Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

How to create complete backup of Windows installation?

  1. #1

    Posts : 1
    Windows 8.1 Pro

    How to create complete backup of Windows installation?

    Hello! This is my first post, so I would like to apologize in advance in case I do something wrong.

    At the time I installed Windows 8 on my computer, I didn't know too much about GPT partitioning, so I went ahead and put the Windows partition before the MSR and EFI partitions and didn't think too much of it. Then, I went and installed the Windows 10 Technical Preview in a new partition after the MSR/EFI partitions, and like the fool I am, I ignored the warning about how my partitions were in the wrong order for GPT disks. Now that the MSR and EFI partitions are sandwiched between my two Windows installations, I can't add space to my Windows 8 partition or transfer that partition's space to another partition, as shown below...

    Click image for larger version I am going to start all from scratch and do the partitioning right this time. I don't really care about restoring my technical preview installation, since I only use it to test features, but I need to find a way to completely back up my primary Windows 8 installation in such a way that I can restore after I reinstall and not have to reinstall all my programs again and change all my settings. I have investigated the system image creation/restore tool, but I have a few questions about it:

    1) The system image creation tool forces me to include the EFI system partition and the recovery partition in the image. If I restore from that image after I partitioned correctly (in the order EFI, MSR, Windows, Recovery), will it revert back to the old partitioning configuration or can I choose how I want the restoration to go (i.e. can I choose to have the old EFI partition restore to the new one)?

    2) I store all my program files on an external hard drive. If I restore from the image, will I be able to use the programs without reinstalling them?

    If the system image will not restore programs and/or will revert to the old partitioning configuration, is there a built-in alternative to it (I would prefer not to use third-party software) or maybe even a way to move partitions around without horribly damaging the installation?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails diskmgmt.jpg  

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    Posts : 2,613
    Windows 3.1 > Windows 10

    in my sig below is recovery media with partition tools and imaging tools.. you will be booting into a special edition of winPE
    you can image just the windows partition or the whole system..
    You may even be able to move the three partitions (one not shown MSR reserved) before windows
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3

    Posts : 111
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center

    When you create the System Image using the System Image Recovery feature on Windows 8 and 8.1, it will back up the full system, along with your programs. So if you decide to go that route, when you restore the system image, the system will be restored back to when you created the image, so everything will be the same, however, the hard drive will be reformatted to use the partitions created in the system image, because it will automatically recover them, as they are saved with the system image itself. So you would be reverting back to the original configuration.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4

    If you make a complete disk backup using Macrium Reflect, it does allow you to restore those partitions in a different order by dragging and dropping the individual partitions to the "target" disk. Whether or not your PC will then work properly, I do not know -- as I don't know if the partition order is important.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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