The Recovery Drive contains a compressed Windows image, some drivers, and some HP utilities -- and is ONLY used to do a factory reset of your PC. If you do anything with that drive, you risk corrupting the Recovery function.
You don't need an external drive, but a full image backup of your PC could take 32GB or more, so I would suggest a large USB stick, instead.
Using File History only backs up copies of files is not the way to do a backup such that it can be used to restore your PC.
I personally prefer to use third-party Recovery solutions as they tend to be both more flexible and more reliable than any built-in solutions.
What I recommend is the following: 1) Download and install Macrium Reflect (MR) 2) Run MR and choose the option: "Create an image of the partition(s) required to backup and restore Windows" to write a full backup to an external drive or USB stick 3) Use the option to create a boot USB stick or CD
My experience is that MR, when using the High Compression option, typically can compress the saved image file to about 50% of the USED space in the OS partition. This means if you have an 80GB OS partition, and 40GB is used, MR only needs about 20GB to store the image file.
I use this all the time and it typically takes less than 15 minutes to do the image backup and about the same time or less to do a restore.
Plus, MR has the option to Add a Recovery Boot Menu entry. This allows you then to boot into WinRE, and you can then use that to do a restore -- when you can't boot into Windows!
NOW, you have the means to restore a full working system from the USB stick in only a few minutes.
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