Recovery Drive Mystery


  1. Posts : 534
    Windows 10 Home 64-bit and ANDROID Lollipop
       #1

    Recovery Drive Mystery


    I prepared a large capacity USB flash drive formatted with NTFS ready to create a Recovery Drive. The first two attempts took a long time before reporting there was a problem. The third attempt also took a long time but everything looked like it had worked OK. However, when I checked the Drive it had less than 1 GB used. The files on it where not at all what I expected -- all that has been created is a bootable USB drive for getting Windows to boot up.

    How could this have happened? Is it the case that the bootup is a part of the Recovery Drive and that the rest of the files have failed to be installed? Is there anything I should do before I have another go, and if it happens again what should I do?
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  2. NavyLCDR's Avatar
    Posts : 13,175
    Windows 10 Pro
       #2

    That's all you get when you create a recovery drive. It sounds like what you want is a system image backup, and a USB flash drive is not very well suited to handle that, an external hard drive is a much better choice for that.
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  3. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 15,246
    10 Home x64 (1909) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #3

    When you run the Recovery Media Creator to create a recovery drive there is one option, selected by default, to 'backup system files to the recovery drive'. With this option not selected, a recovery drive (for 1703) contains 506MB, consisting of the boot files and the Boot, EFI and Sources folders. The Sources folder contains one file, Boot.wim (474 MB) which is the recovery environment and utilities. This type of recovery drive boots to the recovery environment with all the repair tools, but cannot reinstall Windows. It takes a couple of minutes to create.

    A recovery drive with the system files included is NOT a backup of your system, rather it is a way to do 'factory reset' of Windows as first installed, including (if an OEM system) any OEM utilities/drivers/customizations. In addition to the Boot.wim file, the Sources Folder will hold all the files needed to reinstall Windows.

    On my standard (not an OEM) system with system files included it took about seven minutes to prepare to create the drive, then over an hour to format the USB and create the files. The recovery drive's Sources folder contained:
    Boot.wim (474 MB)
    $PBR_Diskpart.txt (1 KB)
    $PBR_ResetConfig.xml (1 KB)
    Reconstruct.WIM (3.70 GB)
    Reconstruct.WIM2 (267 MB)


    All figures taken from creating a recovery drive for Windows 10 (x64) v. 1703, os build 15063.540.
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  4. Posts : 534
    Windows 10 Home 64-bit and ANDROID Lollipop
    Thread Starter
       #4

    Thank you Bree, the details you provided largely clears up the 'mystery' except that I am not aware that I opted not to backup system files (the default). The list of files amounting to around 4 GB is the sort of thing I was expecting. Plus, when you refer to the Boot etc. files taking only a few minutes to create, the time taken in my attempt to create the Recovery Drive was over an hour! (despite it being a clean, formatted drive). So it seems to me that some mysteries remain.

    Anyway, I will now try again, and look out for the backup system files option to make sure it is on..
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  5. cereberus's Avatar
    Posts : 11,322
    Windows10
       #5

    clayto said:
    Thank you Bree, the details you provided largely clears up the 'mystery' except that I am not aware that I opted not to backup system files (the default). The list of files amounting to around 4 GB is the sort of thing I was expecting. Plus, when you refer to the Boot etc. files taking only a few minutes to create, the time taken in my attempt to create the Recovery Drive was over an hour! (despite it being a clean, formatted drive). So it seems to me that some mysteries remain.

    Anyway, I will now try again, and look out for the backup system files option to make sure it is on..
    You have to click a check box. In reality, a recovery usb is not that critical as you can create an installation usb drive.

    The recovery drive uses up to 16GB, whereas an installation drive is 4-6 GB.

    The main plus of a recovery drive is it save downloading installation files.

    Note - you have to recreate the recovery drive (or download latest installation files) after each major build upgrade (twice yearly).
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