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Creating Recovery Discs or Saving a Recovery Image to a USB Flash Drive (Windows 7)

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This document pertains to HP and Compaq computers that came with Windows 7.
This document describes how to create recovery media that you can use to restore your computer to its original condition in case of a major problem with your computer.
HP strongly recommends that you create recovery discs or create a recovery USB flash drive as soon as you receive your computer. If your HP computer with Windows 7 does not have the HP recovery program, or if the recovery discs or USB drive was not created before the recovery partition was damaged or erased, you will need to find a set of the HP recovery discs that match your model number from the Internet or install a new operating system.
HP recovery software allows you to make only one recovery backup . These backup files contain the original operating system, drivers, and application software that shipped with the computer.

Recovery media options: Discs or a USB flash drive

Your computer might have one or two options for creating recovery media. Use the option that works best for you.
To determine which options are available to create recovery media, click Start ( ), click All Programs , and then click Recovery Manager .
  • If Recovery Disc Creation displays in the list, you can use discs only.
  • If Recovery Media Creation displays in the list, you can use either discs or a USB flash drive.
Depending on the media options that your computer provides, follow one of the procedures below.
HP recommends that you create recovery discs immediately after purchasing your computer. This section describes how to create a recovery disc set.
View a video on creating recovery discs in Windows 7

Features and important information about creating recovery discs

The following is a list of features and important information about creating recovery discs:
  • Recovery Media Creation software creates a set of system recovery discs using blank, writable DVDs (DVD-R, DVD-R DL, DVD+R, or DVD+R DL). HP recommends using blank DVD+R discs. Use a name-brand label from a manufacturer you trust, as these recovery DVDs are very important. You need approximately 4 blank DVD+R discs. The Recovery Media Creation software program states how many discs are needed at the beginning of the process.
    NOTE:Only DVD-R, DVD-R DL, DVD+R, or DVD+R DL discs are compatible with the Recovery Media Creation program. The following disc types are not compatible with the Recovery Media Creation program:
    • CDs
    • DVD-RW
    • DVD+RW
    • DVD-RW DL
    • DVD+RW DL
  • The Recovery Media Creation software program allows only one complete set of discs to be created.
  • The Recovery Media Creation software program requires an uncorrupted recovery partition (Recovery Image (D:)) to create a set of discs. Uncorrupted means the recovery partition has not been modified or removed.
  • The creation process takes about 30 minutes per DVD. The entire recovery set does not need to be created in one session.
  • The Recovery Media Creation software can be aborted at any time, except during the writing (burning) process, by clicking Cancel . The next time the Recovery Media Creation software program is run, it automatically starts where it last stopped.
  • You can use the recovery discs you create on your computer on another computer only if the second computer is the same model as the one that created the recovery discs.

