News, tips, advice, support for Windows, Office, PCs & more
Home icon Home icon Home icon Email icon RSS icon

We're community supported and proud of it!

  • Windows Installation Media

    • This topic has 10 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 1 month ago.
    Author
    Topic
    #2390824

    Good Afternoon All,

    Please can someone help me to clear up a minor confusion?

    In today’s Ask Woody Plus e-mail Susan Bradley recommends downloading and saving Win10 ISO for 21H1 prior to any future update to 21H2.

    Is this the same thing as the windows “Create a recovery drive” ? and, if not, do I need to do them both to be fully covered?

    Thanks and regards,

    Roy.

    Viewing 5 reply threads
    Author
    Replies
    • #2390828

      Is this the same thing as the windows “Create a recovery drive” ?

      No.

      and, if not, do I need to do them both to be fully covered?

      Yes.

      Windows 10 Pro version 21H2 build 19044.1320 + Microsoft 365 (group ASAP)

    • #2390880

      The USB and ISO are two forms of the same software. Unless you specifically keep a USB key for the job, you probably need the ISO.

      The recovery drive made from a PC (start > run > recoverydrive) is subtly different – if you copy the system files (default) it copies various windows files which were specifically needed for your Windows installation, so your PC comes out as it was in Windows installation terms (though obviously everything else isn’t put back unless you did a refresh instead of a reset), so basically the difference is not needing any updates which came out since the ISO you used, which could be months old..

      If you have the ISO on your PC (… and find you can’t burn it as you cant find a double layer DVD … ) you can double click it in recent Windows 10 versions and mount the ISO (which explorer will open so you can see the files and drive letter ). You need to capture the file set from the mounted media and put it on a USB drive (the only speciality in the formatting is the drive is formatted FAT32 and labelled “RECOVERY”..)

      Copying files won’t work – it messes with all manner of file attributes; you need to use DISM to replicate the file set, so you need probably 30GB free on your system drive to be sure..

      Assuming your ISO is mounted as Drive e: and you have a suitably sized and correctly prepared USB key as drive f:, in an elevated CMD:

      dism /capture-image /imagefile:c:\recovery.wim /capturedir:e: /name:name

      dism /apply-image /imagefile:c:\recovery.wim /applydir:f: /index:1

      Those fortunate enough to be upgrading to a SSD would be wise to keep the wim file. You can partition your new (blank) drive (UEFI hopefully, https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/manufacture/desktop/configure-uefigpt-based-hard-drive-partitions). That done, on the new “drive C” make a Windows10Upgrade folder and load the files` by changing applydir above. On the destination system (if you didn’t prepare the drive there) boot recovery to a command prompt, change drive (should be c: for UEFI) and CD to the Windows10Upgrade folder, REMOVE the recovery key and wait for about 10 seconds before running setup from there (or the boot will be placed on the USB which is pretty useless), and note how the install is that bit faster for not waiting for an optical drive to spin up and down and seek every few seconds..

      • #2390893

        Copying files won’t work – it messes with all manner of file attributes; you need to use DISM to replicate the file set, so you need probably 30GB free on your system drive to be sure..

        That statement is not true.  The mounted ISO files can be copied to another folder on a HDD or SSD in your machine with no permissions issues at all.  From that folder, one can run a repair/reinstall by double-clicking Setup.exe, just as if one were using a USB thumb drive, except the file copying is noticeably it’s quicker.

        The only thing to bear in mind is that a repair/reinstall must be run logged into an account in the Administrators group.  If it is tried from a regular user account, a reminder warning will pop up.

        Before someone says it can’t be done, I’ve done it a number of times with zero failures because of my tinkerin’ with Windows innards and occasionally pooching my installation.  I’ve been using this shortcut for years.

        Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
        "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
        "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

    • #2391003

      Thanks to all for the replies.

      I should point out that I thought I was posting originally under my username of “daddybear” but somehow I was logged out of the forum unexpectedly and so was published as ‘anonymous’.

