Windows 8 USB Recovery Drive How-To

  • Sumo

First, a quick apology for being off the air for so long. We had some bad weather, as you may recall, and despite my boasting early on about how all of our customers had no problems… well, I guess I spoke too soon.

I should have said all of our “good” customers. You know, the ones that take our advice about the gaping holes in their infrastructure.

We had one who didn’t take our advice and instead took up quite a bit of our time the last couple weeks, but that’s a story for another time… perhaps.

For now, how about a tip?

My PC won’t boot!

As an IT Services provider offering technical support to small and medium businesses I have heard this phrase hundreds, if not thousands of times over my career.

Almost always it’s something that can be fixed in short order and without much fanfare, but on occasion we come across a real “dickens” – see me getting in the Christmas mood? – of a situation where the best solution is to reload the operating system and applications.

Of course, this can present some problems as well. Like finding the installation media and activation keys.

There are a couple ways to make this process a lot easier and today I’ll talk about the FREE way to do it in Windows 8.

Bootable Windows 8 USB Recovery Drive

Start by opening the Control Panel and click on Recovery.

Windows 8 Control Panel Recovery

Then click on Create a Recovery Drive.

Windows 8 Advanced Recovery

The Recovery Wizard will start.

If your computer already has a built-in recovery partition, you’ll have the option to copy of the contents of the partition to your USB flash drive. If you don’t have a recovery partition, it will just be grayed out.

Windows 8 Create Recovery Drive

Now click Next and the Wizard will search for all available drives that you can use for the recovery drive.

Choose your flash drive and click Next.

Windows 8 Flash Recovery Drive

The Wizard will warn you that everything on the drive will be deleted, so make sure to backup anything on the flash drive you may need later.

Windows 8 Create Recovery Drive Warning

Click the Create button to start the process. Windows will copy the appropriate files to the flash drive.

Windows 8 Copying Revoery Files to Flash

In a few minutes the Wizard will complete and you will have a bootable USB drive that you can use in case your copy of Windows 8 decides to be stubborn and not boot.

You’ll just need to plug the USB drive into the PC and choose to boot from “USB”. See your computer’s user manual for specific instructions on booting to USB.

Make sure you keep this drive is a safe place that you can access in your time of need.

Have questions or comments on this procedure? let me know in the comments section.

If you’d like to discuss recovery methods for your business please give us a call at 866-753-6279 or email us.

I play with computers for a living and I'm from New Jersey. Jealous?

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6 comments on “Windows 8 USB Recovery Drive How-To
  1. alphaOri says:

    I have a recovery partition on my TPT2 but the option to copy it over to my USB is still greyed out. The recovery partition is 7.09GB. Why is the option greyed out if the recovery partition exists? Is there a way to get windows to recognize the partition as a recovery partition?

    • Good question. Without examining the device it’s hard to say. Your best bet would be to check with Lenovo support as this may be either a known issue or a design feature.

      That said, does the tablet recognize the USB drive? Can you read and write to it?

      Have you tried the Lenovo recovery software?

      Something else to consider is whether or not the tablet is boot locked. By that I mean that there is a restriction on what devices it can boot from. If it can’t boot from USB then that may explain why you can’t copy the recovery image to it.

      Hope that helps.

  2. Becky Muchow says:

    If I create a recovery partition right on my computer, do I need to create a separate external disk or USB drive? I know a recovery partition on my computer will probably use a lot of space, but I don’t believe I will ever have much to store on this laptop in the first place.

    • Becky, the short answer is yes. Hopefully you’ll never have to use it, but there exists the possibility that your recovery partition might not be available. In such a case having a USB drive will save your bacon.

      Thanks for the question.

  3. Wayne in Indy says:

    After visiting 5 different websites, trying exotic tricks, reading nonsense answers, and getting totally frustrated, I found your instructions simple and they worked. I did find some directions in Windows HELP on how to check for, and create if necessary, a recovery file for Windows 8 that feeds this create USB recovery process. This got rid of the grayed out “copy from PC” box that many people have experienced.

    Many Thanks.

  4. Wayne, glad to help. Sorry for the delayed response but as you can see I haven’t updated this in a while. In truth I have not just been too busy but I am also working on integrating this blog into our new site.

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