever you end up trying, make sure you understand what will happen before you try
one of these tools. The most useful tool is likely to be Recover from a drive, because
it will get your computer working like new again. But using this tool will wipe your
computer clean, so you should only use it if you know you have a recent backup.
Hopefully after watching this video you’ve learned how to make a recovery drive, and
you know what to expect should you ever need to use it. In the meantime, keep your new
recovery drive somewhere safe, and keep backing up your data on a regular basis. You can watch
my video here to find out how to backup your Windows 10 Computer.
Please let me know in the comments below this video how you got on with making the recovery
drive, and please give it the thumbs up if you found it helpful.
And if you’d like to see more videos from me in future, it would be really helpful if
you could click the red Subscribe button. Thanks for watching.