USB recovery question please

  sunnystaines 13:46 14 Dec 2014

just need some one to confirm i have my backup plan right please.

in w8.1 followed the recovery via control panel to back up recovery partiton to usb stick, all went ok.

Now in the event of a new hdd being fitted.Do I just plug in usb turn on pc and it will boot straight into reinstal of recovery.

I know if it does not boot to go to bios and look for boot from usb device. Should I be aware of any other tips.Or have I got in right.

No problems at present just getting preparred for the future.

  Jollyjohn 15:44 14 Dec 2014

In theory , yes, but there may be a specific key F? that will prompt the recovery process. See your PC manual for this info.

I would ensure you have personal info backed up / copied elsewhere as the recovery will be back to the point at which you created the usb disk and will only recover the OS and installed software.

  [DELETED] 16:36 14 Dec 2014

You've made a good start! A decent backup 'strategy' involves a bit more work though.

Backups are no good if they don't work or you don't know what to do. They should be tested up to the point where proceeding would actually start overwriting things.


There are usually 2 ways to boot a computer from another connected drive.

1- Automatically with the BIOS previously set to the correct Boot Priority options.

Usually the order is

1 CD/DVD/ODD (if fitted)
4 LAN or Network
Make sure you have those settings.

Pressing or repeatedly tapping a certain key will take you to a Boot Menu allowing options without going into BIOS.

Make a note of the keys that do special things at boot up. (Usually Esc and Fxx keys)

Make sure your 16GB USB key does actually boot.


Single backups can also be lost or corrupted.

USB keys aren't particularly reliable. If it sits in a drawer, there is no guarantee it will work in the future.

Make another or a set of Recovery DVDs, instead, if allowed.


Restoring to Dec 2014 Factory settings isn't very helpful anyway (unless you want to sell the machine or want a very clean re-install or no other backups are available)

A much better idea is to create a System Image Backup.

click here

An Image is a snapshot of the whole system at the time you made it. So you can make them regularly.

They can be restored and completely overwrite your existing HDD or to a new HDD if the old one fails.

This is usually preferable to a Factory restore because all your data and apps are preserved to a recent date.

To make regular Images, an external USB HDD is required because they are very large Image files.

(One Image can be made to a set of DVDs on a new clean, system. It will fit on 3 or 4 DVDs)

  [DELETED] 16:59 14 Dec 2014

System Images can also be useful to rebuild Virus or other unexpected Windows damage, where a day to day System Restore or Refresh doesn't work or would take too many scans and fixes to sort out the computer.

But the day to day Restore and Refresh options are always a first point of call with any problem.

Make sure System Restore is turned on and know the difference between these options and restoring a System Image or Factory Recovery.

click here

Extra Restore Points can be made when you are installing new apps or messing with settings.

Restoring a Restore Point is easier and quicker than restoring a System Image.

  sunnystaines 18:56 14 Dec 2014

Thanks everyone for the advice and tips

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 19:30 14 Dec 2014

I use the free Macrium reflect to make the drive images and the boot CD. to restore them if the main drive fails.

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