Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


System Image Recovery - Restore Image on Computer in Windows 8

  1. #40


    Greece
    Posts : 341
    Win8.1 64bit, Windows 10 TP on VMWare Player


    I hope I don't mess this up, as I'm going to try to respond to both Shawn and Hoody in the same post.

    Thank you to both of you for your speedy and easy to understand replies. Hoody: I actually spent several years working on a bespoke software helpdesk with Users who had no interest in how the software worked, they just wanted to get on with their job. But I always had techies on hand to deal with the difficult hardware and OS questions. I hope I've found some friendly new techies here as I do inevitably have a few more questions and would appreciate comments from you both...

    Specific questions are in red to make sure they don't get lost in my narrative

    I noted the comments from both of you on using System Images (more below on this) but I do also like the idea of having the ability to revert to factory state in case all else fails (or I decide to give a laptop away lol).

    I read the tutorial on creating the USB recovery drive using Windows (Is this the same as a WinPE boot disc mentioned by Hoody?).

    At one point in the tutorial it states:

    This is not the same as an OEM factory recovery USB flash drive that is used to do a factory recovery/restore of your preinstalled Windows 8.
    Later in the tutorial it states:

    If you have a store bought OEM computer that came with Windows 8 preinstalled, then you could also check the Copy contents from the recovery partition to the recovery drive box to be able to use the recovery USB flash drive to do a factory restore/recovery of Windows 8.
    These seem to contradict one another. If I copy the recovery partition when creating this USB does this mean I am in fact creating the equivalent of an OEM factory recovery USB as well as a bootable USB?

    If they are the same thing then I am thinking of replacing my current Dell Backup & Recovery (DBR) created Reinstallation USBs with new ones created through Windows. One reason for this is that I have not yet created any factory restore media through Dell and would need additional USBs to do this, while it seems that creating a recovery USB through Windows could give me everything I need in a smaller package (the USBs are 16gb). But would I be missing anything if I did not also have the Dell USBs? And BTW the USBs are FAT32 while Windows uses NTFS. Does this matter?

    Actually I'm not sure whether I have created any factory restore media or not. I know I haven't used this specific option in DBR but my Reinstallation USB (called SYSRECOVERY - why can't people stick to the same terminology???) has the following on it:

    Folders: Boot, EFI, Preload, Recovery

    Preload includes folder Part0001 with file called Base.wim
    Recovery includes folder WinRE with file WinRE.wim

    Files: Autorun, Bootmgr, Bootmgr.efi, Master, Media

    So to me this looks like it contains some sort of Windows Images. But the Dell site talks about creating this USB AND a factory image, and I can't find out what the difference is. Forum posts seem to use several terms interchangeably which makes it difficult for me to understand if they are talking about the same thing or something different sometimes.

    And I am assuming that I can still create a factory backup despite the laptops now bearing no resemblence to their original factory state?

    (I hope I haven't sent either of you to sleep yet )

    Moving on to System Images.

    Using a Custom System Image if I want to refresh the OS is something I will think about. I have read the tutorial and think it should be fairly simple to use my latest Image in this way - just need some discipline to remember to do it! In the past I have found the idea of throwing the laptop out of a window refreshing, shame it wouldn't have the same effect though.

    I do actually have Macrium Reflect free and did create a bootable DVD with this and tried to create a System Image (this was Plan A after I read about problems with both Dell and Windows options). The plan was to alternate my backups between 2 external hard drives but unfortunately the System Image failed, I think because one hard drive is FAT32. I do still like the idea of having an alternative to Windows so am considering buying 2 new hard drives purely for backups and trying Macrium again. The idea would be to create System Images using both Windows and Macrium. Not quite as over-kill as hoody but definitely getting there!
    I am assuming that I only need 1 Macrium bootable DVD that will work on both laptops - is this correct?

    And do you have any other comments or advice on my plans?

    Thank you

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #41


    Posts : 22,582
    64-bit Windows 10


    Answers inline.


    Quote Originally Posted by SaggyMaggyPoo View Post
    I read the tutorial on creating the USB recovery drive using Windows (Is this the same as a WinPE boot disc mentioned by Hoody?).

    At one point in the tutorial it states:

    This is not the same as an OEM factory recovery USB flash drive that is used to do a factory recovery/restore of your preinstalled Windows 8.

