Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Help needed in using System Image Backup in Windows 8.1

  1. #1

    Help needed in using System Image Backup in Windows 8.1


    Hi All,
    I have Windows 8.1 and would like to use the System Image Backup option in Windows under File History. I have a Dell Inspiron Notebook that was shipped with the Factory Image pre-installed on the hard drive. I want to be absolutely certain that I dont damage or remove the Dell installed factory image as I want to always have the option to do a Microsoft Reset using that factory image in the future when required.
    I know nothing about where this factory image is installed on my hard drive but I only have one hard drive on my PC. I just want to backup the System Image and be able to Restore the system image back to the same hard drive on my PC in the future. I havent made any changes to partitions on the drive and never will. Its exactly as it was when shipped from Dell.
    Can anyone advise me of the options I need to select during the Sysem Image Backup and Restore process so I dont remove or corrupt the pre-installed factory image on my hard drive during the process?

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Central IL
    Posts : 3,468
    Linux Mint 17.2


    You need to make the DVD's and keep them in a safe place. If you wish to make a whole drive image, use Clonezilla or EaseUS Workstation Todo. At least with the EaseUS software, you can shrink or grow the image, depending on the size of the drive. Clonezilla makes it a little harder, since you have to have the exact same drive that the original image was one.

    All the factory image does, is allow you to restore it back to the "OOB" or "Out Of the Box" image. Anything you have installed, will not be in that image, so you have to use a third party software to get the job done.

    Microsoft's backup software fails too much for Windows 8 & 10. That is because it was written for Windows 7 and below OS's.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    I don't really want to use other software unless I have to. Dell told me to use the Windows System Image backup. The guy I spoke to on Tech Support said he used it. I also plan to do the Backup on a Western Digital Passport drive if that would be OK
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Central IL
    Posts : 3,468
    Linux Mint 17.2


    Quote Originally Posted by sportsfan View Post
    I don't really want to use other software unless I have to. Dell told me to use the Windows System Image backup. The guy I spoke to on Tech Support said he used it. I also plan to do the Backup on a Western Digital Passport drive if that would be OK
    Again if you make a "Factory Image" back up. You have to create the DVD's for Factory Restore. The only way to do a correct and proper back up, is to either use Clonezilla which is free and you can create a USB stick version from Tuxboot, and then save the Hard Drive image to say a Pocket drive. Or if you think that you are going to be installing the image on a smaller or larger hard drive, use EaseUS Todo Workstation.

    All of us that do this stuff all of the time for ourselves and customers, have these tools for a reason, because Microsoft has failed in keeping up with the times and creating a real back up service that works with Windows 8 & 10.

    The Windows Backup that Microsoft packages with Windows 8 & 10, is only good for Windows 7. Even with 7, it fails to do what it is supposed to.

    Dell customer service is ran by script readers in India. The ones that do know what and how to do a real backup, are not allowed to suggest to the end user better ways to back up a system.

    As for the Western Digital Passport. Find a better real NAS. There have been way too many people having issues with the Passport failing on them.

    I keep a local image on my NAS, then keep a remote image in Amazon Cloud Drive, in case I lose the NAS.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 2,690
    Windows 3.1 > Windows 10


    There are two things that need to be sorted out here...
    First is the "Factory Recovery" and second is the "Windows System Image" they are not the same thing..
    Dell uses Dell DataSafe or Dell Backup Restore to Restore the PC back to the Factory Image (ie Factory Recovery)
    Use the Dell program and create a Recovery Drive on a usb or dvd...
    This will create a Bootable Factory Recovery Image that could be used if a complete HDD Failure..
    You could also go into control panel - recovery - create a recover drive.. Does the same exact thing as the Dell Backup and Restore Program..
    As both methods do the same exact thing, actually Dell piggy backs their program off the built-in windows recovery program..
    Thus the DELL program itself is bloatware..
    Now all that is FACTORY Recovery and does not backup or save any personal files, settings or programs you may have..

    For SYSTEM Recovery is just that. A full system backup - and it restores the PC to the point in time when the backup was made.. This includes all your files, settings and programs..

    Personally and many others here will tell you this > the Windows System Image Recovery = will fail 99% of the time..
    A Windows System Image is a very poor choice from a system backup method..
    Macrium Refelect is one of the Better Options for a system backup > Macrium Reflect Free

    So now you can decide which options you want
    A Factory Recovery Image
    A System Recovery Image
    or Both ...
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 123
    Windows 8.1


    The whole drive is imaged, a System Image, DELL is correct, don't worry about harming the Recovery Partition that is imaged as well also anything you have added.

    Personally I use a 2 bay NAS box to store the Image but it is possible to use a number of DVDs, or an external USB drive.

    The 'factory image' is more usually called a 'Recovery Partition' a hidden partition on your hard drive probably about 10 GB in size. If you go to Disk Management you will see that partition, usually no name along with some other small partitions and the C: partition. The 'System image' will contain the lot.

    Whilst there are other applications to do the same job, a simple explanation should do at the moment.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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