Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Some technical questions about System Refresh

  1. #1

    A technical question about System Refresh


    Hi All. Would greatly appreciate anyone's wisdom here. Just did my first 8.1 system refresh and, in the research process, noticed what seem to be redundancies in reinstallation options. Can't seem to find an answer to this question anywhere.

    Creating a system backup image and a custom recovery image (using recimg command) seem to do the exact same thing, but the former cannot be stored on a flash drive (as far as I know) and the latter cannot be stored on an ext hd. Is it just me or couldn’t the two just be rolled into a single function with the full options of DVD, flash drive, ext HD, or the C drive? Maybe there are some system failure circumstances I'm not thinking of?

    Thanks in advance.

    Last edited by ThoughtSo; 07 Sep 2015 at 19:44.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Harrisonburg, Va.
    Posts : 10,488
    Windows 8.1.1 Pro with Media Center


    Would greatly appreciate anyone's wisdom
    I use Macrium Reflect to make system images.
    It works good for me.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    +1 for Macrium Reflect. Very straightforward and reliable to use. I even migrated my system drives to ssd's without any problems.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    I appreciate the recommendation, but what I'd really like to know is why Microsoft created the two separate functions when it seems only one would suffice.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    St. Augustine
    Posts : 388
    windows 8.1 64, LT -Windows 10 Home 64


    First off, I don't think the 2 are actually the same. Similar maybe but not the same. Personally I would not use the built-in System Image feature when there are several free programs available that have real functionality and have a good user interface. Macrium happens to be at the top of my list and I have used both the free and paid versions for several years.

    If a Custom Refresh Image is not registered I think the system pulls the Refresh Image from the Recovery Partition but again, I am no 100% positive. I also have a Custom Refresh Image registered but with Macrium images I would not invoke the Custom Image unless it was the last resort. I also think the Custom Image can be stored on whatever drive you choose as long as the drive letter was set when the Custom Image is created and the external drive is connected when you attempt a Refresh.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Thanks for your input. So custom refresh images can indeed be saved to an external hdd. I had encountered an error when previously trying this and also could have sworn I read multiple places that it wasn't possible, but I tried it again and it worked.

    So now I know that only the system backup image has a format limitation (no flash drive), but that makes sense b/c the .vhdx file created can take up so much space. Since starting the thread, I've researched and found that system image backups (whether in Windows or using a 3rd party utility) seem to be the better choice. I think all of this has finally answered my original question.

    Quote Originally Posted by gator2013 View Post
    there are several free programs available that have real functionality and have a good user interface.
    If you don't mind, can you explain what you mean by this? (sorry, I'm sorta new to this stuff)
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    St. Augustine
    Posts : 388
    windows 8.1 64, LT -Windows 10 Home 64


    Quote Originally Posted by ThoughtSo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by gator2013 View Post
    there are several free programs available that have real functionality and have a good user interface.
    If you don't mind, can you explain what you mean by this? (sorry, I'm sorta new to this stuff)
    I think the best example would be for you to go to the Macrium Reflect web site and examine the various features of their software. I use Macrium as the example only because that is what I have been using for several years and what I am most familiar with but there are others vendors as well, just Google Search "System Image Backup" and you will find numerous options.

    Macrium Software
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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