Q: Windows System Image vs Recimg Refresh

What are the benefits or disadvantages to creating a Windows System Image vs. using the custom image recimg command?  If I understand them correctly, both create a snapshot of the drive at the moment of creation, but are used at different points during the restoration process.  I recently upgraded to 8.1 from 8 (through the Windows store) and I understand that refresh no longer functions as it did in 8.  I've read in a few places that refreshing 8.1 takes you back to 8-is this true? I was able to successfully create a system image, but could not successfully create a custom image using recimg.  I'm just not sure what the difference is.


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.

The following commands can be specified:

/createimage <directory> :
Captures a new custom recovery image in the location specified by <directory>, and sets it as the active recovery image.

/setcurrent <directory> :
Sets the active recovery image to the CustomRefresh.wim file in the location specified by <directory>. Windows will use this image when you Refresh your PC, even if a recovery image provided by your PC's manufacturer is present.

/deregister :
Deregisters the current custom recovery image. If a recovery image provided by your PC's manufacturer is present, Windows will use that image when you refresh your PC. Otherwise, Windows will use your installation media when you refresh your PC.

/showcurrent :
Displays the path to the directory in which the current active recovery image is stored.

/help, /? :
Displays this help text.

You can learn here how to create a custom system refresh image for Windows 8.    

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

1 person was helped by this reply

Best thing to do is make yourself both,, CustomRefresh.wim   and a System Image.

Try the Refresh.   If you find yourself back at win8 and too much trouble..  System Image take you less that 15 minutes probably unless you have very slow cpu or huge amount of data or programming.

I did an in-place repair install with a 8.11 iso on an upgraded 8 to 8.1.   Everything suddenly worked much nicer.  No more task bar in the Start screen and other little things suddenly seemed more right.

Microsoft Bob came back after a 20 year makeover, and with a new name. Cortana!

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

Thank you for the replies.  I have two issues: 1. Apparently there is an issue with Toshiba computers not recognizing the recimg command.  I tried to create a custom image and kept getting the exact same error message that other Toshiba owners have been getting (entry point not found). 2. A refresh is obviously more desirable than restoring an image because the image may still have the problems you are trying to fix, whereas a refresh reinstalls a clean version of Windows. What I can't get a straight answer on is when doing a refresh on a Windows Store updated 8.1, what the system reverts back to-Windows 8, 8.1, or it just doesn't work at all (I've seen people talking about all three outcomes).

One more thing: in cmd prompt it says I don't have an active recovery partition.  Yet when I access the recovery program to create recovery media, the box for copying the recovery partition is checked, so I assume I have a working recovery partition.  It shows a 10gb recovery partition in Disc Management.

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

Question Info

Views: 1,389 Last updated: April 27, 2018 Applies to: