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  • Recovery Drive Creation

    Posted on doneager Comment on the AskWoody Lounge
    Viewing 23 reply threads
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      • #2210882 Reply
        doneager
        AskWoody Plus

        I have tried several times over the last six months or so to create a Windows 10 Recovery Drive. Started with V1809 and and again after updated to V1903. Have used different sizes of USB “thumb” drives up to 64GB. So far, been totally unsuccessful. Last attempt a few days ago was with a 32GB USB formatted to NTSF as I was informed is necessary for this process. As previously, all seems to be going fine in the early stages, but when I get to the “Create a recovery drive” screen, with “Back up system files to the recovery drive” checked and click “Next” I get “Please wait” and after a while the following error screen – “We can’t create recovery drive. A problem occurred while creating recovery drive.” NO explanation provided! Also, during this process I was never asked which drive to use for this.

        I create a new System Repair Disc about every 4 months (with no problem) and thought it would be advisable to also have a Recovery Drive.

        Before I try this again, I understand that my PC must be able to boot from a USB. How can I determine this? No sense in worrying about this any further if it can’t!

        Thanks,

         

        Don Eager

      • #2210897 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        For older machines, watch the BIOS screen during the boot sequence.

        For example, Dell machines show a message at the top right of the screen which includes “Boot Menu – F12”.  Tap F12 (usually repeatedly) during the boot sequence and you should be given a list of Boot devices.

        Again, for example:  System Disk, CD/DVD, USB.

        I find that the USB stick usually carried the name – Sandisk or similar.

        UEFI machines are slightly different and mine is broke so I cannot check the screen!!!

      • #2210918 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        I have a 2017 Surface Pro 4. Don’t know if that’s “older” or not. Anyway, just re-started it and NOTHING was displayed before the Welcome screen.

      • #2210931 Reply
        Bundaburra
        AskWoody Plus

        Sometimes if you do a Restart, you do not see the prompt to enter the BIOS/UEFI setup.  If you want to go there, it’s better (in my experience) to do a cold start, i.e. shut it down, wait for everything to be off, wait another 10 seconds, and then press the Start button.  In that startup sequence you should see something like “Press X to enter setup”, where X is the designated key – it could be DEL, or F12, or something else, but should be mentioned in your system documentation.  If you know what the key is and press it repeatedly during the startup (even in a restart) it may take you into the Setup even if you don’t see the prompt.

        Windows 10 Pro 64 bit 1909

      • #2210944 Reply
        b
        AskWoody Plus

        As previously, all seems to be going fine in the early stages, but when I get to the “Create a recovery drive” screen, with “Back up system files to the recovery drive” checked and click “Next” I get “Please wait” and after a while the following error screen – “We can’t create recovery drive. A problem occurred while creating recovery drive.” NO explanation provided! Also, during this process I was never asked which drive to use for this.

        Try without checking the “Back up system files to the recovery drive” option the first time, and then repeat with that option checked: Can’t create a recovery drive.

        Windows 10 Pro Version 2004: Group ASAP (chump/pioneer)

      • #2210948 Reply
        b
        AskWoody Plus

        I have a 2017 Surface Pro 4. Don’t know if that’s “older” or not. Anyway, just re-started it and NOTHING was displayed before the Welcome screen.

        Surfaces use the volume-up button during power on:

          1. Shut down your Surface.
          2. Press and hold the volume-up button on your Surface and at the same time, press and release the power button.
          3. When you see the Surface logo, release the volume-up button.
          The UEFI menu will display within a few seconds.

        How do I use the BIOS/UEFI? Applies to: Surface Devices

        Windows 10 Pro Version 2004: Group ASAP (chump/pioneer)

      • #2210945 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        OK. Did a complete power-off and cold boot. The only things that appeared were the welcome screen followed by the desktop.

      • #2211002 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        Windows allows you to choose an alternative boot device at shutdown.

        1. Plug in the USB.
        2. Hold the Shift key down and click Shutdown.

        You will get a menu offering a different boot device and if USB is available it will be shown.

        cheers, Paul

        • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 1 day ago by Paul T.
      • #2211142 Reply
        Vincenzo
        AskWoody Lounger

        Some BIOS/UEFI screens have an option “Show Startup Messages when booting” or something equivalent, that must be selected to see the boot options upon startup. If you can figure out how to get into BIOS, look for that.

      • #2211230 Reply
        doneager
        AskWoody Plus

        Thanks for all the replies. Several good ideas about how to determine if my Surface can boot from a USB. However, booting is not a concern unless I can successfully create a Recovery Drive. The only advice received on that problem is to un-check “Back Up System Files…” which to me would seem to defeat the objective of the Recovery Drive. Would like some additional ideas on this.

