Create a Recovery Disc

How to Create a Vista Recovery Disc
This will show you how to download or create a Recovery Disc for both the 32 bit and 64 bit Vista.
How to Create a Vista Recovery Disc

information   Information
This will show you how to download or create a Recovery Disc for both the 32 bit and 64 bit Vista.
Note   Note
The Recovery Disc created here does not install Vista. It is also not like the OEM Vista recovery DVD that comes with most store bought computers created from the factory recovery partition. Instead it is used only to boot from to repair your already installed Vista. See the example below for the options available from the recovery disc when booted from.
Tip   Tip
This can be useful if you only have a OEM Vista recovery DVD or partition and would like to have a dvd to boot from to repair your Vista instead of reinstalling it. Plus, the recovery disk files are small enough to fit on a CD if you do not want to or can use a DVD.

EXAMPLE: System Recovery Options screen
Using the Recovery Disc you create below, you can boot to the System Recovery Options screen below.


Here's How:

Replace the recdisc.exe file
Note   Note
If you have SP1 or SP2 installed, then you will need to replace the recdisc.exe file installed by SP1/SP2 with a non-SP retail version below instead for the 32 bit or 64 bit version of Vista that you have installed.
Note   Note

To see what 32-bit or 64-bit version of Vista you have, open the Control Panel (Classic View) and click the System icon, or right click Computer in the Start Menu and click Properties. You will see the bit version under the System type section.​
If you ever run the sfc /scannow command, then it will restore the old original non-working copy of the recdisc.exe file, and you would have to do this STEP ONE section again to be able to create a Vista Recovery Disc.​

1. If You Have 32 bit (x86) Vista Installed
A) Click on the Download button below to download the file.​

B) Go to step 3.​

2. If You Have 64 bit (x64) Vista Installed
A) Click on the Download button below to download the file.​

3. Save the ZIP file to your desktop.​
4. Right click on the ZIP file (on desktop), and click on Open.​
5. If prompted by UAC, then click on Allow.​
6. Extract (drag and drop) the recdisc.exe file to the desktop.​
NOTE: You can delete the ZIP file (on desktop) when done if you like afterwards.​
7. Right click on the extracted recdisc.exe file, click on Properties, General tab, the Unblock button, and on OK.​
NOTE: If you do not have a Unblock button under the General tab, then the shortcut is already unblocked and you can continue on to step 8.​
8. In Windows Explorer, navigate to C:\Windows\System32\recdisc.exe. (See screenshot below)​
9. Take ownership of and set permissions to Allow your user account Full Control of the recdisc.exe file at the location in step 8.​

10. Right click on the extracted recdisc.exe file on the desktop from step 6, and click on Cut.​
11. Go back to the C:\Windows\System32\recdisc.exe window and right click on a empty area and click on Paste. (See screenshot below step 13)​
12. Click on Copy and Replace and Continue.​
13. Right click on recdisc.exe, and click on Send To and Desktop (create shortcut).​
14. Move the shortcut to where you like for easy use.​

Creating a Recovery Disc
15. Double click on the recdisc.exe shortcut on your desktop created from above to run the program.​
16. Select your DVD drive, and click on create disc. (See screenshot below.​

17. Insert your retail Vista installation DVD into the CD/DVD drive, and click on Continue. (See screenshot below)​

18. You will now see this. (See screenshot below)​

19. After a little bit, it will ask you to replace the Vista installation DVD with a blank CD or DVD.​
A) Insert a blank CD or DVD into your CD/DVD drive and click on OK. (See screenshot below)​

20. When it is finished, click on Close for both windows. (See screenshots below)​

21. Now you can boot from this Recovery Disc to go to the System Recovery Options screen in the example above.​

That's it,

Last edited by a moderator:
Shawn Brink



Thanks again for another excellent tutorial. Many folks will benefit from your hard work :D

Edit: Side note, process has been tested and works like a charm.
Last edited:
Before I spend the hours trying, I'll ask if these seems possible.

