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Solved How To Create a Windows 8.1 (Preview) System Image


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1,093
#1
I thought 8.1 was supposed to make things easier? Not so for creating a System Image. Now, you have to use the Windows PowerShell (Admin) to get the job done. The image below will show the command string to use (boxed in red) and my target drive is/was Z:

View attachment 23893

Zoom image to enlarge please.

You can use your installation media to access the Repair function and restore your System Image from there.

Have fun!
 

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vrosa

Tech Addict
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#2
Thanks !

:)
 

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Windunce

New Member
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#3
Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo :(

From Wikipedia:
Backup and Restore was deprecated in the most recent versions of Windows, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012: It was still included, but will not be enhanced further. Microsoft says this program is underused and is touting File History as the feature to replace file-based backup.

Ripped out in 8.1 and never to be seen again....IMAGE ine that!

boohoo.png

Soooooo, kudos to you JustATest for the tutorial on CREATING a system image with a MS native "app".
But pray tell, do tell, how one can RESTORE that image using PowerShell. Pretty please!
 

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System One

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#4
You can't use PowerShell to do the System Image Restore because you have to be inside Windows to use PowerShell; yes? However, once it is created, you can simply use your installation disc to access the "repair" mode to complete the restoral process. Now, I'm a bit hesitant to say that you can also use a previously created "system repair" disc because I have found that they do not work when Windows 8 has been installed under a UEFI configuration. The response I always get is something like "system disc not recognized." However, the system repair disc may still work if you have a legacy bios installation. However, to be sure, I always use the Win 8 installation disc (as previously described). Note from the image below that the backup, created by the PowerSell process, looks exactly like the one created via the old method:

View attachment 23914

Cheers!

Hmm... There is a wbadmin start recovery command available that could possibly be used if one wanted to start the recovery process from within windows but I've never used it; however, I will try it since you are asking. I'll be back...
 
Last edited:

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#5
OK, it looks like one could start a system recovery/image restoral from within the PowerShell (Admin); however, IMHO, this method would be more trouble than its worth. First, one would have to identify the target volumes for recovery as follows:

View attachment 23923

Next, one would have to use the above information to construct a recovery command for each individual volume. See examples and variables below:

View attachment 23924

Now, since a standard BIOS installation has two volumes (created during the backup process), one would have to construct two restoral messages and run them individually. And if you have a UEFI based installation, there would be additional restoral message required. With that said, I am not going to demo this process because it is more trouble than its worth; however, I can see where it could be useful for someone doing remote administration.
 

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vrosa

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#6
It's a long way

:rolleyes:
 

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System One

  • OS
    Windows 10.0.10122
    Computer type
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    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    My Build - Vorttex Ultimate
    CPU
    Core i7 @ 4500 MHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS Z87-Plus
    Memory
    32GB DDR3 @ 1822 MHz (OC)
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    Radeon R9 280X 3GB @ 1180 / 6800 MHz
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    7.1 HDA
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    LCD LG 22" + CRT LG 17"
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    1760 x 1320 / 1280 x 960
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    1 x 240 GB SSD (System)
    3 x 500 GB HDD (Data/Media)
    1 x 2000 GB e-HDD (Backup)
    PSU
    ThermalTake 1000W PSU
    Case
    Corsair Carbide R300
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    Corsair H60 (Push-Pull)
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    Microsoft Wireless Keyboard
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    IE, FF, Chrome
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    AVG Internet Security 2015
    Other Info
    Some wired stuff

besb

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#7
System image I gave up

I gave up with this retrograde step making life more difficult.
I just cloned the widows 8.1 installation using aomei partition manager (free)
took 15 mins.
Should the installation be screwed up or disc fail just swap the drives over boot then make a new clone.

besb
 

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    gts450 ,560gt etc
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    3 laptops 1 netbook 2 android tablets 2 android smart phones
    and ipad and iphone
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#8
I gave up with this retrograde step making life more difficult.
I just cloned the widows 8.1 installation using aomei partition manager (free)
took 15 mins.
Should the installation be screwed up or disc fail just swap the drives over boot then make a new clone.

besb
I like it!
 

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System One

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    Windows 8 Pro Windows 8.1 Preview
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Windunce

New Member
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131
#9
IMAGE ination rox!

When I properly configured my Dell Inspiron Touch laptop with Win8 Pro, I immediately made a UEFI Recovery/Boot DVD.

Not sure why, but it takes a FULL five minutes to load, but it DOES work and one can navigate to the Windows Image Restore
application. After the ISO upgrade I inserted that 'old' DVD and it booted fine. However I chose NOT to overwrite the drive with
my Windows 8 Pro image at this point in time. What I shall do is create a new Windows Blue image to an external drive using your tutorial
and then, with both externals available, plug in one to restore the Windows Blue image and see if that goes well. Once that is complete I shall then boot from the old DVD and restore the Windows 8 Pro image to assure that I can flip back and forth as I so desire.

