Apart from the new Start screen and UI changes, Windows 8 also includes some powerful and useful features under the hood. File history, Hyper-V, fast startup (hybrid boot), Refresh PC, and Reset PC are some of the best features of Windows 8.
Refresh PC feature is very useful to troubleshot and fix various Windows related issues without loosing personal files and apps. One can launch the Refresh PC from PC Settings. But what if your PC fails to boot and you don’t have your Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 installation media with you? A new feature in Windows 8/8.1 lets you create a recovery drive so that you can access troubleshooting tools and fix issues without booting into Windows.
When you boot using the recovery disk you will have options to refresh your PC, reset your PC, restore your PC using a previously created system restore point, recover Windows using a specific system image file, and automatically fix startup issues using the automatic repair option. Besides, one can also perform advanced troubleshooting using the Command Prompt.
Create a recovery USB drive in Windows 8/8.1
Step 1: Connect a USB drive to your PC and backup all data before proceeding to the next step as the drive will be erased during the process.
Step 2: Switch to desktop mode. Press Windows + R keys to launch Run dialog. In the dialog type control.exe and then press enter key to launch the Control Panel.
Step 3: Here, change View by to Small Icons to view all tools and options. Click on Recovery to launch Recovery window.
Step 4: Next, click on Create a recovery drive option. Click Yes for the User Account Control prompt to launch Create a recovery drive wizard. If you are asked to enter the admin password, please do so.
Step 5: Click Next button, the wizard will scan your PC for all connected USB drives.
Step 6: In the following screen, select the USB drive that you wish to use as recovery drive and then click Next button, and finally click Create button. Windows will transfer required files onto the drive and your recovery drive should be ready in a few minutes. Good luck!
In order to boot from the recovery drive, you need to enable USB booting in BIOS. Please note that recovery drive can’t be used to install Windows 8.
You might also like to know how to reset or refresh Windows 8 without the installation media.