How to Create and Use Windows 10 Recovery Image Backup

You will learn how to create system image Windows 10 on USB so as to restore your computer with Windows 10 recovery image in the event of system crash or other unexpected issues.


By Ivy / Updated on November 3, 2023

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Need to create a Windows 10 recovery image

Have you experienced system crash or data loss? 10% of computers get infected with virus 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 crash, you should create a Windows 10 recovery image backup. An image backup copies everything on your system drive including operating system, files, installed programs and settings into a compressed image file.

If the system crashes or it 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 Windows 10 image to new hard drive with the help of Windows recovery tool in Windows 10.

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

Create Windows 10 system image on USB with built-in tool

To create 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 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  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 drive 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 CD/DVD disc and your computer has floppy drive. 

Choose Dvd

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

It supports creating 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 options 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 drive, so you can select any device you have.

Download Tool Now Windows 10

Use System Image Recovery to restore Windows 10 recovery image 

To restore from Windows 10 recovery image, you need to access Windows 10 recovery environment window. 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, and set boot priority for it and restart your computer. Then, click Next and Repair your computer

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

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

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

Create recovery image for Windows 10 with AOMEI Backupper

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 point and select your USB drive as destination location. If it's not connected, you need to connect first. This software will automatically include 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 system image on 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 USB drive or CD/DVD, which does the same effect as system repair disc or boot USB. But it's not limited to the same computer, you can use it on different computer, 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

Your choice

Windows 10 recovery image is necessary for you to get your computer back easily and quickly, so you need to create system image backup on USB drive or other locations. For the methods, you can use 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 system image to a larger drive, or you will receive the system restore failed error. And it is not allowed to restore system to a different computer.

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