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Create Windows 10 installation media

Article for: Most users
Difficulty: Moderate
Importance: Only to recover from catastrophe

On top of my tower computer is a plastic sandwich bag with two DVDs. One is a Macrium reflect emergency recovery disk, the other a Windows 10 installation disk. I wrote an article explaining some reasons for using Macrium Reflect to image your system. This article is about why you should also make a Windows 10 Installation disk every time Microsoft does a Windows 10 feature update. No need after regular updates, only with major feature updates.

Using a Macrium Reflect Recovery disk

The Macrium Reflect recovery disk requires that you also make Macrium Reflect images onto external media like a USB drive. If you boot with this disk, you can restore the entire computer to the state it was in when the image was made. This includes all programs, printer drivers, video drivers, and data.

Using Windows Install Media

Booting from your Windows Installation media disk will give you four options:
  1. Keep everything. This will re-install Windows over your current Windows and keep everything else. It preserves all programs and drivers and data. This is an excellent option if Windows itself became corrupted and simpler methods failed.
  2. Keep Personal Data. This removes all your programs and re-installs Windows. This is useful if some program and Windows has issues. It also keeps anything on secondary drives.
  3. Keep Nothing! Yikes. This wipes out everything and leaves you with just Windows. No applications, drivers or data.
  4. Clean Install. This is the option for horrible malware that has infected your computer and you can't get rid of it. The entire drive and other attached data drives are totally wiped and reformatted.

How to make Windows Installation media

Microsoft has very clear and simple instructions here.

Date: July 2020

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This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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