Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

Create a system image

  1. #11


    Posts : 93
    Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit


    Interesting, thanks . . . the Win 8 / Win 7 "Create a System Image" must use the Volume Shadow Copy service . . . I see it in Services, set to Manual . . . So the recovery drive probably doesn't even provide the option to make an Image. Any idea why someone would want to use Macrium or Acronis? All I can think of is that it has a feature where you can schedule it to run. I'm going to take my two 160GB drives, on which I currently have an recent Image, and repartition them in half . . . they're like 149 GB actual size, so I can get two 75 GB drives on each . . . Then I can have the current Image, and a previous Image, two copies of each (about 30.2 GB each). It can't hurt to have one copy back. If I have to do a restore, hopefully it will tell me the date of each image, so I can pick the most recent.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #12


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


    From what I understand W7 had more of a user interface for system backup but no longer in 8++ just the basic create and restore functionality. 3rd party programs offer a whole range of functionality from scheduling to incremental backups and especially the ability to image a new HDD after a dead HDD and I don't think you can do that with the built-in function. Also, with the 3rd party programs you can save as many images as you want and you can mount the image and see it just like a file and just recover any part of the image. The built in imaging function works but it is very basic. Some of the good 3rd party programs offer a free version that has all the functionality most users need. I don't think there is an apples to apples comparison.

    If not already you should also be aware of the Create Custom Refresh Image capabilities using the built-in Recimg utility. This can be a very handy feature for a non-destructive reloading of the OS.

    Refresh Windows 8 - Create and Use Custom Recovery Image
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #13


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


    With Macrium one should add the boot menu option:

    Click image for larger version
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #14


    Posts : 93
    Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit


    I see that the Standard version of Macrium allows for (two features I might like):
    . . . Differential and Incremental backups . . . and . . . File and Folder backup
    Macrium Reflect FREE Edition - Information and download

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    The benefits of differential and incremental backup:
    The benefits of differential and incremental backup (Differential, Incremental)

    It looks like if I try doing an incremental backup to save time, it's an added complication that can fail. Why don't they have a "Mirror" option like SyncBackFree (below), which makes it a no-brainer?

    Current thinkng: I'll just use the Win 8 image program, and let the computer sit for 26 minutes per image x 2 copies, once every 6 months, or after a big update

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    SynBackFree lets you do File and Folder backup
    2BrightSparks | Download SyncBackFree

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    I had to figure this out about what SyncBack was doing:

    Profiles:
    Red 1 - R drive . . . Mirror . . . D:\1 . . . R:\1
    Red 2 - S drive . . . Mirror . . . D:\1 . . . S:\1

    Profile Setup - Simple / Decisions - Files /
    . . . What to do if a files' contents are identical, but the properties, or the case, of the filenames are different:
    . . . [dot] Rename file on Destination and copy properties to Destination . . . the default is to "Do nothing, skip the file"
    . . . A mirror of my data is great. Why wouldn't renaming it be the default?

    I did a backup, and compared the files and folder of the source to the destination. There are 262 fewer files. Why?

    Profile Setup - Expert / Copy/Delete / [check] Verify that files are copied correctly . . . no change

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Profile Setup / Change Filter / Files/folders NOT to copy
    . . . see screenshot, I can see that the 262 files it cleaned out (10.77 MB), were mostly: . . . *\desktop.ini . . . and . . . *\thumbs.db

    19,519 Total . . . 17,017 Files . . . 2,502 Folders
    19,257 Total . . . 16,755 Files . . . 2,502 Folders . . . difference = 262 Files

    Current thinking: Delete everything in the filter, in the right-hand pane, "Files/folders NOT to copy"
    . . . because then it's easy, and possible, for me to verify that everything was actually copied.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #15


    Posts : 93
    Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit


    If you're making two backup system images, is there any reason to do a Restart in between them? I'm thinking about how you burn DVDs, I found that does something so you get a good second copy . . . I'm thinking it's probably not necessary, because this is hard drives vs. DVDs, or CD-ROMs . . . on the other hand, it seems like it couldn't hurt . . . Is there any concrete, scientific reason for doing a Restart? Maybe that clears something out.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #16


    Posts : 93
    Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit


    I asked a friend of mine about making the System Image. He says that you always want to test it after you make it, by booting to the external drive . . . I don't think the Win 8 image is bootable though, it's compressed, right? Is there any way that you can verify that the copy will work?

