How to Copy a Recovery CD to a USB Flash Drive

You may want to copy the recovery or installation CDs that came with your computer to a USB flash drive. This makes it easier to use the software on a computer that cannot boot up properly due to viruses or too much data. Copying a recovery CD to a USB flash drive is not difficult, but it is not as simple as directly copying the files. You must copy a smaller version of the CD's file to a properly formatted USB flash drive.

Turn on the computer and plug in the USB flash drive.

Download and open the USB flash drive formatting software and follow the steps to reformat the USB drive to hold larger files. You can find several free formatting programs on the web, such as MKBT, UNetbootin and HP Drive Key Boot Utility (see Resources).

Double-click on "C:\" in the "My Computer" folder to open the hard drive.

Click "Folder Options" under "Tools" at the top of the window. A smaller window will open.

Check "Show hidden files and folders" and uncheck "Hide extensions for known file types" and "Hide protected operating system files" under the "View" tab. Click "OK."

Type "BOOT.INI" in the search bar on the "Start" menu and press "Enter." Copy it to the USB flash drive.

Type "NTLDR" in the search bar on the "Start" menu and press "Enter." Copy it to the USB flash drive.

Type "NTDETECT" in the search bar on the "Start" menu and press "Enter." Copy it to the USB flash drive.

Insert the recovery disc in your computer and open the PE Builder software.

Click "Source" in the main window for PE Builder to find the location of the recovery disc. Uncheck "Create ISO image" and "Burn to CD."

Click "Build" to create a copy of the recovery CD using less memory. It will automatically save it to your computer.

Type "CMD" in the search box in the "Start" menu to open the command prompt window. Type "C:\pebuilder313\plugin\peinst" and press "Enter." Type "PEINST.CMD" in the window and press "Enter."

Press "1" and "Enter" to select the smaller copy of the recovery disc you made using PE Build. Press "2" and "Enter" to select the USB drive.

Press "5" and "Enter." This will install the copy of the disc on the USB drive. When complete, eject the USB flash drive and the recovery disc.

Things You'll Need

  • Recovery disc
  • 2 GB USB flash drive
  • USB formatting software
  • PE Builder software
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About the Author

Based in New York City, Emma Nichols has been writing news and technology-related articles since 2007. Her work has been published in "The Beak" and by NBC Universal. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Eugene Lang College.