Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Latest Win 8.1 ISO "Breaks" System Image Functionality

  1. #1


    Posts : 2,191
    Windows 8.1

    Latest Win 8.1 ISO "Breaks" System Image Functionality


    Hello all,

    Brink and I have both confirmed that the latest GA of the Windows 8.1 ISO breaks the System Image functionality. This was confirmed by both of us by doing a clean install and immediately attempting to do a System Image backup. Here is the failure you will receive:

    Click image for larger version

    The root cause of this issue is directly related to the available free space remaining in the recovery partition, after being populated by MS during the clean install, which is less than the 50 MBs required for the shadow volume copy process to successfully complete.

    NOTE: This issue does not appear to be resident after an 8.1 RTM clean installation so something has changed with the introduction of the latest ISO. With that said, if you encounter this issue, it is recommended that you just switch to a 3rd-party solution and I have already made that transition myself. Macrium Reflect Free is not only twice as fast doing backups and restorals but it allows multiple images to be saved to the same folder. I really think its time for us to let go of this antiquated method of doing backups.

    Good luck, you have been notified,

    my2cents

    PS - Many thanks to Brink for all of his test efforts to confirm this is an issue.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Joisey
    Posts : 315
    Windows 8.1 consumer 64 bit


    I found the same thing. Worse, for me the failed image attempts left the Volume Shadow Service in an inoperable state, so other backup programs would not work either.

    Upon scrounging around, I found this page. I did the first item in repair strategy 2 and it deleted a number of dead snapshots. The second item showed some failed items in the writers list, but these cleared up after a restart. Once this was done I was able to use Macrium Reflect Free to make a complete drive image without errors and restore that image. I am now using Macrium for my image backups.

    Just for hahas I later re-tried the microsoft image program again. It again failed and munged up VSS. So much for that!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 1,121
    Windows 8.1 x64


    I suppose until someone finds a way to keep the Winre.wim file from growing during the install, we will have to live with the problem, unless you are willing to take a chance and increase the size of the Recovery partition to 350 MB for the UEFI installs. Do not make it larger than 350 MB since the imaging utility cannot handle recovery partitions over that size.

    This subject has been discussed since the pre-release of 8.1 and there are several threads concerning it.

    @mikeytg, I have not seen a failed imaging attempt disable the VSS.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 2,191
    Windows 8.1


    This subject has been discussed since the pre-release of 8.1 and there are several threads concerning it.
    I'd really like to see those threads because I had no problems creating a system image on 8.1 RTM or 8.1 Preview for that matter. So, how about a few links to those "yeah, we already knew that posts?" The only caveat with preview was that you had to us a wbadmin command string to invoke the system imaging process.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 5,360
    7/8/ubuntu/Linux Deepin


    Do not make it larger than 350 MB since the imaging utility cannot handle recovery partitions over that size.
    I don't use windows system image, so am not sure what you mean by that.?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 1,121
    Windows 8.1 x64


    Quote Originally Posted by my2cents View Post
    This subject has been discussed since the pre-release of 8.1 and there are several threads concerning it.
    I'd really like to see those threads because I had no problems creating a system image on 8.1 RTM or 8.1 Preview for that matter. So, how about a few links to those "yeah, we already knew that posts?" The only caveat with preview was that you had to us a wbadmin command string to invoke the system imaging process.
    Here are a couple, and there are several more.

    How To Create a Windows 8.1 (Preview) System Image

    https://www.eightforums.com/performan...d-correct.html
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 1,121
    Windows 8.1 x64


    Quote Originally Posted by SIW2 View Post
    Do not make it larger than 350 MB since the imaging utility cannot handle recovery partitions over that size.
    I don't use windows system image, so am not sure what you mean by that.?
    The System Image utility backs up a Recovery (Tools) partition during the normal process. If you have a 500 MB recovery partition, it will show it is backing up a 350 MB partition, which appears to be its limit.

    When you recover the image, you will end up with a 500 MB partition where was originally was and a 350 MB partition which has been set up as the actual Recovery partition. I just happened to notice one of my installs after I had changed the partition to 500 MB to get around the problem of imaging errors.

    I have not yet tried this with wbadmin.exe so not sure it the results would be the same.

    EDIT: Further testing has shown I must have missed seeing the smaller partition already on the drive. I am still not sure how it got there, maybe an image I used already had it, but my conclusion was incorrect, sorry. The larger partitions do seem to work normally, as Theog shows in a later post.
    Last edited by Saltgrass; 26 Oct 2013 at 03:16.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 2,191
    Windows 8.1


    They first link has nothing to do with this newly discovered issue. The first link actually just shows you how to create a system image because the option is missing, and the second one was just posted "two days ago." BTW, the second thread may be similar to the issue being described here, and I saw many trying to figure it out without a final resolution. So, here's the identification of the problem and the cause for the issue. It has been documented and confirmed and is on its way to MS right now.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Posts : 5,360
    7/8/ubuntu/Linux Deepin


    Thanks. That is quite strange.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saltgrass View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SIW2 View Post
    Do not make it larger than 350 MB since the imaging utility cannot handle recovery partitions over that size.
    I don't use windows system image, so am not sure what you mean by that.?
    The System Image utility backs up a Recovery (Tools) partition during the normal process. If you have a 500 MB recovery partition, it will show it is backing up a 350 MB partition, which appears to be its limit.

    When you recover the image, you will end up with a 500 MB partition where was originally was and a 350 MB partition which has been set up as the actual Recovery partition. I just happened to notice one of my installs after I had changed the partition to 500 MB to get around the problem of imaging errors.

    I have not yet tried this with wbadmin.exe so not sure it the results would be the same.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Posts : 1,121
    Windows 8.1 x64


    OK, whatever, but below is a quote from the first thread posted in July.

    The recovery image for 8.1 appears to be larger than it is for 8.0. If you have a clean 8.1 install and you are getting 'Not Enough Space" type errors it is probably because the 300MB recovery partition is not large enough for shadow copies to be created.
    It has also been posted in the Microsoft forums.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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Latest Win 8.1 ISO "Breaks" System Image Functionality
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