Jimmie Bates wants to know if he should ever update his Windows recovery disk. I checked with Microsoft to get the full story, and here’s what I found out.
Windows 8 and 10 have a built-in tool to create a rescue disk, aka Recovery Drive.
First of all, let’s be clear about what the recovery disk is. It’s not an image of your entire OS installation, or a full system backup. According to Microsoft, a user-created recovery disk for Windows 10 includes a bootable recovery environment along with the following:
- Windows Component Store
- Installed drivers
- Backup of preinstalled Windows apps
- Provisioning packages containing preinstalled customizations (under C:\Recovery\Customizations)
- Push-button Reset configuration XML and scripts (under C:\Recovery\OEM)
All this disk will allow you to do is fix a broken installation of Windows, either by repairing boot files or performing a reset of the OS itself, should it be unbootable. It does not include any of your data files, so you should always have a backup. This is also another situation where keeping your data files on a separate partition from the OS will come in handy.
If you want a full system backup you’ll need to either clone or make an image. And to definitively answer the question posed in my headline, you do not need to update a recovery disk once it’s created.