How to Create Bootable Recovery Partition for Windows 8.1

Even though Windows 8 and 8.1 are the ‘so-called’ most loved as well as the most desired editions of Windows operating systems today, people in corporate still do not prefer using these OSes, but Windows 7. In fact, you must be surprised when I tell you that Windows XP is still a preferred version of Windows series of OSes.

As you know that Microsoft has already announced that they no longer provide Security Updates and Support services for Windows XP, people have no other option, but to upgrade to a new edition of Windows OS – either Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1. Today, you can hardly get a new laptop or PC with Windows 7 preinstalled. Most of them are available with Windows 8. Those who are not comfortable with Windows 8 go for a clean Windows 7 reinstall after formatting the boot drive clean. They sometimes feel like reverting to the previous version of OS with the system recovery option, using either the recovery disc or a recovery USB drive.

What is Recovery Partition?

A recovery partition is a special drive on your PC, which enables you to factory restore your PC or restore your PC to an initial working state, in case it fails to boot due to corruption in Windows or a like cause. The recovery drive works exactly how a bootable disc does the job. With a properly created recovery partition or drive, getting your system back to a healthy state is always easy and productive. Therefore, it is all the way mandatory to create it the right way for fruitful results.

The following is a real-time scenario that discusses a clean Windows install, thereby formatting the boot partition clean to erase the previous version of Windows. The scenario also portrays the need for reverting to the previous OS installation. See how it is:

“Right after the official release of Windows 8, I purchased a brand new Dell laptop with Windows 8 preinstalled. I, initially, was not very comfortable with Windows 8, but things got a little better after I upgraded to Windows 8.1. Later, since I’m a corporate user, I experience Windows 8 based PC is minimizing my interest in the work, and then I decided to install Windows 7 – my most favourite OS amongst all the versions of Windows operating systems. Before formatting the boot partition containing Windows 8, I created a recovery USB, wondering if I ever had to get back to Windows 8. I formatted the Windows 8 partition clean and installed Windows 7. Now, after more than one and half a year, I’m no longer using that laptop for my Office work, so I decided to get back to Windows 8.1. However, when I tried to get back to the previous installation of Windows, it shows ‘missing recovery partition’ or partition has been deleted.” – I seriously want to go back to the previous version of Windows, but I’m not able to. Need help.

As per the aforementioned scenario, the recovery USB fails to get your PC back to its working state, i.e. when Windows 8.1 installed on it. The most likely reason is that you failed to create the recovery USB properly. Therefore, the only way you can get back to Windows 8.1 is to go for a complete Windows 8.1 reinstall. In the following section, see how you can create Windows 8.1 USB recovery drive.

Create Recovery Drive

Windows 8.1 PCs have an inbuilt tool to create a USB recovery drive that enables you to restore your PC to a working state even when it fails to boot. Most of the users create a USB recovery drive and delete that inbuilt recovery drive to claim the drive space, i.e. 3 - 6 GB. However, make sure you create it properly to get the intended job done properly. The following are the steps you need to follow in this regard:

  1. On your Windows 8.1 PC, drag the cursor of the mouse to the bottom right corner and then drag it upwards and click in the Search bar.
  2. Type in ‘recovery drive’ in the search bar, and then click or tap the ‘Create a recovery drive’ option.

    (Enter the Administrator password when prompted.)
  3. When the recovery drive tool opens, see if the ‘Copy the recovery partition from the PC to the recovery drive’ check box is checked. With this check box checked, click the Next button to proceed.

    Important: If your PC has no recovery drive, then the check box greys out.
  4. Now, you need to insert a USB drive with storage capacity equal to what is required and shown on the screen.
  5. Select the drive that you want to create and use as the recovery drive, and then click the Next button.
  6. Click the Create button.
    (This will copy the recovery image as well as the recovery tool on the selected USB drive.)
  7. Do any of the following after the USB recovery drive is created successfully.
    a.    Click ‘Delete the recovery partition’ option to delete it. Click Delete to allow.
    b.    Click Finish to keep the recovery partition on your PC.

You now have the USB recovery drive for your Windows 8.1 PC. However, you must be very careful while restoring your PC to the previous version of Windows. Failure in restore may cause one or more partitions missing. In order to recover missing partitions on Windows PC, use an advanced partition recovery software for Windows.

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