by Barry Dysert
(last updated June 10, 2019)
If you are using Windows 7, a system repair disc is a bootable CD or DVD that you've prepared beforehand so that you can start Windows in the event that you're having hard-drive problems that prevent you from booting normally. A repair disk is not a Windows installation disk, but rather it's a disk that contains the minimal amount of data required to get your system up to a point where you can attempt repairs.
To create a system repair disk, perform the following steps if you are using Windows 7:
Figure 1. The Create a System Repair Disc dialog box.
Figure 2. Your System Repair Disc is Completed.
If you are using Windows 8 or Windows 10, the entire concept of creating a system repair disc was replaced with creating what is called a "recovery drive." This feature allows information on a hard drive—including a recovery partition, if one exists—to be copied or backed up to an external hard drive. This drive can then be used to help troubleshoot your PC if, for some reason, you can't boot to your regular drive.
To create a recovery drive, follow these steps in Windows 8 or Windows 10:
Figure 3. The Recovery Drive program.
Creating a recovery drive can take a while, depending on how much information you have on your drive and what type of USB drive you are using. When done, Recovery Drive may also offer you the opportunity to delete the recovery partition from your hard drive. This may free up some space on your hard drive, but it removes one additional potential "safety point" when it comes to your system and your data.
This tip (12622) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.
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