Are you wondering how to preserve your Windows 10 for the long haul? We get it. Holding on to something you’ve worked hard to achieve means being smart about protecting it. Not only that, preparing for the unexpected can feel daunting but it’s not so difficult in Windows 10.

Luckily, Microsoft has always developed some or the other recovery tools that can help you fix problems with your PC, even if it won’t start. The options for system recovery and making recovery disks in Windows 10 are a little different than in previous versions of Windows. Though Microsoft will provide some backup media for persons who might be on a slow connection, creating a recovery drive and a system image is advisable to easily restore if Windows does not boot or becomes corrupt or hardware failure. Even for persons who might be able to perform the upgrade using Windows Update, these are good options when the time comes to perform a re-installation.

Getting Into the Details

There are various boot options that you can use to start Windows in different advanced troubleshooting modes to help you find and fix problems on your computer system. This article lays out ways in which you can preserve your investment by creating a system image and a recovery drive which you can use to easily restore if Windows does not boot or becomes corrupt or hardware failure.

A system image is an exact replica of a drive. This means that with a full system image backup on standby, you’ll always be able to get your computer back to exactly the way it was—no matter what critical hardware failure caused a problem.

A system image also includes Windows and your system settings, programs, and files. You can use a system image for restoration of the contents of your computer if your hard disk or computer ever stops working. When you restore your computer from a system image, it has to be a complete refurbishment, i.e., you can’t choose individual items to restore, and all of your programs currently installed in the system, system settings, and data files are replaced with that of the system image.

Creating a System Image Backup in Windows 10

Before you start the process of creating a system image backup, you need to arrange a place to store the image. It is preferably advised that you should either have an external hard drive with plenty of storage space attached to your computer directly or over a network, a large enough USB thumb drive or memory card, or a set of blank DVDs and a disc drive that is capable of burning or writing media.

Sometimes people re-partition their internal hard drive to create the storage space needed for a system image backup. This is generally not advisable as the system image will be stored on the same physical hard drive as your Windows installation, which eventually means that if the hard drive fails to function, you have a chance to lose both your Windows installation and your system image backup.

Refer to the following steps to start creating System Image of Windows 10:

  1. Click on the Start button.
  2. Type “File History” and select the option.1_File History
  3. Click on the System Image Backup button in the bottom-left corner.
  4. On the next page, select the option Create a system image.2_System Image
  5. Now, you have to enter where you’d like to save your system image, and the options could be hard disk, DVD, or network location. Select the storage location for your system image by using the drop-down menu to select your preferred drive.3_Select Drive
  6. On the next window, review your selection and click Start backup. Depending on how many files and drives you have selected, the backup process may take a few minutes to a couple of hours.4_Start backup

When the backup process is completed, you’ll be asked if you’d like to create a system repair disc. This part is optional, and you can skip this step if you like. However, it is recommended to do so if you don’t have a physical copy of Windows 10 for repair or re-installation.

Creating a Recovery Drive in Windows 10

Your PC might have come with a recovery image that’s used to repair or reinstall Windows 10 on your PC. The recovery image is stored on a dedicated recovery partition on your system, and is typically 4-8 GB in size. To save space on your PC, you can delete the recovery image from your PC and use a recovery drive instead. Windows 10 includes a built-in tool to create a USB recovery drive. Windows will let you know how big the recovery partition is, and you’ll need a USB flash drive at least that big.

Windows 10 Recovery Drive (unlike System Repair Disc) allows using the “Recover from a drive” feature that removes everything and performs a clean install of Windows 10 according to the settings stored on the removable drive to get the pristine state of the system.

The Steps to Preserve your Windows 10

Before you begin the process of creating a recovery drive, you need a thumb drive of or more than 4 GB or a DVD of an equivalent or more space. You can also use an external hard drive to create recovery drive.

  1. Click on the Start button.
  2. Type “Create a recovery drive” and select the option.5_Type recovery
  3. Click on the System Image Backup button in the bottom-left corner.
    (Make sure your USB drive is connected to the system)
  4. In the Recovery drive window, click Next.6_Create recovery
  5. Wait while the wizard prepares to copy files to your USB drive. Click Next.7_Select USB drive
  6. Everything on the drive will be deleted once you click on Create.8_Create
  7. The drive formatting and file copying process might take several minutes, depending on the speed of your USB drive and the data being copied. Once done, click on Finish.9_Finish

Now, test to make sure if your device is able to boot from the Recovery Drive really. Some older USB drives do not support the “boot from the drive” feature. If this is the case, create Recovery Drive on a newer stick and re-test.

How Will You Preserve your Windows 10?

These recovery options allow you to boot your system and easily access a number of recovery and troubleshooting tools that you can use to revive an ailing Windows 10 system.