These days, it’s de rigueur to ship PCs without any recovery discs; instead, the only thing between you and computing armageddon is a relatively small hidden recovery partition on your hard drive, which contains everything you need to restore your computer to its factory condition in case of disaster.

That’s all well and good if your hard drive doesn’t go kaput, or you don’t inadvertently delete your partition, but what then?

AOMEI OneKey Recovery is the solution: this allows you to recreate the system recovery partition with one major difference: it basically takes a system image of your hard drive in its current state, which means all your customisations and so on are preserved, so use with care if you keep your data on the same partition as your Windows installation and all your programs.

The program appears simple to use – a few clicks and you should be on the way to creating the recovery partition. But it’s actually a bit more complicated than that. First, you’ll need the Windows Automated Installation Kit installed on your PC – a link is provided, but it’s one of many hurdles to jump through.

You’ll also need enough free space on your primary drive for the recovery partition to squeeze into. In this initial release, AOMEI OneKey Recovery only works with your primary drive, you’ll either need to clean out your Windows drive and move data to another partition to free up the required amount of space, or investigate a more conventional drive-imaging tool such as Macrium Reflect.

Once the backup has been created, you’ll be able to recover your system via the AOMEI recovery environment by pressing [A] on startup. Then it’s just a case of restoring your computer to the state it was in when you took the backup.

Everything works as it should – the app is careful to check the state of your disk’s health before it attempts to back it up – but it feels a little clunky in places, particularly the requirement for the Windows Automated Installation Kit, which is a hefty additional download (1.7GB) and requires burning to disc. However, OneKey Recovery does at least do the job it’s designed to do – eventually…

Version 1.6 (Changelog):

Upgrade AOMEI OneKey Recovery freeware to charged software
Add five editions:Demo, professional, Server, Technician, Technician customization
Fixed some bugs of previous version.

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If you want to recreate your computer’s recovery partition or create a custom one based on its current setup, AOMEI OneKey Recovery does the job, but there are a few hurdles to jump through.