    Correct. This would not be a factory recovery drive without the recovery partition (below) copied to it. It will be the same as WinPE.

    Quote Originally Posted by SaggyMaggyPoo View Post
    Later in the tutorial it states:

    If you have a store bought OEM computer that came with Windows 8 preinstalled, then you could also check the Copy contents from the recovery partition to the recovery drive box to be able to use the recovery USB flash drive to do a factory restore/recovery of Windows 8.
    These seem to contradict one another. If I copy the recovery partition when creating this USB does this mean I am in fact creating the equivalent of an OEM factory recovery USB as well as a bootable USB?
    If you copied the recovery partition, then you could use it to reset Windows back to factory conditions if that option is supported by the OEM.


    Quote Originally Posted by SaggyMaggyPoo View Post
    If they are the same thing then I am thinking of replacing my current Dell Backup & Recovery (DBR) created Reinstallation USBs with new ones created through Windows. One reason for this is that I have not yet created any factory restore media through Dell and would need additional USBs to do this, while it seems that creating a recovery USB through Windows could give me everything I need in a smaller package (the USBs are 16gb). But would I be missing anything if I did not also have the Dell USBs? And BTW the USBs are FAT32 while Windows uses NTFS. Does this matter?

    I would recommend to keep the Dell USBs. That would be Dell's supported method to use to do a factory restore with.

    Quote Originally Posted by SaggyMaggyPoo View Post
    And I am assuming that I can still create a factory backup despite the laptops now bearing no resemblence to their original factory state?

    Yes. Creating a factory backup would have nothing to do with your current state of Windows. It's only to create the USB to use to do a factory image later if needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by SaggyMaggyPoo View Post
    Moving on to System Images.

    Using a Custom System Image if I want to refresh the OS is something I will think about. I have read the tutorial and think it should be fairly simple to use my latest Image in this way - just need some discipline to remember to do it! In the past I have found the idea of throwing the laptop out of a window refreshing, shame it wouldn't have the same effect though.

    A Custom Recovery Image is not the same as a System Image.

    A system image is backup of the complete image of everything on the selected hard drives that can restore them back to how they were.

    A custom recovery image is a backup of only Windows and not the hard drive. More details in that tutorial.

    Quote Originally Posted by SaggyMaggyPoo View Post
    I do actually have Macrium Reflect free and did create a bootable DVD with this and tried to create a System Image (this was Plan A after I read about problems with both Dell and Windows options). The plan was to alternate my backups between 2 external hard drives but unfortunately the System Image failed, I think because one hard drive is FAT32. I do still like the idea of having an alternative to Windows so am considering buying 2 new hard drives purely for backups and trying Macrium again. The idea would be to create System Images using both Windows and Macrium. Not quite as over-kill as hoody but definitely getting there!
    I am assuming that I only need 1 Macrium bootable DVD that will work on both laptops - is this correct?

    And do you have any other comments or advice on my plans?

    Thank you

    Yep, the drive needs to be NTFS to save a system image to it.

    It's never overkill to have a few backup images. You'll wish you had them if needed because the other failed.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #42


    VA USA
    Posts : 349
    W8.1up1 Pro x64 w/media center


    Well looks like Brink got there and pretty much gave you your answers

    You seem to be wrapped up a bit in this "backup" stuff to a point that is clouding your senses lol, its not all that hard, just make sure to have the OEM restore usb/disks to restore the system back to the way you got it if you intend to give it away later and want to have it "cleaned" as close as possible (although just remember any sensitive stuff could still be recovered, but it would take more than the usual user) the only way to be sure your "stuff" would never be accessed if you wanted to get rid of the unit is to pull the HD completely and replace it, and destroy the HD yourself, and than do a restore on a clean HD, but I doubt you'd need to go that far.

    Once you have your "original" system recovery USB/Disks, all you really need from that point on is a good Image backup program, to Image the partition as you have it set up at the time you did the backup, that's all your really concerned about while you own the unit, why would you want to go back to say W8 after you go through the updating and programs installing and settings you have to date?, makes no sense, you want your unit recovered to the point you had it working to your liking.

