How to Create a Windows 8 System Image

Windows 8 can create a system image that takes a snapshot of your computer that you can revert to if disaster strikes. Creating one is easy, here’s how.

Windows 8 comes with several new tools for data storage, as well as system and storage recovery. New features like File History, PC Reset, PC Refresh and Storage Spaces. It also still comes with the familiar System Image feature found in Windows 7.

In essence, it creates a backup of your current system state that it can be reverted back to if disaster strikes, or when you want a refresh. Keep in mind that this is no longer necessary for fresh installs because Windows 8 has a new Refresh feature that brings the system back and doesn’t delete personal files.

A system image is useful for creating backups before installing new software, or just as a precaution against system failure or cataclysmic viruses after you have your system environment up and running.

Create a System Image in Windows 8

To open the system image tool in Windows 8, hit Windows Key + W and type: file recovery in the Settings search file on the Metro Start Menu. Under the search results select Windows 7 File Recovery. No, that isn’t a labeling error, that’s what it’s really called in the new OS.

search metro windows 7 file recovery

Control Panel will open on the Desktop to Windows 7 File Recovery. In the left column click Create a System Image.

control panel create a system image

Now Windows will search for attached backup devices. This could be made up of a USB drive, a SD card, a blank DVD, or even a network location. Here, I selected Network Location and set it to save backups to my NAS (Network Attached Storage) device.

finding backup sourcessave system image to network location

Once you’ve selected where the backup image will be saved, there is one last confirmation page. If your computer only has a single partition there isn’t much you can do here — but if you have multiple partitions, you can choose whether or not to back them up as well.

windows 8 start backup

Now just wait for the backup to complete, and then you’re done! You now have a groovy system image of your Windows 8 installation.

windows 8 saving backup



  1. hahoki

    December 11, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Thanks, I’ve done all that and got 4 recovery discs.
    How can I recover the System from those DVD’s???? Although I’ve got the no.1 disc inserted win 8 does not recognize the recovery DVD.
    Beware of °re-freshing your System!!!!!!!!!

  2. gbjohnson

    January 28, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Yes, I can’t see how to use the image to recover in Win8. An article on that would be appreciated please.
    It is a pity MS decided to change their terminology so unintelligently in Win8.

    I don’t find the ability to ‘refresh’ very useful as it seems I’ll lose all my non-ap programs.

  3. Ray

    January 11, 2014 at 12:39 am

    Elsewhere, I’ve read that the first disk of your DVD backup must be pre-formatted to the default format (NTFS) before you begin because of a glitch in Win-8 that happens if you
    insert a blank disk that hasn’t been formatted, Your other disks of the backup don’t need
    to be formatted, they say. You can avoid all that by using an external drive for backups.

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