It’s always Tech Advisor-able to make backups of your personal files and folder, however it’s always useful to create a backup of your operating system in case anything goes catastrophically wrong.
Through Windows 8 and 10 you’ll be able to create a recovery drive or repair disc, which will allow you to restore your Windows operating system to a working state with ease.
As a word of warning: both methods are made for their respective computing architectures, meaning a 64-bit backup cannot be used on a 32-bit restore and vice versa.
Read next: Windows 10 review.
For the following steps you’ll need the following:
- For a recovery drive: A spare 1 or 8GB (depending on your backup) USB flash drive which can be found for under £5
- For a repair disc: A CD/DVD disk drive and spare disc
- A working Windows operating system which you wish to backup
- 10-20 minutes of your time
Read next: How to upgrade to Windows 10.
How to make media recovery for Windows 10 or 8: How to create a USB recovery drive
On both Windows 8 and 10 it’s extremely simple to create a USB recovery drive. On both operating systems, simply search for ‘Recovery Drive’ within the start menu or metro interface and open the first option. Alternatively you’ll find it under Control panel > Recovery > Create a recovery drive.
Upon launching the recovery drive tool, you’ll be presented with the option of having your system files also backed up. A full system file recovery drive will allow you to reinstall your operating system. The major difference here is that you’ll need 8GB USB drive for a system file recovery as opposed to a much smaller 512mb drive for the regular back up.
Once you proceed you’ll be presented with a list of available devices – be sure to select the right one as the recovery drive will be fully formatted before being transformed into a bootable drive.
After continuing with the on-screen prompts Windows will prepare and then create the recovery drive for you, which normally takes around 10-20 minutes for the whole process to complete.
You’ll now see the USB flash drive appear as ‘RECOVERY’ within your file explorer.
Read next: Best portable hard drives 2016.
How to make media recovery for Windows 10 or 8: How to create a repair disc
If you’re on Windows 7 or prefer to use a disc rather than a flash drive on Windows 8 and 10, then you can create yourself a repair disc. Within Windows 7 you’ll need to search for ‘System Repair Disc’, whilst in Windows 8 and 10 you need to search for ‘Back up and Restore (Windows 7)’ and then click on ‘Create a system repair disc’.
Once you’ve got the prompt to create a CD/DVD, insert your disc and click on ‘Create disc’. Once the process is complete you’ll be presented with a prompt to rename your disc with a label.
Read next: Should I upgrade to Windows 10?
How to make media recovery for Windows 10 or 8: How to use a recovery drive or disc
If you are every unlucky and have trouble booting into Windows, you’ll need to use your recovery drive or disc by booting directly to it. You can do this directly through the BIOS (see our guide on how to enter the BIOS) or wait for Windows 8 or 10 to automatically bring up the advanced startup menu. Through the advanced startup menu, you’ll need to navigate to Troubleshoot > Recover from a drive.
Once you’ve launched the process, Windows will attempt to recover your previously working and backed up operating system. If this also fails, you might need to refresh or reset your PC – read our full guide here: How to format a hard drive in Windows Vista, 7, 8 or 10.