Difference between Recovery Drive and System Image in Windows 10

Difference between Recovery Drive and System Image in Windows 10

Creating backups of important data is a very good habit. And, if you’re using Windows 10, then there are different options for creating a data backup. Among them, the two most useful methods to create data backup are Recovery Drive and System Image.

If you confuse these two great backup options and don’t know which one will be useful to you, then the following article will help you find the difference between Recovery Drive and System Image in Windows 10.

What is Recovery Drive?

The role of Recovery Drive is to return the computer system to its original state

As you can guess from the name, the role of Recovery Drive is to return the computer system to its original state. The initial state can be anything – factory settings or your copy of Windows environment. This feature is quite similar to using the factory reset option on an Android or iOS phone. This feature will almost format your entire computer, but will not include desktop applications and any other personal data.

This is because this setting will return the computer to what it was when you originally started, but usually with a smaller capacity. All third-party applications and programs are left in the process. So this is not a good option when you have to retrieve deleted files or other data.

This is the last step used in scenarios like when the computer stops responding, crashes, and nothing else works for you. Some people also refer to Recovery Drive as Recovery Disk or System Recovery Disc. In the past, people used to use CDs or DVDs to store backups, but today, pen drive devices are preferred, as they are easy to carry around.

Today, most computer devices come with Recovery Drive built in, but hidden from the user to protect drive integrity. However, with Windows 10, this feature has been reset, since you need a separate bootable USB Recovery Drive.

To know how to create Recovery Drive for Windows 10, readers can refer to: Creating a Recovery Drive for Windows 10 for more details.

What is System Image?

The System Image creates a copy of an entire hard drive partition

The System Image is very different from the Recovery Drive because it creates a copy of an entire hard drive partition (a large file). The System Image is often used to make a backup of a primary partition or when you install a Windows operating system. This is because it contains user data, program files, registry entries, all other files and folders related to the operating system.

In the conventional sense, the System Image file is larger than the Recovery Drive (since all user data, along with third-party applications and programs installed on the computer are backed up). By using this file, you can easily access a specific file and folder from there without going through the entire restore process.

This option is preferred when you have to recover deleted files or applications. On the other hand, it will remove other drives present in the computer from the process. That is why Microsoft has packed different backup options in the system for users to use according to their needs.

Refer to the article: How to backup and restore Windows 10 from System Image to know how to use this useful tool.

What is the difference between Recovery Drive and System Image?

System Image allows you to recover everything on your system, including multiple drives. Recovery Drive on the other hand only allows you to copy the most needed files from the system drive.

Obviously Recovery Drive and System Image are both important parts of the backup process. When you want to recover some apps or files, you should use System Image. For user settings, Recovery Drive is a good choice. That’s why both are equally useful and important.