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Create bootable Win10 ISO USB vs Recovery Image USB?


Super Moderator
Staff member
The Windows 10 ISO is stock Windows just as if you had bought a DVD at a store and doesn't include any Surface specific configuration or drivers. Using this it will install then download drivers from Windows Update so the end result is pretty similar but there may be a few settings or tweaks and different wallpaper/backgrounds (I haven't compared them)

The Surface Recovery image will be the same as it was shipped from the factory. Of course it will then do tons of windows updates after installing as well. There may be a couple bundled apps you wouldn't get from the W10 path like possibly FlipBoard, or Drawboard, or 1 year Office 365 depending on what was included in the original configuration.


New Member
Windows 10 ISO USB could be used to perform a clean install of Windows 10 on any universal computer. While the Surface Recovery USB is designed to restore your damaged or corrupted system back to factory defaults for only Surface tablet, I think.


New Member
I see following differences between Surface recovery disk and regular Win 10 image:
1. It contains a lot of languages vs single one
2. It has customized (and nice one) setup for pairing the pen during setup
3. It contains all necessary drivers for SP, no need to download them (although never versions are available to download)
4. It creates much larger recovery partition due to extra languages and drivers (this is cons)

As you can see nothing crucial. Both are good to setup your SP.