Windows – Creating a USB System Repair Disc

More and more laptops are getting smaller and light weighted. Meaning they are running on SSD hard disks, but lacking a DVD drive in most cases.

So bottom line, even if you created a System Image (Win 7).

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You will need a System Repair Disk to install the image again.

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Unfortunately Win 7 only gives you the possibility to write to a DVD drive Sad smile

Solution Windows 7 :

Download TotalMounter from KernSafe (don’t use this on Windows 8 or later ! )

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After installing the software, you can start it, and choose Mount.

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Next select Virtual CD/DVD-RW

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Create a new file of type CD, leave the Size default, and point to a folder where you want to create the the ISO file (give it a name like Repair in this case).

And finish

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It will show up as a physical DVD Drive (F:)

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Next start the create System Repair Disc.

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It will recognize the DVD drive. Run it and check the result.

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If all goes well you will see the ISO file that contains the Repair Disc files.

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Open it using for example 7-Zip and extract the files.

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Once extracted you can copy the files to a USB pen drive.

But make sure you have your USB drive properly prepared (be aware that it will erase all existing data on the USB drive) :

Open the command prompt: “Run” -> CMD
And then type the following commands:

  • DISKPART
    • (This command will open a new window called “diskpart”)
  • Type => list disk
    • (Look for the No. assigned to your USB key from the list that appears. Based on the size you are able the find it)
  • Type => select disk 1
    • (Where No. 1 correspond to your USB key. And No. 0 might be your hard drive)
  • Type => clean
    • (This will delete this partition)
  • Type => create partition primary
    • (Create a new partition)
  • Type => active
    • (This will make your partition active – bootable)
  • Type => format fs=fat32 quick
    • (Quick format in “fat32”)
  • Type => assign
    • (To assign a letter to your USB drive)
  • Type => exit
    • (To exit diskpart.exe)
  • Type => exit
    • (To close the initial command prompt)
  • Now your are ready to copy the files accross

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That’s it, you just created a USB repair drive for Windows 7.

A Different method you can use is to run the create System Repair disc as is.

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Since you don’t have a DVD drive it will fail. But if you go to the %Temp% folder you can see the file being created

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You need use a File Unlocker to get hold of it.

Solution Windows 8 :

For it is a bit easier, because it can natively write to a DVD and a USB stick.

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But you can use the old school method as well, using recdisc.

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Some Tips :

Now that you have the repair tools, you are not out of the woods yet?

When booting you may have saved the Image to a network drive or NAS in your network.

Well don’t be surprised that you won’t get access to the drive, because the network driver you need is not loaded during booting.

So my tip is download the drivers and store them as well on the USB drive.

Or use the Double Driver Backup Tool. Which extracts all drivers and saves them in a ZIP or in Folders.

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This tool is available as a stand alone tool no installation needed as well.

So now you are fully equipped.

Hopefully you will never need it, but you never know !

Saved me some headaches Smile

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