How to Create and Use Windows 10 Recovery Image Backup

Read this article to learn how to create system image recovery Windows 10 on USB so as to restore your computer system and lost data with Windows 10 recovery image in the event of system crash or other unexpected issues.


By Ivy Updated on May 20, 2024

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What is Windows 10 recovery image

A Windows 10 recovery image is designed to aid in system troubleshooting and restoration for software failures or critical errors. This image contains a snapshot of Windows 10 OS, including system files and tools required to diagnose and resolve issues. One key feature of the recovery image is the ability to perform system image recovery, which allows users to restore their computer to a previous state using a previously created system image.

System image recovery is a crucial aspect of Windows 10 recovery image functionality, enabling users to restore their system to a previous state when encountering significant software issues or data loss.

Benefits of creating a Windows 10 recovery image

Have you experienced a system crash or data loss? 10% of computers get infected with viruses every month, and nine out of ten computer users have encountered hardware failure. There are too many unexpected things that could cause data loss. To greatly reduce the risks of data loss and system crashes, you should create a Windows 10 recovery image backup.  There are other benefits of creating a Windows 10 recovery image:

🎈System Restoration: A recovery image allows users to restore their system through system image recovery. This ensures that users can quickly recover from system failures and maintain system stability.
🎈Data Protection: By including essential system files and tools, a Windows 10 recovery image enables users to protect their data against loss or corruption. Users can rely on the system image recovery to restore their files and applications, minimizing the risk of data loss.
🎈Troubleshooting Support: With a recovery image at hand, users have access to advanced troubleshooting tools and utilities that can help them effectively. This empowers users to diagnose and repair their systems independently, reducing reliance on external support resources.

If the system crashes or is infected with ransomware, you can restore your computer with Windows 10 system image recovery and get everything back. If your hardware fails, you can restore the Windows 10 image to a new hard drive with the help of the Windows recovery tool in Windows 10.

👉 Create a Windows 10 system image on USB with a built-in tool
👉 Use System Image Recovery to restore Windows 10 recovery image
👉 Create recovery image for Windows 10 with AOMEI Backupper🔥

Create a Windows 10 system image with a built-in tool

To create a Windows 10 recovery image, you should save the image backup to where no system is installed, thus the backup image will not be affected by computer failure. For example, you can backup Windows 10 to an external hard drive or network drive. 

Also, to complete this task, you will need a backup and restore software. Don't worry about this too much,  Windows has its built-in feature named Backup and Restore(Windows 7), which was released in Windows 7 and later inherited in Windows 8/10.

Then, follow the steps below to create a system image Windows 10 backup on USB.

1. Make sure the backup drive to receive the image backup is well connected to your Windows 10 computer.

2. Right-click on Start and select Control Panel >All Control Panel Items > File History. If you use Windows 10 Home, you will not see the Control Panel option at Start. In that case, you can search File History to open it.

Open File History

3. Down the left corner, click on the link to System Image Backup. In the next window, click Create a system image.

System Image Backup

4. In the Create a System Image window, specify a place to save your Windows 10 recovery image (on a hard disk, on one or more DVDs, or on a network location), and click Next. All the removable devices including USB drives will be listed under the On a hard disk option. Then click Start Backup to get started.

Select Backup Destination

This process may take a few hours, so it is recommended to start system image backup at the end of your workday. Besides system image backup, you can also create Windows 10 recovery points to protect your system. You can access this feature through Control Panel > All Control Panel Items > System > System Protection.

When the backup is complete, you will be asked to create a system repair disc, you can choose to create one if you have a CD/DVD disc and your computer has a floppy drive. 

Choose Dvd

If not, you can choose to create a Windows 10 recovery drive with a built-in Recovery Drive feature.

It supports creating a recovery drive on a USB flash drive and gives you an option to back up system files to the recovery drive, thus you will have one more  Windows 10 recovery option for troubleshooting - Recover from a drive. 

Backup System Files

In addition, you can choose to download Windows 10 recovery USB  on the Microsoft download page. It supports CD/DVD or USB drives, so you can select any device you have.

Download Tool Now Windows 10

Use System Image Recovery to restore Windows 10

Restoring the Windows 10 recovery image involves accessing the System Image Recovery, which you can do by restarting your computer and pressing a specific key combination during startup. Once in the recovery environment, navigate to the option for System Image Recovery tools, where you'll find the tool for restoring system images. Follow the on-screen instructions to locate and restore your previously saved Windows 10 recovery image.

