I am in the process of setting up an Inspiron 5567. Either the download for the feature Win10 update began on its own, or I okayed it. Now I see I was suppose to create the recovery drive for Windows before updates. I have a slow connection speed due to being in a very rural area, so this download took quite a while. Now I need to find out if I have messed up by downloading and installing this big update before the recovery drive creation. I have not contacted tech support yet--live chat is not available and no tech email address is given. I would appreciate help with this question before I proceed further. Thank you!
If the update said, "Feature Update to Windows 10" and was very large, then it's probably an upgrade to the current release of Windows 10. For example, your PC might currently be running Windows 10 1607 or 1703, and that update would take you to Windows 10 1709. The next release called Windows 10 1803 will start rolling out next month, in fact. Anyway, those updates absolutely do update the Recovery partition.
In terms of creating the recovery drive, if you've downloaded but not yet installed the update, then you can still create it. However, all that really allows you to do is reinstall a clean copy of Windows, which of course is better than having a completely unusable system but still isn't ideal. The far better option if you have adequate storage on another hard drive (or large flash drive) would be to capture a full system image so that if the update goes badly, you can restore your entire system to exactly the way it was before the update, rather than just resetting to a fresh copy of Windows without any of your applications or data. Macrium Reflect Free is a popular tool for capturing system images and as the name suggests, it's free. With that solution, you would create "Rescue Media" inside their application so that if your system ever died, you would boot from the Rescue Media and then use that environment to restore your system image. Some people even capture system images on a regular basis as part (or all) of their backup strategy rather than just doing it before major changes like upgrades to the next release of Windows, but if you want to use it as a frequent backup solution, you may want to consider the paid version of Macrium Reflect, which has some additional features that you might want for that use case.
The update was version 1709. I have not updated anything else yet. I am not knowledgeable about backing up hard drives. I am not sure what is meant by the recovery partition--is that the part of the OS that will be saved to the flash drive? I have a new USB 32G flash drive. When I check the C drive, it shows about 61GB has been used--does that mean I need a much larger flash drive? I also have a 2T Seagate external drive that should have plenty of room. Should I use that? The computer is not used for business, but I do want to be able to be prepared in case of failure. I would probably be able to use Macrium Reflect Free, because I would not be making frequent/periodic captures. Let me know if you need more information. I look forward to your comments and suggestions. One question--whatever way I decide to create the recovery drive, should I proceed with the updates on the BIOS, drivers, and any other important updates before or after making the recovery drive? Thanks so much!
I'd suggest you create the recovery drive before installing anymore drivers or windows updates onto the system. Please check out the link below, hopefully it will help answer some of your questions.
How to Create a Recovery Drive Windows 10 (Official Dell Tech Support)
After you created the recover drive, I suggest you test it to see if the drive is functional. Once you see the recovery tools, you know the drive will work.
1. Power on system, plug recovery drive into a USB port
2. Power off system.
3. Power on system, quickly start tapping F12 key continuously until you see Preparing one time boot menu in the top right corner of the screen.
4. At the boot menu, select the recovery drive under UEFI BOOT
5. In windows setup, select your keyboard language. At the Choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot
The Recovery partition is a hidden partition on your internal hard drive that contains some tools that can help recover from an unbootable system. Windows will automatically boot to it if it fails to boot the main OS, and there are some other times it can be used. If you want to capture system image backups of your system, storing them on your 2TB drive would make a lot more sense. It's possible that if you only have 61GB in use, it would fit on a 32GB flash drive because of system image compression, but it would be close, and unless that's a very high performance flash drive (unlikely if it's only 32GB), then writing to the 2TB drive will probably be faster anyway.
To be honest, I've never bothered with the recovery USB drive option in Windows because I'm perfectly comfortable installing Windows from scratch if ever required and if I want something that allows a quick recovery, a system image is a far superior tool, which means the recovery USB drive serves no purpose for me. But yes I believe it's basically a copy of the fairly rudimentary tool set that's also found on the system's Recovery partition. Unless you're referring to the USB recovery drive that can be created using the Dell Backup and Recovery tool as opposed to the built-in Windows tool. The Dell tool I believe creates a bootable flash drive that allows you to return your system to its "out of the box" state, i.e. the way it shipped from the factory. That's obviously a bit more useful, but I also believe it's possible to download the necessary files to create that onto another PC later if needed, although of course if you wouldn't have ready access to another PC if that one was down, it's a bit more challenging. That said, you could always use Macrium Reflect Free to capture a backup of your current state and keep that as your "factory restore" image, and then if desired make regular/periodic image backups going forward in case you just want to roll back to a recent backup after an app installation or Windows update that goes wrong rather than rolling all the way back to the factory state.
As for the timing of BIOS and driver updates, it doesn't really matter. The BIOS update is system firmware embedded into the motherboard, so that definitely won't make a difference, and if you're just making a Windows recovery flash drive, they don't include drivers anyway, so again no difference. If you're creating a system image, updating drivers means you'll have more current drivers out of the box if you ever need to restore that image, but then again drivers will probably have been updated again by that point anyway. And since part of the point of an image is to have a failsafe in case an update goes wrong, there's even a case for capturing the image before you install or update much of anything at all.
MANY THANKS to you who have responded. I am beginning to get a better idea of what I need to do. I appreciate the link, suggestions, and explanations.
What I was trying to do is follow the Quick Start Guide that came with the laptop: 'In Windows search, type Recovery, click "Create a recovery drive", and follow the instructions on the screen.' When the feature update occurred before I could do the steps in order, I wanted to find out what I should do since I was past the point of being able to get an out-of-the box state. Also, I am getting educated here about having a recovery option vs. a system image. With Macrium Reflect and the external hard drive, surely I can come up with enough protection in event of a big problem.
Thank you for your time and help--much appreciated!