Creating a Recovery USB

Creating a Recovery USB

March 28

Attention: This article is out of date. To create a bootable USB or CD, you can now use the latest StorageCraft Recovery Environment. This is integrated into the ShadowProtect IT Edition software.

Editor’s note: First, we’d like to point out that there are some USB drives that don’t work as a bootable device. Also, this article was written using third party software, which we don’t support. While creating a recovery USB can be effective, StorageCraft doesn’t officially support putting the Recovery Environment on a USB at this time. Please use these tips carefully and at your own risk as we cannot guarantee success. If you do boot successfully, we can provide support for the recovery environment. 

If you’ve recently purchased StorageCraft ShadowProtect for the first time, or if you’ve only ever used bootable CDs, you may not know how to create a recovery USB. The intent of this article is to show you how to create a bootable recovery device using an external USB flash thumb drive. All you will need to complete this process is the downloaded ShadowProtect ISO from our website (click here to download) and a flash thumb drive with at least 2 Gb of free space. You will be erasing your flash drive during this process so please remove all important data off of the drive before continuing.

It seems that the industry is moving away from bootable CD/DVD formats and moving towards booting off of a network, a reserved partition, or a solid state USB device.  Perhaps this is why bootable USB thumb drives are becoming a more popular way for IT professionals to carry their software toolkit around in their pockets. In this article we will be formatting a USB flash drive with a bootable ShadowProtect recovery environment much the way you might create a bootable ShadowProtect CD/DVD.  For my example I used a free application called “ISO to USB” which you can download here.

So here’s what I did. I downloaded ShadowProtect using this web page and my ShadowProtect license.  After saving the ISO to my desktop I then plugged in my flash thumb drive (reminder: please make sure all important data is off your thumb drive as it will be erased).  Then I started the ISO to USB software, selected my ISO file and selected my USB Drive. I checked the “Bootable” checkbox and then clicked on the “Burn” button. Make sure that the bootable checkbox has been checked so that the application will properly format the USB as a bootable partition.

After the process completes, you’ll have a bootable USB with the ShadowProtect recovery environment and driver library. The next time that you need to take a backup of your system or to restore your system from a previous backup just insert the USB, turn on the device and make sure that you select the option to boot from a USB. After a few seconds you will see the recovery environment load with ShadowProtect and you’re ready to go.

Photo Credit: Peter Hosey via Compfight cc

  1. John sloop on

    I did the same thing using command line to make my usb bootable and extracting the .iso to the flash drive using WinRAR.

    Rather than using a 2gb just to accomodate the SP iso, I used a 64gb drive so that I can take an image of the machine I’m booting and save straight to the flash drive rather than setting up a share and bringing network speed to a crawl while I back up the device. But that’s just my 2 cents.

  2. Steven Snyder on


    Excellent comments! Thank you for contributing to this blog post by sharing your ideas and experience. We’re all about creative ways of using our amazing tools.

    I wanted to also point out that there are some USB drives that don’t work as a bootable device. Also, I’m using a third party software which we don’t support. So StorageCraft doesn’t officially support putting the Recovery Environment on a USB at this time. My intent with this article is to spur discussion and creative thinking.

    Many times we’ll hear great comments like yours on ways to use our product that we hadn’t thought of before. We rely on this constructive feedback to constantly improve upon the product.

    Please, keep those comments coming. We’re glad you’re finding new ways of using our tools to make your lives easier.


  3. Greg on

    This appears to no longer work on their 6.1 and 6.1.1 versions. I tried FAT32 and NTFS partitions as well.

    It appears they switched to some sort of linux boot to do this.