How to Make a Recovery Disk for Windows XP Backup

Updated February 21, 2017

You might have lost a Windows XP recovery disk, but if you are doing a backup, you will need to have one on hand in case the entire hard drive is wiped clean on the computer. These are the steps to take in order to create your own recovery disk for Windows XP. Make sure that you have gathered everything together before you begin.

Write the serial number on both the blank disk and the original Windows XP installation disk, using a permanent marker.

Go to My Computer and choose the C:\ drive. Find and open the XP folder; then create a new folder by right-clicking in the window and choosing New Folder. Name this folder DRIVERS.

Open the new DRIVERS folder and create new folders for VIDEO in which you will put your display adaptor drivers. Put all of your network adaptor drivers in a new NETWORK folder, and make a new folder for your modem drives if you use your modem.

Go to to get the IsoBuster program to pull the boot loader file from the original Windows XP installation disk. Download and install IsoBuster. Open it and then choose the letter of your CD drive from the list. Select and highlight the Bootable CD folder on the left, and then drag the BootImage.img file into your hard drive by copying and pasting it into the C drive.

Insert the blank CD into your CD-R or CD-RW drive. Open the C: drive and drag and drop the XP folder into your CD drive.

Use the BootImage.img file when prompted by your CD writing software program. When the process is complete, your disk will be ejected. You will need the serial number when you reinstall Windows XP on your computer.


If you do not have the original installation disk that came with your computer, but you have the serial number, you can call either the manufacturer of your computer or the business who sold it to you to request another copy. You should be able to get one free of charge since you already paid for a genuine copy of Windows XP when you bought your computer. The Windows serial number will be located on the Microsoft sticker attached to your computer. If your copy of Windows is registered with Microsoft, you could also get it from the company.

Things You'll Need

  • Original XP installation disk
  • Blank CD-R disk
  • Permanent marker
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