      • #2211238 Reply
        Vincenzo
        AskWoody Lounger

        A recovery drive without the system files will still allow you to boot an unbootable computer, and then run System Image Recovery (and some other tools), as long as the Windows System Image is in the root of one of your drives.

      • #2211245 Reply
        b
        AskWoody Plus

        The only advice received on that problem is to un-check “Back Up System Files…” which to me would seem to defeat the objective of the Recovery Drive. Would like some additional ideas on this.

        My suggestion was to do that first, but then to check that option, as that’s what worked for quite a few users at my link:

        Try without checking the “Back up system files to the recovery drive” option the first time, and then repeat with that option checked: Can’t create a recovery drive.

        Perhaps you could actually get prompted to select a drive that way?

        Windows 10 Pro Version 2004: Group ASAP (chump/pioneer)

      • #2211277 Reply
        doneager
        AskWoody Plus

        OK. Here’s the latest news on this fiasco. Was able to create a Recovery Drive on a 32 GB USB when “system files” was not checked. Result was only 514 MB used. Drive was labeled RECOVERY D: It has the following contents: (1) Folder EFI with subfolder Boot containing bootx64.efi and subfolder Microsoft containing sub-subfolder Recovery which is empty. (2) Folder Sources which is empty.

        Tried the creation process again using the same USB but checking “system files.” Same result as before “Can’t create…”

        Tried b’s instructions to get the UEFI menu. Did not work. Got welcome screen same as before without the volume-up button.

        Will try Paul T’s instructions after this post. However, not sure what alternative boot device as shutdown means or why it is relevant to using the Recovery Drive.

        • #2211337 Reply
          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          However, not sure what alternative boot device as shutdown means or why it is relevant to using the Recovery Drive

          You wanted to know if you could boot from USB.
          This post has an alternative method.

          cheers, Paul

      • #2211414 Reply
        doneager
        AskWoody Plus

        Paul T,

        I think I figured out what you were trying to tell me. Did you mean “at” shutdown rather than “as” shutdown?

        Anyway, I tried your suggestion and couldn’t get it to work. First tried it using my external keyboard shift key. No go. Then tried with the Surface type cover, still no go. I’m plugging the USB into my powered USB hub. I wonder if it needs to be plugged into the one Surface USB port directly to work?

        Don E.

      • #2211420 Reply
        doneager
        AskWoody Plus

        b,

        Tried your suggestion and couldn’t get it to work. USB was plugged into my powered hub. Wondering if it needs to be plugged directly into the single Surface port?

         

        Don E.

      • #2211482 Reply
        cmptrgy
        AskWoody Plus

        doneager, I create a bootable USB Recovery Drives just before a Feature update is due as a habit.
        I always include “Backup system files to the recovery drive”
        — The reason is if your PC can’t start you can use a bootable recovery drive to reset it or troubleshoot problems. If you back up your system files to this drive, you’ll also be able to use it to reinstall windows.
        — I don’t recall the limitations if “Backup system files to the recovery drive” isn’t checked.

        On the “32GB USB formatted to NTSF as I was informed is necessary for this process”.
        — I haven’t seen that to be applicable when creating a USB Recovery Drive.
        — According to my notes which unfortunately I don’t have the source “Don’t use a 64GB or larger device as Windows can only partition and format 32GB capacity as FAT32.”
        — Googling that should be helpful.
        Also, according to my notes “The bootable USB Recovery Drive must hold at least 16GB.”
        — I don’t see that as an always situation and I know of only one person who had to use a larger than 16GB flash drive from what they told me.

        Here is some information on my 2 USB Recovery Drives

        On my Dell desktop, I used a 32GB flash drive because I was out of 16GB flash drives.
        It is formatted as FAT32 & it took up only 4.35GB
        After creating a new bootable USB Recovery Drive I always test it to ensure it will boot using F12.

        On my HP laptop, I used a 16GB flash drive.
        It is formatted as FAT32 & it took up only 4.57GB
        In order to test it afterward, F9 works for me to ensure it will boot.

        Later today or tomorrow, I’m going to test the Create a Recovery Drive process and see if I have the same problem
        “We can’t create recovery drive. A problem occurred while creating recovery drive”

        HP EliteBook 8540w laptop Windows 10 Pro (x64)

        • This reply was modified 2 weeks ago by cmptrgy.
      • #2211709 Reply
        cmptrgy
        AskWoody Plus

        doneager both of my bootable USB Recovery Drives came out fine today.

