PC Buddy Helpdesk - Free computer help > The real PC Buddy Help Desk > Knowledgebase

Search help:

How to make a disk image in Microsoft Windows 10.


Backing up your computer with images is a great strategy to get yourself up and running quickly after a system failure.


1Go to the Start screen, start by typing Windows PowerShell, right-click the result and select Run as administrator.

2Connect an external USB drive to save the image backup.

3While in PowerShell (Admin) type the following command and press Enter:

wbAdmin start backup -backupTarget:D: -include:C: -allCritical -quiet

wbadmin-start-backup powershell

To save an image backup to a shared folder in the network use the following command:

wbAdmin start backup -backupTarget:\\sharedFolder\folderName -user:username -password:userPassword -include:C: -allCritical -quiet


The wbAdmin start backup is the command-line tool, -backupTarget:D: refers to the drive where you are saving the system image — if your external drive has a different letter, change “D” for the letter of your drive –, -include:C: tells to the backup tool to capture an image backup of your main hard drive (where in this case Windows 8.1 is installed). The -allCritical switch specifies to include all the values inside of the hard drive (very important option), and finally there is the -quiet switch that will simply run the subcommand without prompting anything to the user.

Quick Tip: If your PC has more than one hard drive, you’ll need to specify to include all those drives as well. To do this change the -include:C: to something like this: -include:C:,E:,F:

The process to complete the system image backup will depend on all the data in the hard drive, in the amount of hard drives you are backing up, and of course your computer hardware. (While testing this tool in a virtual machine, it only took 30 minutes to backup about 10GB of data.)

Once the backup is done, you can browse the USB drive you chose to save the system image and you’ll notice something familiar, you will find the good oldWindowsImageBackup folder, the .xml and .vhdx files, like you used to see in the “Backup and Restore” feature in Windows 7.

WindowsImageBackup folder in Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 Image backup VHDX files

How to restore Windows 8.1 from image backup

Now the most important instructions are how to actually take this full backup and restore Windows 8.1.


1Pop the DVD or USB media with the Windows 8.1 installation files. Also connect the drive with the backup in it.

2Restart your computer and make sure your PC can boot from DVD or USB media.

3When the installation wizard start, click Next, then click the Repair your computer link in the bottom-left corner of the window.

4Click on Troubleshoot, then click Advanced options, and select System Image Recovery

5Choose the target operating system you want to recover.

6The Re-image your computer wizard starts, it will scan for a system image backup. Click Next and choose whether to format and repartition the hard drive (optional).

System image backup recovery tool Windows 8.1

7Finally, click Finish to start the recovery process. 

Starting recovery in Windows 8.1

As you can see it is possible in Windows 8.1 to create a true full backup that copies bit-by-bit all the data out of your PC’s hard drive, including Windows installation files, desktop applications, modern apps, user profiles, PC settings, personalization, and everything in between, even secondary hard drives used for storage.

SEE ALSO: How to create a Windows 8.1 full backup (Step by Step)

Important Note: Microsoft brought back the full backup functionally in Windows 8.1, so creating a system image works in the same way as it did in Windows 8.

Update: Although, Microsoft brought back the System Image Backup tool in Windows 8.1, what the company removed for good is the option to schedule a backup. But don’t worry, there is a workaround.

Was this article helpful? yes / no
Article details
Article ID: 7
Category: Knowledgebase
Date added: 2014-12-03 20:17:35
Views: 2401
Rating (Votes): Article rated 3.1/5.0 (89)

« Go back

Powered by Help Desk Software HESK - brought to you by Help Desk Software SysAid