Here are two ways:

>> In Windows 10, go to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery. In the Advanced Startup section on the right, click the Restart Now button.

>> From boot, insert the recovery media you created in advance, set the boot priority for it, and restart your computer. Then, click Next and Repair your computer

Then, follow the steps below to restore the Windows 10 recovery image using System Image Recovery.

1. In the Choose an option window, click Troubleshoot > Advanced optionsSystem Image Recovery.

System Image Recovery

2. Select the operating system you want to restore, here is Windows 10

Select Windows 10

3.  In the re-image of your computer window, tick Use the latest available system image. Then, click Next.  

Use the Latest Available System Image

4. In the Choose other restore options window, choose Format and repartition disks option, then click Next > Finish > Yes.

After you follow these steps, you can make the system image recovery and get your computer back in a very short time. But if you restore the system image to a smaller drive, either HDD or SSD, the restore process will fail, because it does not support restoring to partition layouts that are smaller than the original disk. 

At this time, you can choose to create a Windows 10 recovery image with a different backup and restore software like AOMEI Backupper Standard.

1. It supports creating Windows 10 system image backup with the System Backup feature and then restoring the created image in the Restore tab.
2. The backup image is a compressed image file with the extension .afi or .adi, which can only be read by all versions of AOMEI Backupper. It can avoid any unwanted access.
3. It still provides many useful features, such as schedule backup, incremental backup, email notification, etc.

An Easy tool to Create recovery image for Windows 10

1. Download and install this free backup software. Then, in its main interface, click Backup and select System Backup.

Download Freeware Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

System Backup

2. Click where the arrow points and select your USB drive as a destination location. If it's not connected, you need to connect first. This software will automatically include the required partitions for a full system restore. 

Select Destination

3. Click Options or Schedule Backup to customize backup settings. Then, click Start Backup to create the system image on a USB drive. 

Options: You can comment on this task, set pre/post-command, enable email notification, enable normal or high compression level, etc.

Schedule Backup: You can set daily incremental backup or daily differential backup (supported by the professional version) to continuously backup your system and changes made after the first full backup. Also, you can change daily to weekly or monthly per your needs. 

Start Backup

The process will also take a few hours, you need to wait patiently until the process is complete.

After that, you can choose to create a bootable media using a USB drive or CD/DVD, which has the same effect as a system repair disc or boot USB. But it's not limited to the same computer, you can use it on different computers, including all versions of Windows 10/8.1/8/7/XP/Vista. 

Create Bootable Media

If your computer fails to boot, you can boot from the bootable disk and then go to the Restore tab and restore the Windows 10 recovery image backup. Then everything will be like when you have taken the backup.

Select Image File Winpe

FAQs about System Image Recovery

1. Will system image recovery delete all my files?
Yes, when you initiate a system image recovery, it will replace all the data on the destination drive with the contents of the system image. Essentially, it deletes everything currently on the drive and replaces it with the files and settings saved in the system image.

2. How does System Restore differ from system image recovery?
System image recovery creates a complete replica of your entire hard drive, including the operating system, applications, settings, and files. On the other hand, System Restore allows you to roll back your system to a previous state without affecting your personal files. It primarily focuses on reverting system settings and configurations.

3. What is the purpose of system image recovery?
System image recovery serves to safeguard your entire system by creating a comprehensive backup of your computer's system drive. This backup includes the operating system, installed programs, settings, and data. Its main purpose is to provide a reliable way to restore your computer in the event of system failure or data loss.

Your choice

Windows 10 recovery image is necessary for you to get your computer back easily and quickly, so you need to create a system image backup on a USB drive or other locations. For the methods, you can use the built-in tool Backup and Restore(Windows 7) or third-party software AOMEI Backupper Standard, both of them can help you.

If you are using the built-in tool, please remember to restore the system image to a larger drive, or you will receive the system restore failed error. And it is not allowed to restore the system to a different computer.

If you want more advanced features, you could consider using AOMEI Backupper. If you upgrade to the Professional version, you can execute Windows 10 system image restore to a different computer using the Universal Restore feature, ensuring your computer is bootable after restoring. For server users, you could use the AOMEI Backupper Server.

Ivy · Editor
Ivy is an editor of AOMEI Technology, she covers backup & restore,hard disk & partitions management and cloud files transfer and so on for AOMEI. She is an outgoing girl and enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She usually hangs out with friends at her leisure time.