How to create a USB recovery drive for Windows 8 while reclaiming disk space (Step-by-Step)

Recovery Drive Windows 8

In this Windows guide learn how to create a USB recovery drive for Windows 8, while safely deleting recovery partition and reclaiming disk space from your PC.

With Windows 8, we are moving toward a new kind of installation method where a physical DVD or even a USB flash drive is practically not necessary. If you buy a new PC, chances are that it will come with a built-in recovery partition that you can use to reset the PC to its original factory settings. But how about when you really run into problems, where you can’t boot or the hard drive dies? — What do you do next?

Well, if you bought a Windows 8 PC, you can offload the recovery image from the computer by creating a USB recovery drive, that in addition to help you troubleshoot, remove everything (reset) or refresh your PC (even when it won’t start or when the hard drive has failed), it will also free up some disk space in the process.

The size of the recovery partition is typical somewhere between 3-16GB. This may not look like much but if you’re using a solid state drive, it becomes a good amount of space that you can save.


Before you start following the step-by-step instructions below, connect a USB drive with enough space — the free space needed will depend on the actual size of the recovery partition in your system –. Also don’t forget to backup any content in the USB dongle you’re about to use, because you’ll lose any data in it.

1 While in the Start screen, just type Create a recovery drive (click Settings on the right) and click the setting from the result.

2 The Recovery Drive wizard will start on the desktop. Very important, choose the “Copy the recovery partition from the PC to the recovery drive” option and click Next.

Create USB Recovery Drive Windows 8

SEE ALSO: How to create a custom Refresh Point with Recimg.exe in Windows 8 (Step-by-Step)

3 Select the flash drive you plugged-in from the list, click Next and then Create. Also here is when you may be asked to delete the recovery partition, to free up disk space you need to delete it, so allow this action.

Flash drive recovery

This is pretty much all you have to do to create a USB recovery drive, wait for the wizard to complete the process and after is done remember to store the drive in a safe place.

Next time if you encounter yourself into a situation where the PC won’t start, you want to refresh or you need to troubleshoot your system, simply connect the drive and reboot the computer. Booting from this USB drive will grant you access to the new recovery tools in Windows 8, as well as restoring your PC to factory settings.

Final Note: This works in Windows 8 as well as in Windows RT. That is, of course, if your PC came with a recovery partition from its manufacture to begin with.