Windows 8 (8.1) – How to Create a Recovery Disc/Drive/ Partition

Windows 8, Windows 8.1

Recovery Drive, as described by the name, allows us to recover a fading operating system. The tool was introduced in Windows 8 and enhanced in Windows 8.1. An unbootable corrupted Windows 8 or 8.1 cannot be repaired without a recovery drive, containing useful troubleshooting tools. With the startup problems, this drive becomes an essential. You do not need to order it on any online purchase portal, but create it by yourself. If you have not done it yet, aim it from now, as you may certainly require it in the future, near or far.

Ahead of moving on to the proposed solution, it's preferable to first examine your PC by Scanning and Fixing any unseen errors found which possibly is inducing your headache:

In the case of boot failure, previous versions of Windows enabled their users to fix startup problems through different tools, like Startup Repair Tool, System Restore, Recovery Console, and Emergency Recovery Utility. These were used in Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows NT, respectively. All of the recovery or repair tools mentioned require an optical disc to write themselves on, with a bootable nature.

Both Windows 8 and 8.1 permit a USB Flash Drive to perform such storage role. However, a USB flash drive syndicated with recovery content, would be a dedicated one, and may not be used for any other purpose. If you intend to create a recovery drive in this way, you would need USB flash memory of at least 256MB of capacity. Though, it may require up to 16GB of removable disk, if you are anticipating backup an OEM recovery partition. Yes, you must be surprised to know that only through these two operating systems; an OEM recovery partition can be backed up on a removable storage.

In Windows 8, there are two separate procedures to create a recovery drive for an optical disc and USB flash drive, correspondingly. In Windows 8.1, the procedure for USB recovery drive is identical to that of Windows 8, while the option to burn a recovery disc is not available. The concepts and procedures of repair disc, recovery drive, and recovery partition for Windows 8 and 8.1 are described below in detail.

Create a Recovery Drive using an Optical Disc

This section entails a detailed systematic procedure to set up an optical disc as a recovery drive. However, it is same as it was in the previous Windows version, that is, Windows 7. Although, the concerned tool is named as Windows 7 File Recovery, even in Windows 8, it ends up with same Windows 8 Recovery system. The related footsteps are outlined below.

  • Press Windows key + W on your keyboard to conduct a new Search
  • In the search box, type ‘windows 7 file recovery’ and hit Enter
  • In the search results click to choose Windows 7 File Recovery user interface
  • In the left panel of this interface, click on Create a system repair disc
  • A dialog box would appear, asking you for the drive location, containing optical disc
  • Select the appropriate drive and proceed by clicking on Create disc button
  • The process then begins. Wait for a few moments while it finishes
  • At completion, a message prompts you containing general instructions
  • Click on the Close button to conclude the process and eject your new Recovery Drive

The said tool is limited to Windows 8, and cannot be found in Windows 8.1.

How to Create Windows 8 Recovery Drive

Create a Recovery Drive using a USB Flash Drive

Writing recovery tools to a USB flash drive requires a separate and different interface than that of Optical disc. As the option is just introduced, many people may not be aware of the exact place to visit. It is hereby restated that this process will require about 256MB of memory space in the flash drive. A flash drive committed for recovery purpose may not be entitled for multi-functioning. Read the following instructions to begin the process.

  • Type ‘recovery drive’ in the Start search box and hit Enter
  • Choose Create a recovery drive and click Yes button on UAC message prompt
  • A Recovery Drive wizard would initiate with description on the first screen
  • The first screen also contains the option stating Copy the recovery partition from the PC to recovery drive. It will only be enabled if your system already contains one. If it is enabled and checked, you are required to connect a USB flash drive up to 16GB. Proceed by clicking Next button
  • The next screen asks you the drive location, where you want to set up recovery items
  • Click to highlight the Drive and click on the Next button
  • The subsequent screen will warn you, as it would format the flash drive to loss everything on it
  • Click on the Create button to continue
  • Successively, the files begin to copy. Be patient, as it may take a while
  • The process completes, opening the drive to view the contents in it
  • On the final screen of Recovery Drive wizard, click on the Finish button to close it

You may find a slight variance between the terms used in Windows 8 and 8.1, the overall procedure however is the same.

Creating Windows 8 Recovery Drive through USB

Check and Create a Recovery Partition

Stated earlier in this article, Recovery Partition is convenient source to restore factory settings. A recovery partition is created and used, to avoid inserting Windows Install disc all the time. A recovery partition even has the ability to re-install a fresh Windows without disc. It is easy to confirm whether your PC is amalgamated with a recovery partition or not, and if it does not, it is very feasible to create one. See the following steps:

Check for a Recovery Partition

  • Press Windows key + W on your keyboard to conduct a new Search
  • In the search box, type ‘command’ and hit Enter
  • Right click Command Prompt and select Run as Administrator in the toolbar below
  • Confirm UAC alert by clicking the Yes button
  • In the command prompt screen, type RECIMG /SHOWCURRENT and hit Enter
  • An error message displayed shows that the recovery partition does not exist

How to Check Recovery Drive Exists

Create a Recovery Partition

  • Stay on the Command Prompt screen and use following command lines
  • Type MKDIR C:\REFRESHIMAGE and hit Enter, to create a folder for recovery partition
  • Type RECIMG -CREATEIMAGE C:\REFRESHIMAGE and hit Enter, to create the image in the newly created folder

Note: In the above commands replace C with the drive letter you want to use as a recovery partition.

Windows 8 Recovery Drive From Command Prompt


It is to notify that Recovery Drive is bit specific, and should be used accordingly. For an instance, if you have created a recovery drive in a 32-bit version of Windows 8 or 8.1, it would only be able to boot up and troubleshoot a 32-bit version of Windows 8 or 8.1, and not the 64-bit. Similarly, if you have created a recovery drive in Windows 8 or 8.1 64-bit versions, you can use it to boot up and troubleshoot only a 64-bit version of Windows 8 or 8.1, and not a 32-bit version.

  • lilkarl71

    Question… Is the image being created during the “Create a Recovery Partition” step the image of the system in its current state or the stock recovery image?

    • It is the image of Windows is in its current state not the stock one.

      Once created this image is further used in Refresh your PC, which can also restore your desktop applications in addition to apps.

  • Chris Rogers

    Couldnt create, message said files missing

  • Tin Lay

    I want to reset my laptop to factory settings and kept getting this message – “Unable to refresh your pc. A required drive partition is missing”

    So i followed your steps to check for a recovery partition and it didn’t exist. Therefore, i followed your steps to create one.

    However i’m still getting the same message when trying to reset the laptop.

    Any ideas please?

  • Brian Donovan

    Search for “windows 7 file recovery’

    finds nothing.

    • In Windows 8.1 it is substituted with “System Image Backup”

      Search for “File History”, open it
      In the new window at the bottom of left pane, look for System Image Backup

  • clockworkaugment

    Ive got an Iconia 8.1 tablet im trying to restore the partition to after some idiot deleted it. It accepts and creates the image via CMD as you say, but when i actually go into windows recovery and instruct it to wipe back to factory settings it still states that its missing files.

    Its vexing.