Reinstalling Windows 8.1 from a recovery drive is easy as long as you have taken the time to make it. If you haven’t created recovery media for your PC, now is the time to do so before you need it. It’s easy and takes only a few minutes.
Before you begin, you will need a 16GB or larger flash drive that you can dedicate to the cause. Once the drive is created, the total space required will be around 10GB and no other files should be stored on it.
Creating the Drive
Open up control panel through the apps page or by pressing Windows Key + S and searching for ‘control panel’. Once in the Control Panel, select the drop down in the upper right hand corner labeled ‘view by:’. Here select one of the icon views and you should now see a Recovery section as shown below.
Click on Recovery and you will be brought to the screen shown below. Here you are presented with multiple options with the first being ‘Create a recovery drive’.
Click the ‘Create a recovery drive’ option and click yes through the User Account Control prompt that will follow. This will bring you to the following screen where you will choose if a recovery partition will be included as part of the process. Ensure this option is checked if available as this will allow you to use the refresh or reset options to reinstall or restore Windows to its default state while preserving your files.
Click next to continue. The next screen will allow you to pick the USB drive you wish to use. Be sure to select the correct one as all data will be deleted once the process starts.
During the creation process the application will let you know how far along it is.
After a short while you should be greeted with a screen similar to this one. If you notice, it does say that you can delete the recovery partition from your machine to free up space. I would not recommend doing this unless you have another copy available. Remember, a good rule of thumb is that data does not fully exist unless there are at least 2 copies of it. With that, you are now done and can press Finish to exit the program.
That’s it, you’ve created a Windows recovery drive. Before you place it somewhere safe I recommend testing it out to ensure it will work if needed in the future. At the very least you should attempt to boot from it to ensure that it can at least get you to the main menu for troubleshooting and recovery. Additional testing can be done but really that should only be done if you are an expert and know what you are doing in case you know what will be lost with a reset or refresh.
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