How do I make windows system recovery faster in the future?

So, my Windows 10 box has died. It takes forever to boot, and when it does finally boot, I get a bunch of errors about missing windows files and nothing will run, even built-in things like cmd.exe.

All the hardware seems fine, and I am able to boot off a live linux cd and read files on the drive (there’s nothing important on the C: drive but the OS and installed programs), and I have backups, so I’m not worried about data loss.

But it looks like I will have to reinstall Windows. I made a bootable Windows USB drive and none of the recovery/repair options work. Which means I’ll have to go through the hassle of reinstalling and configuring all my programs.

What can I do this time to make that recovery easier in the future? I’m pretty sure I did make a Windows recovery point in the past, but since the Windows install is so hosed that even booting off a clean USB version couldn’t fix it, I think it’s a lost cause. Maybe there’s a way to do so on an external drive?

Install Linix, add a Virtual Machine manager (ie VMWare) create a VM, install Windows, snapshot it. Run up a clone of the snapshot. Use that. When it is hosed, flush it and clone the baseline. Every now and again you will need to update the baseline with patches etc. But when you do, make a clone of the baseline, only add the updates, close it down. It becomes your new baseline.

This actually the only way I ever run Windows if I can help it. Never let the wretched thing run native on the hardware. Only ever ends in tears. The above has the advantage that coping with malware is trivial as well. You nuke it from space and start again from the baseline.

Obviously your user level files get stored outside of the VM. This is a good idea anyway.

Hard drives, even SSDs are so cheap (relative to convenience) that I have an extra HDD/SSD and make a clone of my installation, swapping out the drive instead of reinstalling. I then clone the newly installed drive to the old one. I update the clone only after making sure any any changes I made to the original install are trouble free.

I also use Windows Backup (to a separate internal drive) for minor restores.

The problem with this is that now I’m a linux sysadmin (and I’m not a good linux sysadmin).

Also, I use Windows primarily for gaming, which is problematic when not run on the bare hardware.