I was uninstalling sp1 rc1 to prepare for sp1 rtm install. The uninstall failed and got into reboot cycle where it could constantly BSOD on nvlddmkm.sys. I booted to safe mode and it continued on with the uninstall (supposedly). After it "FINISHED" the uninstall, it rebooted and came up to a screen where it said "service pack did not uninstall. reverting changes. do not turn off your computer". Now everytime I try to boot it, Last known, safe, safe w/network safe w/cmd prompt, normal, debug, etc. it says the same thing.

This process seems to be for creating a recovery disk from an operational Vista PC but mine is not. But what I was thinking of trying was doing a clean install on a different hard drive on the same computer and creating the recovery disc. Then using that recovery disc to fix the other install.

Do you think that will work?

I have tried the auto repair startup from the install disc with no luck. I am just trying to avoid a reinstall.

This whole event makes me regret rebooting my machine to do the rc1 to rtm upgrade of SP1. Prior to this reboot, my machine had been up for 48.5 days without reboot.

Dell PE SC440
Xeon 3060
4GB Crucial Ram
nVidia 8400GS
SB Audigy
2x WD 160GB SATA II drives
Hi CheeseMan,

Welcome to Vista Forums. :party:

Sorry, I do not believe that will work. The recovery disk here or on a Vista installation DVD will not help uninstall any SP1 version.

I'm afraid a reinstall is going to be your only option in this situation. Be sure to backup anything you do not want to lose first though.

Sorry, :(
Ugh.... I knew that was likely to be the case. It just stinks because I have a lot of programs to re-install if/when I decide to take that route!
CheeseMan, that's strange. I suppose you can cleanup the hard drive to make the needed space and try again to hopefully avoid a clean reinstall.

UNFORTUNATELY... the failed uninstall has completely cleared my installed updates section. Leaving me with no way to uninstall UNLESS I can get my hands on an RC1 SP1 install exe. I got it via Windows Update originally and the command line uninstall requires the exe in order to manually uninstall.

Here's the kicker, after I cleared up 500MB (yes, with an M) of disk space, the ROLLBACK OF THE UNINSTALL (essentially putting RC1 SP1 back on) completed and I was back to my 50GB (yes, with a G) of free disk space on that drive.

Know where I can get a RC1 SP1 install exe?
hiya, i currently downloaded your file and put it in my computer to us it as a recovery disc but not sure how to continue??
i recently bought my computer and when i got it home i got it set up and when i turned it on, a screen come up saying bootmanager.
and that there files missing or corrupt:S
apprently vista is on my computer but i didnt get any disc to help me out. now it has read the disc and iv gone throught the language section and it has come up with install now or repair your computer?? im not sure what to do as i know vista is on there it just wasnt setting up. can someone help please??
Hi Floobs,

Welcome to Vista Forums. :party:

You would select Repair your computer now to go to the System Recovery Options screen. From there you should select the Startup Repair option. This tutorial will show you how to do this part.

Hope this helps you,
thanks for the reply, i did that too after i posted and it restarted and went back to the boot manager, iv got 2 options now, home premiuim and vista home premium (recovered). if i click the home premium it takes me to user which where at this point aint entered a password. so i cant get past that stage, and if i go into the (recovered) one it starts with the vista screen please wait and then this black box comes up does alot of writing which is too quick to read and then goes bk to boot manager. so either way im not getting anywhere. :S
What happens when you try to enter the password on the first home premium option?

Have you tried leaving it blank and pressing Enter?
What happens when you try to enter the password on the first home premium option?

Have you tried leaving it blank and pressing Enter?
hiya yes iv tried leaving it blank it didnt work.
home premium one is the only one i get the chance to enter a password.
the other one says (recovered) in brackets i dont know wot that means.
but the recovered one is where the black screen comes up scrolls alot of writing down and it looks like your gunna get to the vista bit and it goes off restarts and goes bk to te boot manager. so im stuck on the 2 options. :(
Looks like it may be time to do a complete reinstall then. It may be to corrupted to just repair. I hope you had backups of anything you did not want to lose. Your computer should have a recovery partition on it that you can boot into by pressing something like F11 usually. You will need to check with your computer's documentation to be sure, usually on a DVD or at their website for your computer model.

From their you can select reinstall.

If you need help on this, just tell me the brand and model of your computer. I'll look up the instructions for you at their site.