Thanks for the quick reply.
Windunce

ps...There are still those two chances that Windows 7 File Recovery will be included in the Blue RTM.
Slim and none [wink]
 

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#10
When I properly configured my Dell Inspiron Touch laptop with Win8 Pro, I immediately made a UEFI Recovery/Boot DVD.

Not sure why, but it takes a FULL five minutes to load, but it DOES work and one can navigate to the Windows Image Restore
application. After the ISO upgrade I inserted that 'old' DVD and it booted fine. However I chose NOT to overwrite the drive with
my Windows 8 Pro image at this point in time. What I shall do is create a new Windows Blue image to an external drive using your tutorial
and then, with both externals available, plug in one to restore the Windows Blue image and see if that goes well. Once that is complete I shall then boot from the old DVD and restore the Windows 8 Pro image to assure that I can flip back and forth as I so desire.

Thanks for the quick reply.
Windunce

ps...There are still those two chances that Windows 7 File Recovery will be included in the Blue RTM.
Slim and none [wink]
Hi,

That's a great idea! Please let us know how you make out.
 

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Windunce

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131
#11
Image Backup from CMD and Restoration from GUI

Hi,
That's a great idea! Please let us know how you make out.
Not worth a crap :(
wbadmin is not blah blah blah

I installed 8.1 Preview, which did not include any server stuff.
So I got this....
shellgame.jpg

I read this....
The cmdlets for Windows Server Backup are contained in a Windows PowerShell snap-in. Before you begin, you must install the cmdlet snap-in. (For instructions, see Install Windows Server Backup Tools (Install Windows Server Backup Tools)). Then, each time you use the cmdlets, you must add the Windows Server Backup cmdlet snap-in to the instance of Windows PowerShell that you have opened by using the following command at the command prompt: C:\PS>add-pssnapin windows.serverbackup.

By default, Windows PowerShell modules and snap-ins are not loaded in Windows PowerShell. To start Windows PowerShell so that all of the Windows PowerShell modules and snap-ins are loaded automatically, right-click the Windows PowerShell icon in the taskbar, and then click Import all modules. In Windows Server 2008 R2, the Windows PowerShell icon is pinned to the taskbar by default. However, you must start Windows PowerShell one time to make the Import all modules task appear


Didn't see any "Load All Modules" prompts anywhere, so I said the heck with it and tried running wbadmin
in Administrator CMD and it took right off. It's a work in progress as I type.
I've no idea how long the image creation will take, but will get back ASAP.

Was QUITE worried when I got to this screen!
Blue.jpg


But it nabbed all images for restoration, regardless of OS. Kewl!
images.jpg

Update: Just checked CMD...Done!
Will clock restoration times tomorrow.

Again THANKS!
Windunce
 

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Saltgrass

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#12
I have used the command to create backup images in Windows 8 and a clean install from the 8.1 .iso file. Both seemed to work, and I did recover a Windows 8 image.

But when I try to use it with an updated Windows 8 to 8.1 install, I get the message below.

The Windows Backup engine could not be contacted. Retry the operation.
The remote procedure call failed.
If you know a reason for that, it would help.

But my concern right now is that the 8.1 update causes the Recovery Partition to become non-critical for image backups because it moves the recovery sequence to the C: partition. If a recovered image does not have the Recovery Partition, I seem to think the resulting install will have 300 MB of unallocated space at the beginning of the drive, which might adversely effect partition alignment.

I was about to check the Windows Image Recovery option to see if it does in fact leave the space as unallocated, but the wbadmin command will not run for the above stated reason... I do not know how third party imaging software will handle the situation.
 

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#13
Hi Saltgrass,

You are pioneering this issue and have entered uncharted waters (at least for me). However, I can only take a very uneducated guess as to what the problem might be so here goes:

When I first tried a Win 7 to 8.1 upgrade, it worked but it maintained the original Win 7 partition structure. So, is there any chance you upgraded from Win 7 to Win 8 initially and then upgraded again to 8.1? If so, check you partition structure. If not check your partition structure any way. So, does your current partition structure match the Win 8 requirements for either a UEFI or Legacy BIOS installation?
 

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SIW2

Well-Known Member
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5,360
#14
It is still wbadmin v1.0, so the commands we used on win7 will be the same. Nothing new as far as I can tell. MS have dumped the UI is all.
 

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#15
I have used the command to create backup images in Windows 8 and a clean install from the 8.1 .iso file. Both seemed to work, and I did recover a Windows 8 image.

But when I try to use it with an updated Windows 8 to 8.1 install, I get the message below.

