I'm trying to make sense of wimboot vs refresh. Can someone give a short answer to the following?

What's the difference between Dism /Capture-Image and recimg -CreateImage

They both produce .wim files. What's the difference between the wim files they produce?


  • "that specific installation. If you want an image that can be applied to any partition..." -- hearing apples to oranges again. Asking if the refresh image can be applied to another PC refresh process, not "another partition".
    – johny why
    Apr 24, 2017 at 21:03
  • "Recovery image is used to Refresh the installation, the created .wim image, is used to apply to a partition which would wipe any data on the partition" --Recovery image wipes the partition?
    – johny why
    Apr 24, 2017 at 21:20
  • Either you, or Microsoft, are mixing terms "recovery" and "refresh". I thought "Refresh" only restores the OS, without wiping the partition. But your comment above says Refresh wipes the partition.
    – johny why
    Apr 24, 2017 at 21:26

2 Answers 2


What's the difference between the wim files they produce?

If you type recimg /? in a command prompt it would display the following information.

C:>recimg /?

Configures the recovery image Windows uses to refresh your PC.


The recimg.exe command line tool lets you configure a custom recovery image for Windows to use when you refresh your PC. When you create a custom recovery image, it will contain the desktop apps you've installed, and the Windows system files in their current state. Recovery images do not contain your documents, personal settings, user profiles, or apps from Windows Store, because that information is preserved at the time you refresh your PC.

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 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.

This means recimg -CreateImage is used to create that image used by the recovery environment to Refresh the Windows installation in question.

Source: Why and when "recimg" is canceled in Windows 10?

/Capture-Image simply does the following:

Capture images for each customized partition.

/Capture-Image can be used to create an image of a storage device's existing partition. This would be typically be used, to create multiple .wim images of a system's partitions, in order to deploy it to other machines on a network so they are identical.

Source: Capture Images of Hard Disk Partitions Using DISM

Also, what's the difference between a .wmi file and a .wim file.

.WMI is a Windows Management Instrumentation script file. It has nothing to do with either command.


Dism /Capture-Image captures one or more entire partitions. It's used for creation of custom Windows installation media, unattended Windows installs, simple partition-image-and-restore, and WimBoot setups. When applied to a partition, it will overwrite the entire partition.

recimg -CreateImage captures installed OS and application files only. It's used for the Windows Refresh procedure. When applied to a partition, it will not overwrite the entire partition.

The wim extension indicates the compression-type of the file.

  • 1
    1) If you manually apply the created .wim file to a partition, it would indeed, overwrite your data on that partition. 2) Windows Recovery has nothing to do with /Create-Image, that's the recimg, which stands for recovery image. When any .wim is applied to a partition your replacing the data on the partition, but the recovery image you create, isn't applied but used to Refresh your Windows installation. Correct your inaccurate statements and I will just delete my answer.
    – Ramhound
    Apr 25, 2017 at 1:19
  • @Ramhound, ok, i'm but currently researching difference between "System Refresh" and "System Image Restore", and which of these 2 wim's is used for which. Also trying to see if "System Image Backup" GUI is equivalent to DISM.
    – johny why
    Apr 25, 2017 at 1:27
  • from your comment, it sounds like there's only 1 inaccurate statement, which i fixed by changing "Windows Recovery" to "System Image Restore". Right?
    – johny why
    Apr 25, 2017 at 1:33
  • No; System Image Restore is something else entirely
    – Ramhound
    Apr 25, 2017 at 1:37
  • "System Image Backup" and "System Image Restore" makes an iso or recovery media, not wim?
    – johny why
    Apr 25, 2017 at 1:38

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