        If you’d like to try yours again
        Use Windows PowerShell (Admin) or Command Prompt (Run as administrator) to run SFC /SCANNOW.
        — If it reports “Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations”.
        — Restart the PC and move on.
        If it reports anything else, don’t restart the PC, run Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /Restorehealth.
        — If it reports” The operation completed successfully”, restart the PC and move on.
        If it reports anything else, restart the PC, and repeat the cycle one more time.

        If still unsuccessful, that means your PC needs some kind of work to get it into shape.

        Thinking positively, I hope your PC will come out fine.

        Next connect the USB flash drive to your PC.
        — Regardless if there is anything on it or not, do a quick format.
        Go into Control Panel > click on Recovery > select Create a recovery drive.
        — Start the process
        — Make sure “Back up system files to the recovery drive” is checked.
        NOTE: The reason to ensure the system files are not corrupted etc. up-front is because you do not want to be including such files in the USB Recovery drive.
        — In my experience it takes from 1 hr. to 2 hrs. 15 min.

        Upon completion, verify the USB Recovery drive is bootable & usable.

        HP EliteBook 8540w laptop Windows 10 Pro (x64)

      • #2211783 Reply
        doneager
        AskWoody Plus

        cmptrgy,

        Thanks for the most complete set of instructions yet. I have more information for what it’s worth. I mentioned earlier that I formatted my 32 GB USB as NTSF before starting the Recovery drive creation. I really didn’t dream this up on my own. This was one of the instructions I followed from an article “How to Create and Use a Recovery Drive or System Repair Disc in Windows 8 or 10″on the website How-to Geek. Another example of confusing, contradictory information on the Web. Anyway, it turned out to be a mute point, since when I checked the USB I found it had reverted to FAT32. The Recovery Disc process must have re-re-formatted it.

        Before I start on your recommended process, do you think that the problems being encountered may be due to having the USB mounted via a powered hub rather than directly into my Surface’s single USB port? I haven’t tried that yet because it’s kind of a hassle not to be able to use the other stuff using the hub.

        This all may be a lot of work for nothing, since I still haven’t been able to get my system to recognize the Recovery Drive I created without the system files during booting. Could also be a problem with using the hub?

        Regards,

        Don E.

      • #2211827 Reply
        cmptrgy
        AskWoody Plus

        On “The Recovery Disc process must have re-re-formatted it”: you are correct.
        I’m not sure how a USB hub applies as I’ve never used one and I have read pros & cons on when to use them or not.
        If you still want to create a bootable Recovery Drive, I’d say try it once w/o using the USB hub.
        — You really wouldn’t have to create another one until much later.

        Another thing I’m not sure of because I haven’t had to do it yet, instead of a USB flash drive, use an SDHC card in your Surface’s appropriate port?
        I believe an SDHC card can be purchased up to 32GB.
        In that case, you might be able to leave the USB HUB connected: you’d have to experiment to find out.
        You could ask about that in a separate post.

        BTW, when I create a bootable USB Recovery drive, the real reason is because I can show the people I help the ones I have as it incentivizes them to do so as most of them don’t want to get into system image backups (To my dismay).
        — The process I developed is because too many of their PC’S are in trouble to begin with & fortunately my procedure has handled every case I’ve seen so far.

        I’d like to make a couple of more recommendations that you might like.

        Create system image backups on a schedule that suits you.
        — I do mine monthly during the week before Patch Tuesday.
        In addition, I create a backup of my data separately at the same time.

        Another thing I do is create Windows 10 install media usually before a Feature update is due.
        — They can be helpful in troubleshooting a problem or doing a clean install if applicable.
        — I believe you can also do that on an SDHC card.
        Make sure your device is running properly so “Backup system files to the recovery drive” is part of the process.
        — Although a few methods to do so have a lot in common, some of them do not include a step-by-step process as the advice you’ll be given are: just follow the prompts. That’s ok for someone who knows what they are doing but a “newbie” should consider a reliable step-by-step process. Sometimes even that can be challenging the first, maybe second time around but at least questions can be asked more directly of a step-by-step set of instructions in front of them vs. trying to understand a step in a “just follow the prompts” process.

        You don’t have to do the above all at once, but please consider them.
        For example, pick a week when you want advice on creating system image backups as well as saving your data.
        Follow up some time later even if it’s a month or two out on advice for creating Windows 10 install media.

