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Solved Latest Win 8.1 ISO "Breaks" System Image Functionality


my2cents

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#1
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:

Screenshot (4).png

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.
 

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mikeytg

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#2
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!
 

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Saltgrass

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#3
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.
 

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my2cents

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#4
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.
 

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SIW2

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#5
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.?
 

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Saltgrass

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#6
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.

http://www.eightforums.com/performa...-create-windows-8-1-preview-system-image.html

http://www.eightforums.com/performa...ckup-secureboot-isn-t-configured-correct.html
 

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Saltgrass

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#7
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.?
[DEL]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.[/DEL]
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.
 
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my2cents

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#8
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.
 

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SIW2

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#9
Thanks. That is quite strange.

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.
 

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Saltgrass

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#10
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.
 

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my2cents

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#11
OK, whatever, but below is a quote from the first thread posted in July.
So Brink and I just tested this issue thoroughly yesterday and we both performed a successful backup "prior" to doing a clean install using the latest GA Win 8.1 ISO. However, once we did a clean install using same, we both encountered the failure on initial and repeated attempts, so it really sounds like you are bound, bent, and determined to prove that all our hard work was all for naught because (apparently) this is a well known issue and; therefore, "everybody" already knows about it. I'm done!
 

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SIW2

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#12
I don't see any disparity here. I recall issues with this in win7 being posted up. That was with the 100mb thing running out of space. I don't recall the posts Salty refers to, but the issue seems to have persisted.

I don't think many would know it can be a particular problem when moving to 8.1, so it is good that My2c and Shawn tested it, and that it now has it's own thread.

Interesting how it decides where to put winre.

It is on the win8.1 partition in my case.
 

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my2cents

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#13
I don't see any disparity here. I recall issues with this in win7 being posted up. That was with the 100mb thing running out of space. I don't recall the posts Salty refers to, but the issue seems to have persisted.

I don't think many would know it can be a particular problem when moving to 8.1, so it is good that My2c and Shawn tested it, and that it now has it's own thread.

Interesting how it decides where to put winre.

It is on the win8.1 partition in my case.
Hi SIW2,

Thanks for your response. This issue has cropped up a few times in the past and many times it was caused by an OEM installation "overpopulating" the Recovery Partition so it would seem similar to the hard and fast failure that we documented yesterday. Now, I can't speak to the Win 7 issue; however, this issue has turned from a random issue to a solid issue that can be directly related to the Win 8.1 installer. IMHO, you can't make a logical comparison between a few similar reported instances and a hard and fast installation fault that has just recently been discovered. Make no mistake about it, if anyone uses that latest ISO, they will experience this issue. And a big thanks to Mikeytg for simply comfirming it as such in his follow-up post.
 

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SIW2

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#14
From your first post, it may be that 8.1 upgrade adds to the contents of of the 350mb and either doesn't remove what was already in there - or creates some kind of backup/log files in there.

That seems possible as a clean 8.1 install doesn't suffer from this problem.

Can you have a look and see what is in there after upgrade?
 

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Nemix

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#15
Are we all talking about the 350MB reserved disk partition that Windows creates when doing a clean install and the hard drive formatted with the Windows installation disk?

I usually remove that partition in Windows 7 in fact I don't create the reserved partition at all, I use my hard drives disk utility to format the hard drive then install Windows.

I found no downside to not creating a reserved partition in Windows 7 but that's keeping in mind I do not use Windows 7 backup tools since I have my own backup software.

Is the reserved partition needed in Windows 8?
 

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SIW2

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#16
No, I don't have a reserved partition. I believe the new oem machines now come with this uefi thing and gpt partitioning.
 

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theog

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#17
Is the reserved partition needed in Windows 8?
YES, with UEFI mode.

The problem is only for UEFI mode clean installs.

Screenshot of EFI & the new Windows 8.1 update partition.

Win8-1 new Partition.PNG

With backup working.
 

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#18

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Saltgrass

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#19
The problem is only for UEFI mode clean installs.

Screenshot of EFI & the new Windows 8.1 update partition.

View attachment 30102

With backup working.
Because of Theog's post, I had to see if I could determine where exactly the additional 350 MB partition he is showing came from. It appears that partition is created when using the Setup utility from the RTM .iso to update from within Windows 8.

The screenshot below shows a Windows 8 to 8.1 done through the Store. As you can see there is no additional partition and an error does occur with this configuration just as it would with a clean .iso install, as My2cents indicates.

I am going to wait to see if something reconfigures the drive to include the necessary partition, but for now, it looks like you will get the error with either an .iso install or a Store update.

The increase in size of the Winre.wim file appears to be centered around a couple of folders. The Windows\System32\DriversStore\FileRepository and the Windows\WinSxS folders are around 20-26 MB larger each than those folders in the original winre.wim file.
 

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bagavan

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#20
Is the reserved partition needed in Windows 8?
YES, with UEFI mode.

The problem is only for UEFI mode clean installs.

Screenshot of EFI & the new Windows 8.1 update partition.

View attachment 30102

With backup working.
My computer does not have UEFI . I have upgraded 8.1 through store and I have downloaded the 8.1 iso just in case. Therefore my computer is unaffected by this error after the an clean install with 8.1 GA iso is done rite?
 

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