HOW TO: Use a USB Drive for Recovery for Windows

Article:TECH149880  |  Created: 2010-07-21  |  Updated: 2011-02-09  |  Article URL
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Technical Solution


This article details how to create a recovery disk to use a USB disk device.




Note: This article applies to Windows Vista and Windows 7.

While the chances are low that a master boot record could become corrupt on a boot disk or partition protected by PGP Whole Disk Encryption, it is possible. To prepare for this unlikely event, create a recovery USB drive before you encrypt a boot disk or partition using PGP Whole Disk Encryption. You must have a Windows Vista or Windows 7 setup disk to create the bootable disk.

To use a USB drive for recovery, you must make the USB drive a bootable disk.

Use the following steps to make a bootable USB drive:


  1. Insert the USB drive.
  2. Click Start > All Programs > Accessories and then right-click Command Prompt and select Run as administrator. If prompted, click Yes. The Administrator: Command Prompt window opens.
  3. Type diskpart and press Enter.
  4. Type list disk and press Enter.
  5. Type select disk # and press Enter (where # is the number of your USB drive).
  6. Type clean and press Enter.
  7. Type create partition primary and press Enter.
  8. Type Select partition 1 and press Enter.
  9. Set the partition to active by typing Active and then press Enter.
  10. Type Format fs=ntfs and press Enter.
  11. Assign a drive letter by typing Assign=<drive letter> and press Enter.
  12. Type exit and press Enter. Do not close the command prompt window.

When complete, the formatted USB drive is ready to be made bootable.


  1. Insert a Windows Vista or Windows 7 Setup disk into the DVD-ROM drive and note the drive letter of the DVD-ROM drive and USB drive.
  2. At the command prompt, change to the DVD-ROM drive by typing D:and press Enter. Where D is the drive letter of the DVD-ROM. Then type CD BOOT.
  3. Type bootsect /nt60 x: (Where x: is the drive letter of your USB drive).
  4. Create a WinPE disk.

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