    As I understand it, the other way to make a System Image, is to make a clone, which is un-compressed . . . is that what Macrium does (Free), EaseUS Todo (Free), or Acronis ($75)? If so, this would be bootable.

    If you make this un-compressed backup, should you put it on what you will consider to be your next C drive? . . . Or when you boot to the Recovery Drive, can you make a clone of the external to a new drive? . . . I'm thinking about issues such as if I put my clone on IDE drive (slower than SATA), or an older drive (vs. if I got a new one).
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #17


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


    I don't believe the System Image created with the built-in W8.1 utility is compressed, at least not in it's default state. I know that when I make a Backup System Image using the built-in utility it is not compressed, now that is not to say it couldn't be adjusted to do so but I have not seen the ability to adjust parameters.

    With Macrium, which is what I use, the default for System Image creation uses Medium Compression and is user selectable and but it can be set for no compression.

    With Macrium an image can be verified but I know of no way you can boot to a System Image however, you can boot to the recovery environment to confirm the image and location is recognized.

    I know of no purpose to boot the system before making additional System images
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #18


    Posts : 93
    Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit


    . . . I don't believe the System Image created with the built-in Windows 8.1 utility is compressed, at least not in it's default state.

    I think it is. Please check out the attached screenshot. You can't see "Program Files," for example.

    . . . I know that when I make a Backup System Image using the built-in utility it is not compressed, now that is not to say it couldn't be adjusted to do so but I have not seen the ability to adjust parameters.

    May I ask, how do you know it's not compressed? If you change the BIOS to boot to USB, and have that attached, does it boot up?

    . . . With Macrium, which is what I use, the default for System Image creation uses Medium Compression and is user selectable and but it can be set for no compression.

    I think I'll check it out, thanks.

    . . . With Macrium an image can be verified but I know of no way you can boot to a System Image

    If you set it to boot to USB in the BIOS, or on bootup, hit one of the F keys, and you can change the boot drive

    . . . however, you can boot to the recovery environment to confirm the image and location is recognized.

    Maybe this confirmation is good enough

    . . . I know of no purpose to boot the system before making additional System images

    Yes, that's what I think too, it looks like it, but I don't think it hurts.

    Have you heard of any cases when a Restore from the Win 8 image failed?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 2014-04-21 22.00.03.jpg  
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #19


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


    I don't "know" that the built-in utility does not compress the data. I am just going by the overall size of the OS and all my files which is about 60 GB and when I create a system image with the built-in utility that's about what it writes to my external drive. When using Macrium, the calculated size of the files is again, about 60 GB+/- and using the default Medium Compression the transferred file size is about 14 GB. If the built-in utility compresses at all it can't be much.

    I can't say I know anyone that uses the built-in imaging utility as their primary back-up method with Windows 8++. I suspect it was popular with W7 as it had a better user interface or at least that is what I understand but never having used W7 I don't really know so I also don't know what a failure rate might be.

    I made another system image with the built-in utility this evening and I can see why I would not want to use it as my primary back-up method. It seems very cumbersome when compared to Macrium and other third party programs. I want to be able to manage my system backups and be able to recover certain files if needed and you can't do that with the built-in utility at least not that I am aware of. I will continue to make an occasional image with the tool just to have it but it will never be my primary system imaging tool.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #20


    Posts : 93
    Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit


    . . . I can't say I know anyone that uses the built-in imaging utility as their primary back-up method with Windows 8++.

    I don't know why, other than that I don't think it's testable to see that it works, or bootable

    . . . I made another system image with the built-in utility this evening and I can see why I would not want to use it as my primary back-up method. It seems very cumbersome when compared to Macrium and other third party programs.

    I'll have to try Macrium. Not sure what you mean by cumbersome, you just click to make the image, and it does it.

    . . . I want to be able to manage my system backups and be able to recover certain files if needed and you can't do that with the built-in utility at least not that I am aware of.

    Ok, yes, I can see that. I think what I'm primarily concerned about is that it's bootable.

    Is Macrium the best free version? I see these others:

    Free Hard Disk Backup and Restore, Hard Disk Image and Cloning Utilities (thefreecountry.com)
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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