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Can't create recovery drive in Windows 8.1

Posted on 2014-04-30
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Last Modified: 2014-04-30
I am using Windows 8.1 and want to create a recovery drive. I used the Disk Management program to create a 1.5gb partition and assigned letter "R" to the partition.
I then ran the recovery program, selected this partition and clicked next to begin. However, the program quickly responded that it was unable to create the recovery drive. (at this point, the system had removed letter "R" from the partition).

Am I doing something wrong? Do I need to prepare the partition differently?

Thank you.
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Question by:Lev Seltzer
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 40031811
For one, you probably need more than 1.5GB free space for the "recovery partition". The backup tool makes an image of your current installation, and Windows 8.1 needs something like 12GB space just for the OS without anything else. You are probably using more than that if you have installed software and have data on the same disk already. Although the backup image as far as I know does use compression and the image should be smaller than the original space used, it won't compress down to 1.5GB total.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40031827
My recovery partition on my Windows 8 machine is 12.7 Gb, So I agree with the above.

It should work with more space, so check that first.

If you started with Windows 8 and upgraded to Windows 8.1 (different operating system), then it is possible something went wrong in the upgrade. I have seen that once before.
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Author Comment

by:Lev Seltzer
ID: 40031829
the recovery tool said a minimum of 500mb, and the failure occurred immediately without any mention of insufficient space.

So while I might still run into such a problem, I feel that there is some other problem at this stage.
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Author Comment

by:Lev Seltzer
ID: 40031845
I started with Windows 8 and upgraded to 8.1
So what could I do to fix this?
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John Hurst earned 500 total points
ID: 40031870
I have a Windows 8 Pro Laptop that I reimaged a while back on a new hard drive. That worked. Then I upgraded to Windows 8.1 and that is working (nearly a year later).

I just tried creating a Recovery drive on a USB key and that worked flawlessly.

However I cannot run a Windows 8 Refresh. The source files were apparently overwritten or deleted in the Windows 8.1 upgrade.

So I do not know precisely what went wrong except that something may have gone wrong in the Windows 8.1 upgrade.

Try making a Recovery Drive to a USB flash key. See if that works.
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Author Comment

by:Lev Seltzer
ID: 40031888
I was able to create one on a USB Flash Key without a problem.
Does this mean that it won't work on the hard drive, and I'll need to set aside one USB flash key as a recovery drive?
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40031891
I have done some experimenting on and off (my system works perfectly well right now) and I have always created the recovery to a USB flash drive.

I have one for Windows 8 (useless now) and I just created a new one for Windows 8.1.1 and so I will set it aside.

Yes, I think that is the best approach as I would want a separate drive if I actually needed to recover.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Lev Seltzer
ID: 40031899
I created the recovery drive on a USB KEY and abandoned the idea of creating it on a partition on the hard drive.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40031908
@WEBuilder - Thank you. I think a separate USB key is a good way to go.
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by:rindi
ID: 40032642
It doesn't make too much sense to have it on the same disk as your OS is on. If the disk breaks and needs replacement, your recovery partition would also be gone.

Meanwhile I've done some testing. You can't put it on the same disk your OS is on, but you can put it on a 2nd physical disk installed in the PC. Also, if you have anything on that disk before you use the recovery option on it, that data will be lost. It removes any partition on that disk and creates a new one. If you don't select "copy the recovery partition..." option, then it will fit on a very small drive, but then all you can use the recovery drive for is to run options like fixboot or chkdsk etc, to make a system that isn't bootable anymore, bootable again for example. It won't restore your system. If you select the "copy the recovery partition...", then you will be able to restore the complete OS the way it was when you got the PC, but it will require lots of more space. But here you'll have to remember one thing, as the system was Windows 8 when you got it, it'll restore to Windows 8, even if you created the recovery disk from Windows 8.1. The reason for that is that the update wouldn't also have updated your OEM recovery partition, that is still the original...

So if you use that recovery disk to restore your system, you'll get Windows 8, as when you got the PC. And then you'll have to get all the updates, then update to windows 8.1, then get the updates for Windows 8.1... It'll take a long time.
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Author Comment

by:Lev Seltzer
ID: 40032825
Thank you for the information. I'll have to purchase a new memory stick and dedicate it to being a recovery drive.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 40032850
I'd suggest you additionally get at least one further USB drive (probably better than a USB stick is a standard HD you can attach externally to the PC, either via a USB dock, or one that already comes in a USB case, and then use the normal System Image backup utility of Windows 8.1 (or using a 3rd party tool, like Paragon's backup and recovery tool, of which the free version works fine and can be used as long as you use this privately) to make a better backup from which you can immediately restore the system to it's current state (Windows 8.1, along with everything already installed, and the data). This would make the restore process a lot faster.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40032905
If you need more space, multiple recovery disks and so on, a USB hard drive is a good option. We use these at clients. Using a USB stick works for a one time recovery drive which is why I suggested it, but the USB hard drive is also a good idea.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 40032928
Also, as all the Windows 8.1 recovery option does, is save the already existing OEM recovery partition to another disk, and as that partition never really changes, you don't have to repeat making it (you'd basically only be making a copy of the first recovery disk you made). It doesn't save your current installation or any data on it. For that you'd need a normal backup utility.

It is similar to what was provided with previous PC's, where when you bought a PC it had an OEM version of Windows 7 on it, and a recovery partition so you could restore the system back to factory defaults. For those PC's you had to use a manufacturer provided utility to create a set of recovery DVD's. As long as you didn't damage or loose those DVD's you only needed one set of them (actually manufacturers like HP made their tool so that you could only create one set). Now with Windows 8.x that isn't a tool provided by the manufacturer anymore (everyone had it's own tool and method of how it was used), but rather it is provided as part of the OS itself.
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Author Comment

by:Lev Seltzer
ID: 40032944
thanks.
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