How to create a USB recovery flash drive for Windows 10

Recovery drives are an essential tool when you run into problems with Windows 10 because they can help you repair your malfunctioning PC or device. However, you must first know how to create one for yourself. The app that can help you fix a damaged Windows 10 system is called Recovery Media Creator. In this tutorial, we show you how to use the Recovery Media Creator to create a recovery drive for Windows 10, on a USB memory stick or an external hard drive:

Before moving forward, read this:

This tutorial helps you with fixing Windows 10 computers and devices. To create a recovery drive in Window 8 or 8.1 see here, and for Windows 7 see here. You can create a recovery drive on the same computer on which you intend to use it, or on a different one. You should use Windows 10, and the same type of CPU architecture on the system where you create the recovery drive, and the one where you use that drive: 32-bit or 64-bit. If you need help to determine the type of system that you have, read: What version, edition and type of Windows 10 do I have installed? We encourage you to do this as a precautionary measure before you encounter problems that require a recovery drive to fix.

1. Start the Recovery Media Creator in Windows 10

The first thing you need to do is plug in the USB memory stick or external hard drive which you want to turn into a recovery drive. Once Windows 10 has detected it correctly, go to the search box near the Start button, and type “recovery.” In the list of results, click or tap “Create a recovery drive.

Search for Recovery in Windows 10

Another way to start the Recovery Media Creator is from the Settings app. The fastest way to open Settings is to press the WIN + I keys on your keyboard, but there are also other ways to open Settings. In the Settings window, type recovery in the search box on the top and click or tap “Create a recovery drive.

Search for Recovery in Windows 10 Settings

You can also start the Recovery Media Creator from the Control Panel. Open Control Panel in icons view and click or tap Recovery. You should see three recovery tools, from which you must choose “Create a recovery drive.

The Create a recovery drive link from the Control Panel

A UAC (User Account Control) prompt appears, asking if you allow Recovery Media Creator to make changes to your computer.

UAC prompt to approve Recovery Media Creator

Click or tap Yes to start Recovery Media Creator.

2. Create a Windows 10 Recovery Drive

The Recovery Media Creator tells you that “Even if your PC can’t start, you can use a recovery drive to reset it or troubleshoot problems. If you back up system files to this drive, you’ll also be able to use it to reinstall Windows.”

You see a checkbox that says “Backup system files to the recovery drive.” If you enable the checkbox, the recovery drive gives you the option later, during recovery, to install Windows 10 if the system files are damaged. If you deselect the system files check box, the recovery system needs less space, and you can use smaller flash drives. For Windows 10 32-bit you need to have a recovery drive with at least 4GB of space and, for 64-bit, you need a minimum of 8GB. Choose the option you want and click or tap Next.

The first screen of Recovery Media Creator

You are asked to select a USB flash drive (or external hard disk) that has a minimum storage space that varies depending on what you chose earlier. In our case, it asked for minimum 8 GB of space.

Make sure that you do not have any data left on the drive because it is going to be erased in the process. Select the drive on which you want the recovery tools to be saved, and click or tap Next.

Select the drive to use for recovery in Windows 10

You receive a warning message that everything on the drive is going to be erased. This is your last chance to save the data on it. When you are ready to start the process, click or tap Create.

Start the creation of the recovery drive in Windows 10

Now the drive is formatted, and the system recovery tools are copied on it. This process could take up to 10-15 minutes if you are also copying Windows 10 system files. This also depends on the speed of your recovery drive. We recommend that you use a fast USB 3 flash drive or external hard disk. It makes the process faster.

Creating the recovery drive in Windows 10

When the recovery drive is created, you are informed about it. Click or tap Finish, and that’s it.

The recovery drive is ready in Windows 10

You now have a recovery drive which can get you out of trouble if Windows 10 decides not to listen to you anymore.


Recovery Media Creator is a handy tool for creating recovery media. The only regrettable part is that it is kept hidden in Windows 10 and not many users know of it. Share your experiences with creating recovery drives in Windows 10, by leaving a comment below.