Here’s the disaster scenario: A hard drive, with your operating system, fails and needs to be replaced. You run to the store, pick up a new hard drive, return home, install it, turn your computer on and you’re greeted with “Operating System Cannot be found.” You look for your Windows or Mac installation DVD; but then you remember, who uses DVD’s anymore. In fact, what company nowadays still sends out installation disk? This is where creating a USB recovery drive of your operating system before the disaster strikes pays off.

Creating a Bootable USB Recovery Drive for Windows.

Step 1: Download the Media Creation Tool from Microsoft’s website

Step 2: Launch the tool and follow the step-by-step instructions. Make sure you know what version of Windows you have. This information can be found in Windows Control Panel under System.

Step 3: Store your USB Recovery Drive of your operating system in a safe place! You hope you never have to use this; but in the event you have to, you’ll be glad you have it handy.

Creating a Bootable USB Recovery Drive for Mac

One of Mac’s selling points for years has been how simple it is to operate, however, simplicity sometimes comes at a cost. In this case, making a bootable USB drive isn’t as easy as Windows. Instead of reinventing the wheel, I have included a link to Macworld’s Dan Frakes great article “How to make a bootable OS X 10.11 El Capitan installer drive” that walks you through the complicated.

The purpose of this article is to stress the importance of having a bootable USB recovery drive of your operating system to complete the Building a Bulletproof Backup System.

Does it matter if the recovery USB drive has the most current version of my OS?

No; this is meant to get an operating system on a new drive. Don’t worry if it doesn’t have the latest updates of the operating system; it just has to be the same version. Once the new hard drive has an operating system restored, you can connect to your external drive that holds a backup of your most current operating version.

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