How to backup your computer, your Windows Key and to create a recovery drive to troubleshoot your computer – Windows 7/8.1/10

Step One

Find your Windows Product Key!  This is important in the event you have to reload Windows.  Use NirSoft’s ProduKey to find your key.  Download from Here. (Thanks Rick at What’s On My PC for this Tip)


Step Two

Download the ISO from Microsoft and create a Windows DVD (Operating System) from Here.   Know your Version.  You can right click on This-PC and find it


After the Media Creation Tool Download, run it and save the ISO for safe keeping (Make a DVD or put on a flash drive.

Put the ISO and Key in a place for SAFE KEEPING.

Downloading your version from the tool (below).


tool two

tool three


Burn the ISO to a DVD (Note: You can also use a blank 4 gb flash drive)

This is used with the key in the even you want to reinstall or repair Windows.

Step Three

Backup your important files and do this on a regular basis.  It is great to have an external USB drive to move your pictures, documents, spreadsheets, pdfs and other documents to the drive (Simply copy and paste or use Cobian Backup or other freeware solutions to do this).  Here’s some tips from Rick.

You can also use BackBlaze to backup files so that they are away from your home or office. (Backblaze is unlimited and only $50 annually).  Your files are encrypted and SAFE.

Step Four

Need a recovery drive to troubleshoot startups?  Here’s how to make a drive so that you can boot and troubleshoot why Windows is not starting up.

In Windows, type recovery.  Next, click on the recovery app.  Insert a 8 or 16 GB USB (Blank).  Windows will format the drive and any information you have on the drive will be deleted.   This will NOT backup your data!   It is import to always backup your data so that you will have it in the event your computer truly crashes.





If you view what is on the drive now, you will see the recover has created a bootable drive for you to troubleshoot your computer in the event is does not start up.


So what do you do if Windows doesn’t start?   Insert your USB recovery drive and use the tools to troubleshoot startup.

What if it really crashes?  Use your DVD you made to reinstall Windows and recover your files from your backups.  You may have to reinstall software such as Office or anything you may have installed.


About TCAT Shelbyville IT Department

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology - is one of 46 institutions in the Tennessee Board of Regents System, the seventh largest system of higher education in the nation. This system comprises six universities, fourteen community colleges, and twenty-six Applied Technology Colleges.
This entry was posted in Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Windows 10, Technology, Windows, Windows 10, Windows 10 Quick Tips, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to How to backup your computer, your Windows Key and to create a recovery drive to troubleshoot your computer – Windows 7/8.1/10

  1. Pingback: Problems getting updates Windows 10 | TCAT Shelbyville – Technical Blog

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