Recovery disk vs repair disk: key differences

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
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what is the difference between Recovery disk and repair disk

Windows desktops and laptops very rarely don’t boot up. However, when they don’t boot as expected, a recovery drive or system repair disk can be invaluable.

Those are two alternative types of recovery media that enable you to restore and troubleshoot Windows 10 without logging in to a user account. A recovery disk or repair disk can be invaluable insurance for no boot scenarios.

What are the main differences between a recovery drive and a repair disk?

A system repair disk is something you can set up in Windows 10, 8, and 7. That is a user created DVD/CD which provides various system repair utilities.

A system repair disk includes these troubleshooting utilities: Startup Repair, System Restore, System Image Recovery, Windows Memory Diagnostic, and Command Prompt. When users need to, they can boot from their system repair disks to utilize those tools.

A recovery drive, also known as a recovery disk, is similar to, but not entirely the same as, a repair disk. It provides access to similar repair utilities as the system repair disk.

In addition, however, a recovery drive includes Windows 10 or 8 system files so that you can reinstall a platform with it if required. So, it provides a backup copy of Windows 10.

Recovery drives can be in the form of discs or USB sticks. Some manufacturers provide system recovery disks for Windows 10. For example, the HP Recovery Disc for Windows 10 is retailing on Amazon.

Desktops and laptops used to come with OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) supplied recovery discs, but bootable hard drive partitions are a more prevalent alternative these days.

However, you don’t need to get a recovery drive from Amazon. You can set up a USB recovery drive in Windows 10 with the Recovery Media Creator utility. Note, however, that the Recovery Media Creator utility is not available in Windows 7.

How can I set up a recovery drive or a repair disc?

How to set up a recovery drive

  1. To set up a USB recovery drive in Windows 10, insert a USB stick (with more than 8 GB storage) into the desktop or laptop.
  2. Click the Type here to search taskbar button.
  3. Enter ‘recovery drive’ as the search keyword in the text box.
  4. Click Create a recovery drive to open the window shown directly below.Recovery Drive window recovery disk vs repair disk key differences
  5. The Back up system files to the recovery drive option will probably be selected by default. However, select that option’s check box if it isn’t.
  6. Click the Next button.
  7. Select the USB stick to turn into the recovery drive, and click the Next option.
  8. Press the Create button.

Can’t create a Recovery drive in Windows 10? Don’t worry, we’ve got the right solution for you.


How to set up a repair disc

  1. You can set up a repair disc in Windows 10 via the Control Panel. Insert a blank, rewritable DVD into the disc drive.
  2. Launch Run by pressing the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut.
  3. Input ‘Control Panel’ in the Run box, and click the OK button.
  4. Click System and Security in the Control Panel.System and Security applets recovery disk vs repair disk key differences
  5. Click Back up and Restore Windows 7/10 to open the options shown directly below.The Back up and Restore applet recovery disk vs repair disk key differences
  6. Click Create a system repair disc, which opens the window in the snapshot directly below.
    Create a system repair disc window recovery disk vs repair disk key differences
  7. Select DVD RW Drive on the on Drive drop-down menu.
  8. Click the Create disc option.
  9. Thereafter, a Create a system repair disc window will open requesting that you label the disc. Click the Close button.

You can’t open Control Panel? Take a look at this step-by-step guide to find a solution.


Most users will probably never really need a recovery drive or system repair disc. However, Windows 10 alone is installed on almost one billion devices; so recovery drives or system repair discs will come in handy for a few users when bootup issues arise.

At any rate, it’s quick and straightforward to set up a recovery drive or system repair disc for Windows, which provides extra insurance.

If you have any other questions or suggestions, leave them in the comments section below and we’ll be sure to check them out.

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