      I am an Ask Woody account holder honestly !!  and it really was me doing the original post.

      Regards,

      Roy.

    • #2391007

      So there isn’t a problem, but there is a difference.. but hey, it’s faster. Microsoft provided a tool for handling installation media so using it I feel to be suitable as set against maybe undoing the problem you cite by using IACLS to add S-1-0-0 with full control or something flaky.. (not going there with xcopy /k /n /o – that is so slow.)

      I used to work for a small OEM so preparation speed wasn’t a concern – we applied the “no system files” recovery to the boot partition of UEFI media on SSD as indicated (as updating the PE at every version was a bit too much – we did little with answer files we couldn’t achieve elsewhere), we modified the boot.wim  file to incorporate our scripts and stationed the FFU images on what would usually be the Windows partition, so we could boot that SSD populated USB3 caddy and load the drive in a few minutes (needless to say we had quite a few caddies, replicated from a master). They did try PXE boot installations, but other users didn’t like the effect on network traffic when loading more than one machine (fairly gutless, some smart switches.. but the good stuff is at the top of the tree..) and patching applies to the boot media where the network is connected to the Internet and patching a PE is a bit of a grind (and it grows somewhat in size we found. probably did something wrong…)

      The free space I gave is a bit higher as Windows needs space to work, you need near 4Gb for the archive, and last time I bothered installing Windows (1903) it inflated to 15GB (six products in there according to DISM) so that’s 19Gb for the work files and 11Gb for Windows to do its thing temporary file wise.

      I believe we are discussing the difference between “can” and “should” so I’ll give you your glory .. my experience remains there never seems to be any DVD media to hand when you need it.. Oldguy is into avoiding viruses where he can so shopping for media is out..

      Given the nice red text at the end of your post, I take it you realise you could achieve what we did but as back up and restore as you promote there, using just the tools in the Windows box – you would have to handle the partitions (creation and content) one by one (as FFUs have to be prepared with sysprep) but the joy of UEFI is you don’t have to fix the BCD – it just boots even if you started by partitioning a blank drive and load the content.

      I was actually trying to offer our guest some background information supporting how and why B arrived at his recommendation. Then again I really should be elsewhere rather than typing just now..

       

      • #2391014

        The mounted ISO can also be copied directly to a FAT32-formatted USB thumb drive using drag and drop, no need to complicate it with DISM.  The USB will be bootable.

        Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
        "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
        "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2391024

      Never thought to try that. We can all learn things! Thanks.

    • #2391029

      No, they’re different.  To do what Susan recommended, go here:

      https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

      Download the Windows 10 installation Media tool.

      Find the download and run the tool with a USB drive inserted.  The entire drive will be used regardless of size, 16 GB should be enough.  Pick the “For another computer” option.

      After it’s done (takes a while) unplug the drive and label it so you know what it is.

      To install Win 10 21H1, plug in the drive to a running computer, find setup on the drive and run it.  Pick the “keep all my files and Apps” option if that’s what you want.

      I do the install offline since I do updates offline from the Windows Catalog.  Your choice; doing it online lets MS install their typical glopware, too.

      After going through this once, it’s pretty simple.

      Media Creation Tool

      ISO of Win 10 21H1

      Install Win 10 21H1

      • #2391078

        Thanks Sally – will follow your instructions on that.

        Regards,

        Roy.

      • #2391089

        No, they’re different.

        The only difference between downloading the ISO and creating the USB thumb drive is that creating the thumb drive using the MCT takes longer.  The files are identical.

        Yes, I’ve checked.  I did this by launching Setup.exe from a folder on one of my SSD’s.  As I said #2390893 I’ve been using this shortcut for years.  Also, copying the mounted ISO files to a FAT32 formatted USB thumb drive will make the drive bootable.  I’ve done that a number of times, as well.

        Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
        "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
        "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

    Viewing 5 reply threads
    Reply To: Windows Installation Media

    You can use BBCodes to format your content.
    Your account can't use Advanced BBCodes, they will be stripped before saving.