Creating recovery discs from Windows 7

Follow these steps to create your recovery disc set.
NOTE:Use DVD+R discs if your disc drive supports the DVD+R format. CDs and DVD-RW/DVD-RW discs are not compatible with the Recovery Disc Creation program.
NOTE: If drive encryption software is running while creating discs, file verification errors can occur. If you are using drive encryption software, such as bitlocker , disable drive encryption before creating your discs.
NOTE:Your computer screens might vary slightly from the screens shown below.
  1. Disconnect from the Internet and close all other programs. Creating recovery discs is a resource-intensive process. You should not use your computer for other work while the computer is creating recovery discs.
  2. Click Start ( ), and enter recovery manager into the Search field.
  3. If a User Account Control message opens, click Yes or enter your login password, whichever is required. For best results, HP recommends that you temporarily disable Windows User Account Control .
    A Recovery Manager window opens.
  4. Click either Recovery Media Creation or Recovery Disc Creation , whichever is shown in the Window.
    NOTE:If Recovery Media Creation or Recovery Disc Creation is not available (grayed out), then a recovery image has already been created. Due to license restrictions, only one set of recovery media can be created. Any new recovery media must be ordered online or obtained using another method.
    Figure 1: Recovery Manager: Recovery Media selection
    Recovery Manager screen with Recovery Media Creation selected
  5. Do one of the following, depending on what is shown in the Recovery Manager window:
    • If Welcome to Recovery Disc Creation is shown, click Next to continue.
    • If Welcome to Recovery Media Creation is shown, select Create recovery media using blank DVD(s) , and click Next to continue.
    Figure 2: Recovery Manager: Recovery Media selection
  6. The Recovery Disc Creation program displays the number of discs needed to create your set of recovery discs.
    Obtain the same number of blank DVDs as shown in the window and label them, according to their disc number, using a permanent marker.
    For example, if your recovery requires 2 discs, mark the first disc 1 of 2 and the second 2 of 2 .
    Figure 3: Recovery Disc Creation: Number of discs needed
    Number of discs needed
  7. Insert the first blank DVD and close the disc tray. Click Next to continue.
    NOTE:An AutoPlay message might open when you insert the blank disc. If it does, close it by clicking on the x in the upper right corner. This message has nothing to do with creating recovery discs.
    A verification window opens, showing the disc type and the number of discs needed.
    Figure 4: Recovery Disc Creation: Disc verification window
    Disc verification window
  8. Click Next .
    The Recovery Disc Creation window opens and displays the status of the following processes:
    • Collecting files - The program collects needed files from the recovery partition.
    • Writing files - The program burns the first disc.
    • Verifying disc - The program verifies the contents of each disc.
      Figure 5: Recovery Disc Creation: Creating disc 1 of 1
      Creating disc 1
    CAUTION:Cancelling the write process in the middle might result in a corrupted and unusable disc. Before cancelling, wait until the disc has completed its write and verification process and prompts for the next disc.
    NOTE:If the disc creation process cancels automatically while collecting files, temporarily disable Windows User Account Control .
  9. Wait for a message stating that disc creation was successful.
    Figure 6: Recovery Disc Creation: Disc creation successful
    Disc Creation success screen
  10. When the disc has been created, the disc tray opens automatically.
  11. If prompted for another disc, insert it into the disc tray.
    NOTE:The AutoPlay message might display on the desktop. If it does, close it by clicking on the x in the upper-right corner. This message has nothing to do with creating recovery discs.
    The same process begins for Disc 2 and subsequent discs, if they are required. With the successful burning of each disc, a Disc creation successful message displays and the disc tray automatically opens, allowing you to retrieve the disc.
  12. Continue creating discs until Recovery Disc Creation has successfully created all recovery discs.
    Figure 7: Recovery Disc Creation: Recovery Disc Creation complete
    Recovery Disc Creation complete message
  13. Click Finish .
  14. Be sure all discs are marked appropriately, and save them in a safe place.
    CAUTION:It is important to protect the discs you created. Store these discs in a safe dark place away from sunlight.
  15. If you attempt to create another set of recovery discs after successfully creating one set of discs, a screen displays stating only one recovery set is allowed. Your only choice is to click OK and exit the program. If the first recovery disc set is incomplete or damaged and this message opens, use another method to obtain new discs. See Looking for Recovery Discs? .
Resolving disc verification failures
If the computer ejects a disc and a disc verification error message displays, the disc burn on that disc was unsuccessful. Do not exit from the system recovery disc process. Instead, insert another disc to complete the disc creation process. If the error occurs again, use a different brand of writable disc.
If the disc creation process fails and you need recovery discs, see Looking for Recovery Discs? .
HP recommends that you create recovery discs immediately after purchasing your computer. This section describes how to save a recovery image to a USB flash drive.
View a video on saving a recovery image to a USB flash drive

Features and important information for saving a recovery image to a USB flash drive

The following is a list of features and important information:
  • Use blank, high-quality USB flash drive no greater than 32GB and one that is NOT branded as Windows 8 compatible.
  • Temporarily disable Windows User Account Control if User Account Control is enabled. Doing so decreases the chances of encountering problems during the process.
  • The media creation software allows only one system image to be created. If you created a set of recovery discs, you can not create a system image on a USB drive.
  • The media creation software requires an uncorrupted recovery partition (FACTORY_IMAGE D:). Uncorrupted means that the recovery partition has not been modified or removed.
  • The image creation process takes about 30 minutes.

