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Refresh Windows 8 - Create and Use Custom Recovery Image

How to Create a Custom Recovery Image to Use to Refresh Windows 8 and 8.1

information   Information
This tutorial will show you how to create and register a custom recovery image to use instead of default when you refresh your Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows 8.1, and Windows 8.1 RT PC.

You must be logged in as an administrator to be able to do this tutorial.

Quoted from Microsoft:

Refreshing your PC to a state you define, including desktop apps

We know that many of you like to first configure your PC just the way you like it, by installing favorite desktop apps or removing apps that came with the PC, and then create an image of the hard drive before you start using the PC. This way, when you need to start over, you can just restore the image and you won’t have to reinstall the apps from scratch.

With this in mind, we’ve made it possible for you to establish your own baseline image via a command-line tool (recimg.exe). So when you get a Windows 8 PC, you will be able to do the following:
  • Go through the Windows first-run experience to configure basic settings.
  • Install your favorite desktop apps (or uninstall things you don’t want).
  • Configure the machine exactly as you would like it.
  • Use recimg.exe to capture and set your custom image of the system.
After you’ve created the custom image, whenever you refresh your PC, not only will you be able to keep your personal data, settings, and Metro style apps, but you can restore all the desktop apps in your custom image as well. And if you buy a PC that already comes with a recovery image on a hidden partition, you’ll be able to use the tool to switch from using the hidden partition to instead use the custom image you’ve created.

Note   Note
The recimg.exe command line tool lets you configure a custom recovery image for Windows 8 to use when you refresh your PC. When you create a custom recovery image, it will include the desktop apps you've installed and the Windows system files in their current state. Saved recovery images do not include your documents, personal settings, user profiles, or modern apps from the Store because that information will automatically be included by default at the time you refresh your PC. This way when you refresh your PC with the saved custom recovery image, it will save and include your current documents, personal settings, user profiles, and modern apps.

When you create a custom recovery image, recimg will store it in the specified directory, and set it as the active recovery image. If a custom recovery image is set as the active recovery image, Windows will use it when you refresh your PC. You can use the /setcurrent and /deregister options to select which recovery image Windows 8 will use. All recovery images have the filename CustomRefresh.wim. If no CustomRefresh.wim file is found in the active recovery image directory, Windows will fall back to the default image (or to installation media) when you refresh your PC.

Note that you cannot reset your PC using a custom recovery image. Custom recovery images can only be used to refresh your PC.






STEP ONE
To Create and Register a Custom Recovery Image

1. After you have finished seting up Windows 8 how you like it, open a elevated command prompt.​
2. In the elevated command prompt, copy and paste the command below, and press Enter. (see screenshot below step 3)​
NOTE: If you like, you can subsititute the C drive letter in the command below for the drive letter of the location that you would like to keep the CustomRefresh.wim recovery image file at instead.​
recimg -CreateImage C:\RefreshImage
Tip   Tip
If needed, you can press the ESC key at anytime to cancel creating this custom refresh image.
3. When finished, this new custom recovery image of your current Windows 8 setup will now be set (registered) as the current active recovery image used whenever you refresh Windows 8 next in STEP TWO below.​
NOTE: It may take a bit to finish creating your custom recovery image. At the Writing image line the progress stays at 1% for a bit and then increases slowly until finished at 100%.​
CMD.jpg
Tip   Tip
You can create multiple or new recovery images every so often to have an updated version handy if you should need to refresh your PC with.

Whenever you create a new recovery image, the new image will be used instead by default afterwards since it will be the latest registered (set) active recovery image.
Note   Note
To unregister this custom recovery image for refresh to have Windows 8 go back to using it's default refresh, see: How to Deregister the Current Custom Recovery Image to Refresh Windows 8

To set a previosly created CustomRefresh.wim recovery image file to be used by refresh, see: How to Set a Custom Recovery Image as Active to Use to Refresh Windows 8





STEP TWO
To Refresh Windows 8 with the Custom Recovery Image

1. If you have not already, you must have already previously created and registered a custom recovery image using STEP ONE first to use to do the refresh with.​
2. You can now use either option in the tutorial below to refresh Windows 8 like you would normally do so, but your custom system image will now be used to refresh Windows 8 with instead.​


That's it,
Shawn


 

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Last edited:

MikeCMahon

New Member
Hi, I am new to the forum and would like to ask this question. I have prepared a Custom Recovery Image as detailed in original posts. If I refresh my computer now, will my Image be used to keep my current settings, installed programs & Apps exactly as they are now, or will I have to re-install everything all over again. I am considering doing this since I have problems with Windows Updates and I wish to get these working properly again. Your help would be much appreciated.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1
    Computer type
    Laptop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo IdeaPad Z710

Brink

Administrator
Administrator
mvp

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 x Samsung Odyssey G7 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    OCZ Series Gold OCZZ1000M 1000W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Malwarebyte Anti-Malware Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone

MikeCMahon

New Member

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1
    Computer type
    Laptop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo IdeaPad Z710

Brink

Administrator
Administrator
mvp
You would lose anything that you installed after the date the custom recovery image was created.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 x Samsung Odyssey G7 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    OCZ Series Gold OCZZ1000M 1000W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Malwarebyte Anti-Malware Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone

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