    MR is good as far as I know, I don't use that one, try out AOMEI backerupper 2, or EASEUS 6.5, both have a free version, however the boot disk you get is a linux based disk, not the winPE, to get the WinPE enviroment, you need the Pro version, I'm not sure but maybe you can d/l EASUS home trial and see if it will make you the WinPE boot disk during the 30 day trial, if so that disk will always work later, or sometimes sharewareonsale has it free at times.

    As for the rest Brink has posted on your questions so nothing else to say there.

    Anyway your much more in tune with "tech" stuff than most , maybe even more than me lol I'm sure you'll be fine.

    btw I was up till 0530 this morning myself re doing a neighbors laptop lolol,

    good luck.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #43


    Greece
    Posts : 341
    Win8.1 64bit, Windows 10 TP on VMWare Player


    Thank you both again.

    I agree Hoody - I think my senses may be a little clouded but the advice from you and Shawn is definitely helping to clear things up for me. Just need to acquire some new USBs and hard drives to get everything sorted now.

    I will definitely be back here if and when I get another challenge

    Maggy
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #44


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


    What is the simplest method?
    In my opinion----

    Macrium Reflect FREE Edition - Information and download

    I use the paid version.
    Very good way to image your system.

    edit--- Looks like others posted while I was in the process of posting.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #45


    Greece
    Posts : 341
    Win8.1 64bit, Windows 10 TP on VMWare Player


    Quote Originally Posted by David Bailey View Post
    What is the simplest method?
    In my opinion----

    Macrium Reflect FREE Edition - Information and download

    I use the paid version.
    Very good way to image your system.

    edit--- Looks like others posted while I was in the process of posting.
    Thank you anyway, another positive vote for Macrium is additional confirmation of my plans.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #46


    Greece
    Posts : 341
    Win8.1 64bit, Windows 10 TP on VMWare Player


    Well I said I'd be back...

    Just to clarify something Shawn said:

    I plan to creat bootable Windows recovery USBs for each laptop that includes my recovery partition. Looking in disk management I can see 3 recovery partitions: 500mb, 350mb and 8.31gb respectively (all of which are apparently 100% free space).

    Would all these 3 partitions be copied onto my recovery drive?

    I believe that most USBs are FAT32 so would I need to reformat a USB to NTFS to take that 8gb partition?

    Or am I confusing my files and partitions?

    I am looking at buying Kingston USBs. Would these be suitable if I need to do any formatting?

    Thank you again
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #47


    Posts : 22,582
    64-bit Windows 10


    If you check the box to copy your recovery partition, then they should be included. Those USBs should be fine as long as they are large enough.

    Since this is for a Dell PC, I would recommend to create a reinstall disk (rescue disk) using their method to have handy if needed in the future.

    Dell Backup and Recovery | Dell US
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #48


    Greece
    Posts : 341
    Win8.1 64bit, Windows 10 TP on VMWare Player


    Just thought I'd give an update - and of course a new question

    Thanks to all the help I've received here I now have a Windows recovery USB for each laptop plus 2 new external hard drives to use purely for backups. One of these has the most recent System Image for each laptop on it, the other has a slightly older one. Plus I have free-ed up a lot of space on my original external drive for all my data.

    So now I am pretty happy with my setup.

    I already had Dell recovery USBs and, following advice on the Dell site, also created factory back-ups on USB. These appear to be exactly the same thing as the recovery USBs, given the size and file structure, so I posted a question on the Dell forum to find out if this was correct. Sadly, there hasn't been a response yet (not as keen as you guys here ).

    I also wanted to use Macrium Reflect free edition to create alternative System Images and cover all bases. I have successfully created a recovery DVD with Macrium, but have not been able to create the System Image. I get the following message:

    Backup aborted! - Unable to read from disk - Error Code 23 - Data error (cyclic redundancy check).
    I looked on the Macrium site and this suggests the above could be suggestive of a hard disk on its way out (I sincerely hope not after just 10 months).

    I did a check disk for errors and found none (I ran the check even though no errors found).

    QUESTION COMING UP: So I'd appreciate some advice on what to do now regarding the Macrium backup please.

    Should I keep trying in case it was a one-off (though it has happened twice now).?
    Or should I forget Macrium and trust that I have enough Windows and Dell based options?

    Thank you
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #49


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


    Have you tried this---

    Click image for larger version

    See this link---

    Using Macrium Reflect

    Hope this helps.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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