Saving a recovery image to a USB flash drive in Windows 7

Instead of using discs, you can create a recovery solution on certain blank USB storage devices. With a USB flash drive, you do not have to swap discs and the recovery process completes much faster.
NOTE: If drive encryption software is running while creating this media, file verification errors can occur. If you are using drive encryption software, such as bitlocker , disable drive encryption before creating the media.
  1. Disconnect from the Internet and close all other software.
  2. Click Start ( ), and enter recovery manager into the Search field.
  3. If a User Account Control message opens, click Yes or enter your login password, whichever is required. For best results, HP recommends that you temporarily disable Windows User Account Control .
    A Recovery Manager window opens.
  4. Click Recovery Media Creation .
    NOTE:If Recovery Media Creation is not available (grayed out), then a recovery image has already been created. Due to license restrictions, only one set of recovery media can be created. Any new recovery media must be ordered online or obtained using another method.
    Figure 8: Recovery Manager: Recovery Media selection
    Recovery Manager screen with Recovery Media Creation selected
  5. Select Create recovery media with a USB flash drive , and click Next to continue.
    Figure 9: Recovery Media Creation
    Recovery Media Creation welcome screen
  6. Click Create recovery media with a USB flash drive , and then click Next .
    A verification window opens, showing the hard drive locations for removable discs.
  7. Select the location for your USB flash drive, and then click Next .
    Figure 10: USB flash drive location
    USB flash drive location
  8. A Recovery Manager message opens stating that the flash drive will be formatted. Click OK to format the USB flash drive and continue.
    NOTE:Formatting this flash drive deletes any files on the drive.
    Figure 11: Verification message
    Verification message
  9. Wait while the software creates your recovery media.
    Recovery image creation happens in two stages:
    First, the software copies the files to the USB flash drive.
    Figure 12: Copying files screen
    Copying files screen
    Second, the software verifies that the files were copied successfully. A screen displays for each process.
    Figure 13: Verifying files screen
    Verifying files screen
  10. Click Finish when Recovery Manager has successfully created the recovery media.
    Figure 14: Media creation successful message
    Media creation success screen
  11. Store the USB flash drive in a safe, protected place.
  12. If you attempt to save another recovery image to a USB flash drive after successfully saving one recovery image, a screen displays stating that only one recovery set is allowed. The only choice is to click OK and exit the program.

Frequently asked questions about creating HP recovery media

Why do I get the message, "Recovery disc has been created"?

Due to licensing restrictions, you can create only one HP recovery solution from your computer. This message appears when recovery media has already been created. If you purchased a previously used computer or from a store but the computer was already opened, then recovery media was probably created before you purchased the computer and this message is normal. If the computer is less than a few years old, then you will likely be able to obtain a recovery solution from HP. There might be a charge depending on the warranty status of the computer, the Country/Region the computer was purchased, and the condition that is causing the message. For more information, see Looking for HP Recovery Discs or an HP USB Recovery Drive?

I get an errors when creating discs, what can I do?

Disc compatibility or other software is likely interfering. Safe mode prevents non-essential services and software from opening when Windows loads. Open Recovery Manager while in Windows safe mode to create your discs. For more information about Windows safe mode, see Windows 7 Safe Mode . If problems persist, use new discs of a different, high-quality brand that you trust. HP recommends using the DVD+R format with your drive.

When I try to create a USB flash drive, it does not detect my USB storage device. Why?

The HP recovery manager software is not compatible with many USB storage devices larger than 32GB. HP Recovery Manager displays the total size of the source files when going through the creation process. You can stop at this screen during the creation process to know what size of storage device you should use. Use a storage device that is larger than the size of the source files, but not larger than 32GB.
Also, USB flash drives that are branded with the Windows 8 compatible logo do not work. USB devices with this logo are set up to work with Microsoft's Windows 8 To Go feature and do not display in Windows as an external device. Instead, they function in Windows like an internal hard drive and appear as a Local Disk. Since HP recovery creation software looks for external media, a USB storage device with the Windows 8 compatible logo does not appear in the list of devices (and cannot be used as recovery media).
Figure 15: Windows 8 Compatible logo on USB device product packaging - do not use
Windows 8 Compatible logo

When I create HP Recovery media, does it save software I installed... like Office?

HP recovery restores the software image to its original condition. Any software that was installed later is removed when you perform an HP recovery.
If you want to save all the software on your computer at any given point in time, use Windows 7 to create a system "image". You can then use this system image to restore all software on your computer to the way it was at the time you created the system image. To learn how you can create a system image, see Creating and Using a System Image to Restore Your Computer (Windows 7) .