By Ivy / Last Updated March 4, 2020

What is a recovery USB?

Recovery USB, a USB version of system repair disc in Windows, contains several tools and can be used to troubleshoot the unbootable computer or restore your computer to factory settings.

In Windows, the recovery USB cannot be used on different version of computer. That’s to say, you cannot use a Windows 8 32-bit recovery drive to fix issues on Windows 10 32-bit. Also, you cannot use a Windows 8 32-bit recovery drive to troubleshoot Windows 8 64-bit.

How to restore Windows 10 from USB?

Method 1: Restore Windows 10 from USB recovery drive

The recovery drive, a recovery tool in Windows 10, can help you restore Windows 10 from recovery USB. Before you start to restore your computer, you should create a Windows 10 recovery disk first.

Part 1: How to create a Windows 10 recovery drive?

Step 1. Connect the USB drive to your computer.

Step 2. Type Create a recovery drive in the search box and select it from the menu.

Step 3. Check backup system files to the recovery drive option and hit Next. If you do not tick this option during the process, Reset this PC and Recover from a drive will not be available in the system recovery environment.

Back up System Files to the Recovery Drive

NOTE: The size of USB recovery drive on Windows 10 is required to be 16GB. If not, you may receive an error message saying we can't create the recovery drive.

Step 4. Select USB flash drive and hit Next.

Select USB Drive

Step 5. Click Create to start the pending operation.


Part 2: How to use recovery drive in Windows 10?

Step 1. Boot from Windows 10 repair USB drive.

Step 2. Select your keyboard layout.

Step 3. Select Troubleshoot.

Step 4. Select Recover from a drive and wait when you will receive a message like Getting things ready until the next window appears.

Recover from a Drive

Step 5. Click Just remove my files or Clean the drive fully.

Step 6. Click Recover to start the recovering process. It will take a while to finish and your PC will restart.

Step 7. Follow the instructions to set up your Windows 10.

Method 2: System restore from USB

The Recover from a drive option will remove all your files, even the entire disk. If you want to keep all your files and already enabled system restore for Windows 10, you can try this way.

Step 1. Follow step 1 to Step 3 on how to use recovery drive in Windows 10.

Step 2. Select Advanced options.

Step 3. Select System Restore.

System Restore

Step 4. In the Restore system files and settings, click Next.

Step 5. Select a restore point and click Next.

Step 6. Confirm the selected restore point and click Finish to start the pending operation.

Method 3: Restore Windows 10 via USB using installation disk

If you do not create Windows 10 repair USB drive, you can download windows 10 repair/recovery USB from Microsoft and create an installation disk. Like recovery drive, it can still be used to troubleshoot your computer.

Step 1. Connect the installation disk to your computer and boot from it.

Step 2. Select language and other preference, and then click Next.

Step 3. Click Repair your computer in the Setup window.

Repair Your Computer

Step 4. Select troubleshoot and advanced options.

Step 5. Select System Restore and finish the rest of steps based on details and instructions.

Recommended way to restore Windows 10 from USB drive

The first solution will remove all your files, even the entire disk. In fact, it’s a clean install process. The other solutions will keep your files but you will lose all the installed programs.

If you want to keep both your files and programs, I recommend you Windows 10 recovery tool free AOMEI Backupper. With it, you can restore your computer from system image backup. If you already have a system image backup, you can see below. If not, you need to create Windows 10 system image to USB flash drive on a working computer first.

To create a backup image, you need to download this software and select System Backup, and then follow the instructions on the screen.

System Backup

How to restore Windows 10 from USB backup?

To restore Windows 10 from recovery USB, you still need to create a bootable media with AOMEI Backupper. You can use CD/ DVD as well as USB drive as the storage device.

Now, start with the detailed steps.

Step 1. Connect bootable media and USB drive which contains system image backup to your computer. And then press a special key to enter BIOS and boot from the bootable media. After that, you will see the interface of free AOMEI Backupper.

Step 2. Click Restore.

Step 3. Click Select Image File to select the system image backup created on USB drive and click Next. (If you just want to restore non-system partition, you can launch the freeware and click Restore directly).

Select Image File Winpe

Step 4. Select a backup point and Click Next to move on.

Select Backup Image

Step 5.Select to restore the entire backup or a part, then click Next.

Restore Windows 10 from USB

Step 6. Select the destination path to restore backup and click Next. Then, confirm the summary and click Start Restore to execute the operation. When the progress reaches 100%, click Finish to exit.

Select Destination

If you want to transfer os from one computer to another, you need to tick Enable Universal Restore. But this feature is only available on the paid version. You need to upgrade to AOMEI Backupper Professional before you run Universal Restore feature.

The way forward

With the help of Windows 10 recovery drive, restoring Windows 10 from USB becomes very easy. You can choose to restore from a drive. Also, you can use System Restore feature. In Addition, you still can use installation disk if you do not have a recovery drive.

However, all of them have limitations. Restore from a drive option can remove all your files, even the disk. System restore does not affect your files but it will get rid of the recently installed apps. To keep both your files and apps, I recommend you free AOMEI Backupper and restore Windows 10 from USB system image backup.