Thanks for all your help theog. I am intending to do a clean install of 8.1 pro on my Sony Vaio that is currently on 8.1, but I want to do a system image in case I need to ever go back. I am trying to follow your guide but I have way more partitions and I don't want to **** it up.
Here's all of the partitions on my HDD:
I'm previously upgraded through the Windows Store which is why I think there are extra partitions. Can you tell which ones are obsolete, and which one's I need to keep/resize?
I found a work around that is not too difficult. Do a clean install of Win 8.1 (I used the free Enterprise Evaluation 90 day trial for these tests) and as soon as you get to the tiles or desktop hold the shift key down and shut down. Next, boot the system to either Ubuntu or Mint (on a flash drive -UEFI Mode Ok) Now mount the Recovery partition and copy the Recovery Folder and paste it into another flash drive. Shutdown and using this same method, replace the recovery folder in the system you want to fix with this fresh one you got (keep it for future problems). If you have a spare drive to do the quick install on, that will work. If not you will have to use images to cycle through the process. It's important to always run this CMD as Admin before making any new images "wbadmin delete catalog -quiet" So far I've patched two systems in UEFI Mode this way. I made several images and recovered without issues. I also made an image using REDO Backup (free) after I got the system fixed so as to have it to fall back on. REDO doesn't support USB UEFI, so you have to temporarily disable UEFI to make the image or recover from it. You could boot to a DVD with REDO on it also, but still you would need to temporarily disable UEFI and enable Legacy in BIOS.
Start out by cleaning the disk to use for installation
then using diskpart:
create partition efi size=489
format quick fs=ntfs label="Windows RE tools"
create partition efi size=260
format quick fs=fat32 label="System"
create partition msr size=128
you can stop here by quitting CMD and go to the GUI install screen, or:
create partition primary
format quick fs=ntfs label="Whatever"
assign letter="pick a letter"
this finishes using all available space for partitions
I tested 489mb on the 1st partition and it worked I did the install and created an image and recovered from it.
The EFI partition that uses FAT32 can be made 260mb on advanced format 4k hard disks, which is typically newer ones you would be using nowadays. I just used a new garden variety WD HDD.
The MSR 128MB partition does not need formatted, assigned a letter, or labeled to function.
** these are my tests; your mileage may vary.
I'd always recommend people to use decent 3rd party solutions for taking images or Backups -- the Windows system image functionality has always IMO been somewhat suspect even as far back as the initial release of W7.
Use something like Free Macrium or Acronis for backing up and taking images. You can also backup the installed recovery partition and then delete that from HDD to give you more space. The restore programs can restore that and then you can do a manufacturers restore if you want to.
It's rediculous as well to need the VSS (volume shadowing service) to make this work -- if I have say a 60 GB Windows partition on a 120 GB SSD on a laptop it's obvious that the VSS will fail. Any decent 3rd party backup (Free or paid) will do a much better job -- write to external media and you can do "Bare metal" restores using the program by booting from say a USB drive and restoring your image from an external HDD.
(If I have a new laptop - before even booting the windows system for the very first time where the manufacturer goes through all sorts of rituals in setting it up -- I just backup the ENTIRE HDD with my backup program (Acronis - but any will do). So at any point I can get the system back exactly as it was before I even did the FIRST windows boot. - You might need to disable protected boot to allow a legacy boot - but that's done in the BIOS before booting your imaging program).
If you don't have an imaging program -- or your imaging program won't handle the "undefined" partition types -- simply boot up any Linux Live CD and run the DD command - it will create a sector by sector copy for you of the computers HDD to your external device.
Can anyone confirm either of the following for me:
this is no longer an issue for people who keep their windows 8.1 updated;
this bug only interferes with creating system images, and if you successfully made a system image (which I have) this bug will not interfere with restoring with it.
As of right now I am using Acronis True Image to back up my boot drive (SSD) to my internal HDD, and I use System Image Restore to back up my SSD to an external HDD that is unplugged most of the time. I would like to know for sure that if something happens that forces me to use the image on my external HDD, I won't run into some stupid error that prevents me from doing so.
This issue has been fixed in the new installation media for Windows 8.1 with Update 1
I had this problem with trying to create a system image in UEFI mode. The system image backup did not affect my legacy computer with the RTM version of Windows 8.1 due to there are different partitions with UEFI and Non UEFI - "MBR vs GPT"
I have no problems with the new Install media with Update 1
Google "Windows 8.1 Media Creation tool", download the file, and it will download the new media.