I just installed Windows 8.1 on my computer. I am trying to create a recovery drive.

I click start, type "recovery", hit "Create a recovery drive". I click next once, and this is what I see:

We can't create a recovery drive on this PC

Some required files are missing. To troubleshoot problems when your PC can't start, use your Windows installation disc or media.

This seems to be a common problem with Windows 8.1, but so far I haven't found a solution.

  • You need a Windows 8.1 installation disk to fix this problem. – Ramhound Sep 21 '14 at 19:46

I'm assuming you are trying to create a USB recovery drive.

According to the microsoft site here:


Creating a recovery drive will erase anything already stored on your USB flash drive. Use an empty USB flash drive or make sure to transfer any important data from your USB flash drive to another storage device before using it to create a USB recovery drive.

If you have a valid key, then it could be one of these problems:

  • You do not have the original Windows 8.1 DVD inserted in the DVD drive (you must have the original Windows Installation DVD in order to make a recovery disk).
  • You do not have a USB drive inserted, or your USB drive is unformatted, not formatted properly, or faulty.
  • You do not have a recovery partition already existing on which to install the recovery (to install in a recovery partition, you must first make the partition, because this process does not create a new partition).
  • Your version of Windows is corrupted.
  • Your version of Windows is not genuine and has been corrupted before install.

Also, according to the Microsoft site here, make sure you follow these directions:

Step 1: Connect a USB drive to the computer and backup all data before proceeding to the next step as the drive will be erased during the process.

Step 2: Switch to desktop mode. Press Windows + R keys to launch Run dialog. In the dialog type control.exe and then press enter key to launch the Control Panel.

Step 3: Click on change View by to Small Icons to view all tools and options. Click on Recovery to launch Recovery window.

Step 4: Next, click on Create a recovery drive option. Click Yes for the User Account Control prompt to launch Create a recovery drive wizard. If you are asked to enter the admin password, please do so.

Step 5: Click Next button, the wizard will scan the computer for all connected USB drives.

Step 6: In the following screen, select the USB drive that you wish to use as recovery drive and then click Next button, and finally click Create button. Windows will transfer required files onto the drive and the recovery drive should be ready.

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I had the same problem, in my case the issue was that the file winre.wim was missing from my system. It contains the Windows recovery files.

Inserting a Windows 8.1 DVD didn't help.

To get a copy of a Windows 8.1 winre.wim, I had two options (there may be others).

One - On a different Windows 8.1 system open an elevated command prompt and type:

reagentc /disable

This copies the winre.wim file from the hidden recovery partition to C:\windows\system32\recovery, copy it from there. When done enable the Windows Recovery environment again:

reagentc /enable

Two - If you have a Windows 8.1 ISO or DVD, mount the install.vim and copy the winre.wim from there. Create an empty directory such as C:\mount. Then again open an elevated command prompt and type:

dism /Mount-wim /wimfile:D:\sources\install.wim /index:1 /mountdir:C:\mount /readonly

then open C:\mount\windows\system32\recovery and copy Winre.wim from there. Unmount:

dism /Unmount-Wim /Mountdir:C:\mount /discard

Now that you have a copy of Winre.wim, copy it into C:\windows\system32\recovery on the PC that is missing it.

Finally again in an elevated command prompt:

reagentc /enable

This will move Winre.wim and enable the recovery environment, you should now be able to create a recovery USB drive.

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  • My retail Windows 8.1 install.wim image doesn't have Winre.wim under recovery. Infact if I search the contents of the mount, there's no Winre.wim file. – garlicman Mar 28 '15 at 20:17

I had the same issue. But initially I had OEM installed Windows 8 SL and upgraded to Windows 8.1.

I created boot USB flash drive successfully with instruction described at page Create installation media for Windows 8.1.

On boot from flash USB flash drive I obtained option "Repair your computer" along with button "Install now" (in the left bottom corner)

I have pre-installed Windows 8 on my laptop and had no product key written down somewhere. So I extracted it with Belarc Advisor 8.4.

I have not tried full process of recovering, just created bootable USB flash drive and successfully started laptop with it.

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  • When linking to other pages, you have to ask yourself "Is my answer still worthwhile if the links go dead?" make sure the link content is summarized well. – studiohack Feb 14 '15 at 3:07
  • In fact links are useful here because of software references on that pages. If links become broken then software becomes unavailable. Is it any benefit in summary of such content where main benefit in software contained? – sergtk Feb 14 '15 at 12:15

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