        HP EliteBook 8540w laptop Windows 10 Pro (x64)

      • #2211892 Reply
        doneager
        AskWoody Plus

        I have decided to concentrate efforts on trying to get the USB Recovery Drive that I created (at least think I created) a few days ago to work. No system files were included. No sense in worrying about trying to create a Recovery Drive with system files if I can’t get what I have to work!

          1. Tried to used the choose an alternative boot device at shutdown method recommended by Paul T.
            1. First tried with the USB plugged into my powered hub. Did not work. Went straight to normal shutdown without displaying a menu.
            2. Second tried with the USB plugged directly into the Surface USB port. Same result.

        Tried the press and hold volume up button while pressing and releasing the power button. Once “SURFACE” was displayed, released the volume up. Recommended by b.

          1. First tried with the USB plugged into my powered hub. Did not work. Went straight to Welcome screen then desktop without displaying any menu.
          2. Second tried with the USB plugged directly into the Surface USB port. Same result.

        Open for more ideas on how to get this to work. Getting exasperated! Many hours spent on what seems like should be a simple process.

        Regards,

        Don E.

         

      • #2211908 Reply
        mledman
        AskWoody Plus

        I have decided to concentrate efforts on trying to get the USB Recovery Drive that I created (at least think I created) a few days ago to work.

        If fast startup is enabled, try turning it off.

        settings > system > power & sleep > additional power settings > choose what the power buttons do

        Win 10 home - 1909
        Attitude is a choice...Choose wisely

      • #2211913 Reply
        Vincenzo
        AskWoody Lounger

        According to this Microsoft page, you should be using the Volume-DOWN button:
        https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4023511/surface-boot-surface-from-a-usb-device

        Shut down your Surface.
        Insert the bootable USB drive into the USB port on your Surface.
        Press and hold the volume-down button on the Surface. While you’re doing this, press and release the power button.
        The Microsoft or Surface logo appears on your screen. Continue to hold the volume-down button. Release the button once spinning dots appear beneath the logo.
        Follow the on-screen instructions to boot from your USB drive.

        I would definitely be using the USB port on the computer for this task, not a hub. I do use them for day to day tasks, but I’ve seen them create problems.

        • This reply was modified 1 week, 5 days ago by Vincenzo.
        • This reply was modified 1 week, 5 days ago by Vincenzo.
        • This reply was modified 1 week, 5 days ago by Vincenzo.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2211925 Reply
        mpw
        AskWoody Plus

        I read through this post but could not determine if you ran SFC /SCANNOW .  I could not get my Windows 10 v 1909 to create and keep a restore point in System Restore.  I ran a sfc scan and found that there were corrupt Windows 10 files.  The sfc scan corrected them the first time.  That does not always happen.  Sometimes it is necessary to run it multiple times.  It only takes 15-20 minutes.  If or when that comes clean you can also run DISM scan but may not need to.

        Anyway, once the corrupt files were repaired, I could create a restore point.  I took it to mean that Windows did not want to accept corrupt files as a restore point, so it spit it out.  No point restoring computer to a time when it was corrupt.

        How to Repair System Files with SFC Command in Windows 10 (use option 3)

        https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/2895-run-sfc-command-windows-10-a.html

        If it says it found but could not repair all the errors, run it again anyway, it may get them the next time.

        How to Repair Windows 10 Image using DISM

        https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/7808-use-dism-repair-windows-10-image.html?s=b87c0ba081c91f7257bf07d44ad9a90b

        If you have already run sfc scan sorry to add my two cents where it is not needed.

        HP Pavilion Desktop TP01-0050 – 64 bit
        Windows10 Home v1909 – Build 18363.657
        Windows Defender and Windows Firewall

      • #2212026 Reply
        cmptrgy
        AskWoody Plus

        In my post #2211827 I included
        “Another thing I’m not sure of because I haven’t had to do it yet, instead of a USB flash drive, use an SDHC card in your Surface’s appropriate port? I believe an SDHC card can be purchased up to 32GB. In that case, you might be able to leave the USB HUB connected: you’d have to experiment to find out.”
        — What are your opinions?

        doneager, when you tried to create a bootable USB Recovery drive you were informed that the drive must hold at least xxGB if you want to include “Backup system files to the recovery drive”. Knowing what that is in your case, an appropriate size SDHC card will do the job for you.
        — If you don’t want to include “Backup system files to the recovery drive” you can use an SD card because the typical capacity the drive needs to hold is about 512MB and an SD card can hold up to 2GB.
        — However in either case, it should still be determined that there aren’t any system files issues.

        HP EliteBook 8540w laptop Windows 10 Pro (x64)

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