The Windows Backup engine could not be contacted. Retry the operation.
The remote procedure call failed.
If you know a reason for that, it would help.

But my concern right now is that the 8.1 update causes the Recovery Partition to become non-critical for image backups because it moves the recovery sequence to the C: partition. If a recovered image does not have the Recovery Partition, I seem to think the resulting install will have 300 MB of unallocated space at the beginning of the drive, which might adversely effect partition alignment.

I was about to check the Windows Image Recovery option to see if it does in fact leave the space as unallocated, but the wbadmin command will not run for the above stated reason... I do not know how third party imaging software will handle the situation.
Hello again Saltgrass,

FYI, I am in the process of testing Win 8.1 backup and recovery using SysRescueCD. I used this routinely to backup and restore system images in XP and it appears to work just fine for Win 8.1 as well. The beauty of using the SysRescueCD method is that it doesn't care about OS compatibility checks. It simply does its job of backing up and restore partitions; period. Now, the only downside to using this method is that you must backup (and restore) each partition individually so I have to do a backup image twice. Once for System Reserved and again for the C Drive. Anyway, it appears to be working. I'll report back tomorrow. In the mean time, interest parties can take a peek here to learn more; however, be forewarned there is no clear cut procedure available on how to do what I am doing so if anyone is "really interested" in trying this method, I can do a write-up if necessary. See here: SystemRescueCd
 

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System One

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    Windows 8 Pro Windows 8.1 Preview
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Saltgrass

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#16
So, is there any chance you upgraded from Win 7 to Win 8 initially and then upgraded again to 8.1? If so, check you partition structure. If not check your partition structure any way. So, does your current partition structure match the Win 8 requirements for either a UEFI or Legacy BIOS installation?
My Windows 8 install was basically a clean UEFI install. The directory structure does not change, the Recovery partition is still there, but if you check the BCD store, you can see the recoverysequence entry has been changed.

For some reason, perhaps the update did not have the ability to write to the recovery partition, but whatever, they chose to move the Recovery image. But in doing so, they removed the "Critical" flag on the Recovery partition for imaging.

I am still trying to see if the wbadmin utility has a problem with the updated Windows 8 to 8.1 install. If it does, possibly that will only last until the final 8.1 release. I suppose we may find out then if we will be able to do a clean install of 8.1 using the 8 License Key, without having to go through the update process.

Thanks for the comments.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 x64
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Home Grown
    CPU
    i7 3770K
    Motherboard
    ASUS P8Z77 -v Pro, Z87-Expert
    Memory
    16 G
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    EVGA GTX 680 Classified (2)
    Hard Drives
    Kingston SSD 240 GB

Windunce

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131
#17
Back & Forth...To & Fro - The OS Merry-go-round?

re:ply to JustaTest

All restorations clocked in at approximately 20 minutes.
Win 7
Win 8
Win Blue


Still not sure what the problem is with Power Shell, but no reason to give it a thought
for Administrator Command Prompt runs wbadmin flawlessly.

If I get a chance I'll try this string for restoration from Command Prompt on initial boot.
\\wbadmin start sysrecovery -version:03/31/2005-09:00 -backupTarget:h: -restoreAllVolumes


As to why saltgrass got this...
The Windows Backup engine could not be contacted. Retry the operation.
The remote procedure call failed.

It MAY be that he did a clean install, whereas I did the upgrade path to 'save all programs and data'
Which may have saved wbadmin.

Does the file wbadmin.exe exist with a clean install? Dunno :(
 

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System One

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#18
"Still not sure what the problem is with Power Shell, but no reason to give it a thought
for Administrator Command Prompt runs wbadmin flawlessly."

Did you use this?
View attachment 24018

"Does the file wbadmin.exe exist with a clean install?" YES
 

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#19
Just finished a Win 8.1 test backup and restore using Partimage on the SysRescueCD (as previously described) and that also will work where other methods may fail.
 

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Windunce

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#20
Fly in the ointment?

Did you use this?

"Does the file wbadmin.exe exist with a clean install?" YES
Yup, as noted in capture, still a no go.

Admin PS.jpg

Plus [and it ain't no biggie] when restoring from an 8 install and pointing to the Blue image
I get an error, so I have to reboot from the Blue ISO and then choose 'Repair Computer'
and then Blue overwrites 8Pro.

Yet I can boot from 8 Pro Recovery Disc and downgrade back from Blue to 8 Pro.
Go figure...ha ha.

Bottom line, I'm sticking with native imaging [albeit non-GUI] for the foreseeable future.
But if I have a need to image a single partition, I'll give SysRescue a whirl. THANKS AGAIN

Windunce
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win7-8 Dual Boot on a Commodore 64