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I want to create a custom image of my windows 8 installation (after installing and configuring drivers and needed software). This will be useful later on for refreshing the windows, instead of a clean install.

I have noticed that windows 8 comes with two methods of creating system images

  1. In the Control Panel -> Windows 7 File Recovery there is a gui tool to create a system image. enter image description here

  2. The recimg command to create system images.

Which one of the two methods is better? Are there any differences b/w the two?

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Are there any differences b/w the two?

One is a system image which was introduced in Windows Vista and significantly improved in Windows 7 and Windows 8.

The other is a new feature and connected to the Refresh feature introduce in Windows 8.

This article describes how to create a custom system image that is used to refresh a Windows 8 PC. Refresh your PC" is a new feature in Windows 8. By default, desktop apps are removed when you refresh a Windows 8-based computer, unless you create a custom image. After you create a custom system image, the image is used as the refresh image. This means that any existing image or OEM restore image is not used when you refresh your computer. We recommend that only experienced Windows 8 users who understand the consequences of this behavior create a custom system image.

The space that is required to create a custom image depends on the number of apps that are installed on the computer and may exceed 5.0 GB. In addition, the custom image creation process may take a long time, during which you should not restart the computer. A percentage indicator lets you monitor the progress of the process.


I am not going to suggest which one is better because that depends on what you believe is better. You can decide which one meets your requirements.

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I welcome any suggestions from the community to better address the question posed by the author. I really don't want to explain the Create a system image option since thats really not a new feature introduced in Windows 8. That feature has been well documented and the benefits explain many times over the years. – Ramhound May 25 '13 at 5:40
Thanks for the response. Though I'm still interested in knowing the difference b/w the ways they work. With the current information I have gathered, I can't really decide which one is better. – Ammar May 25 '13 at 6:52
@Ammar - If you use the command line tool, it will update your system image that is used, when you refresh your system. This means when you hit refresh you could have all your desktop applications already installed. The advantages of the system restoration image have already been well documented over the years. – Ramhound May 25 '13 at 15:34

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