Create a Windows 8 image with recimg.exe to preserve your Desktop apps after a refresh


Windows 8 supports two new ways to revert your system to an earlier state.  From the Settings charm, access More PC settings and then click General.  Towards the bottom, you’ll see these two choices:

  1. Refresh your PC without affecting your files.  This choice keeps your personal data, system settings, and Metro style applications.  Desktop applications will be removed, unless you create a custom image as I detail below.
  2. Reset your PC and start over.  This choice is like a factory reset.  All of your personal files, Metro style apps, and Desktop apps will be removed.  You can optionally write random data to your drive for added security.

Use option 2 if you’re going to sell or give away your system.  All of your personal files will be erased.  The rest of this post is about option 1.

Option 1, refreshing your PC, keeps your personal data and reinstalls Metro style applications.  Desktop apps will be removed, and their names will be placed in a file on your desktop called Removed Apps.

Reinstalling all of your Desktop apps can be time consuming, so Windows 8 offers a command called recimg.exe to make this easier.  recimg creates an image which is used by the refresh facility when restoring Windows.  Not only will your personal data and Metro style apps be saved, but so will Desktop apps you have installed at the time you create the image.  This can save you a lot of time.

After installing Windows 8 on a new system, the first thing I do is install Visual Studio and Office.  I then do this as Administrator:

mkdir C:\RefreshImage
recimg /CreateImage C:\RefreshImage
recimg /ShowCurrent

Refreshing my PC will then preserve my Desktop apps.  Any Desktop apps I install after creating the image will not be copied over to the refreshed system.  However, the old system is preserved in C:\Windows.old.

For more information, run recimg /help. Also read the Refresh and reset your PC article by Desmond Lee on the Building Windows 8 blog.

Comments (13)

  1. Paras Wadehra says:

    Great feature!

  2. Shafi says:

    On Windows 8 Enterprise version6.2 (Build 9200)  Downloaded from MSDN site

    When Trying to use the Refresh your PC without affecting your files option, using command line called recimg.exe to save the Desktop Applications. we are getting error : The recovery image cannot be written. Error Code – 0x80042319

    Command we run is :

    C:Windowssystem32>recimg.exe -CreateImage d:RefreshImage

    Source OS location:  C:

    Recovery image path: d:RefreshImageCustomRefresh.wim

    Creating recovery image. Press [ESC] to cancel.

    Initializing

    100%

    Creating snapshot

    27%

    The recovery image cannot be written.

    Error Code – 0x80042319

    Blog Describing issue:

    social.technet.microsoft.com/…/c5ece863-371a-4b06-9baf-0d2440e19f7d

    If you have any suggestion recommendations will help.

  3. fdwl says:

    If you are trying to create custom recovery image for refreshing your Windows 8 PC by using recimg.exe tool, you might receive error message 0x80070003

    C:> recimg /createimage D:RefreshImage

    Source OS location:  C:

    Recovery image path: D:RefreshImageCustomRefresh.wim

    Creating recovery image. Press [ESC] to cancel.

    Initializing

    100%

    Creating snapshot

    100%

    The recovery image cannot be written.

    Error Code – 0x80070003

    This might be caused by active volume mount point in the root of the c: drive

    more details here: blog.itbubble.ru/…/recovery-image-creator-recimgexe-fails.html

  4. Rohit Jha says:

    how to use this image should i replace install.wim on the sources folder of windows

  5. Here is my issue... says:

    Microsoft Windows [Version 6.2.9200]

    (c) 2012 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

    C:Windowssystem32>recimg.exe /createimage D:custom-refresh2252013

    The recovery image cannot be written.

    Error Code – 0x80070003

    C:Windowssystem32>recimg.exe /createimage b:custom-refresh2252013

    Source OS location:  C:

    Recovery image path: b:custom-refresh2252013CustomRefresh.wim

    Creating recovery image. Press [ESC] to cancel.

    Initializing

    100%

    Creating snapshot

    20%

    The recovery image cannot be written.

    Error Code – 0x80070037

    C:Windowssystem32>

  6. Michael E says:

    I am getting "recovery image cannot be written", the error code is 0x80070006

  7. Amr nour says:

    Microsoft Windows [Version 6.2.9200]

    (c) 2012 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

    C:Windowssystem32>mkdir c:refreshimage

    A subdirectory or file c:refreshimage already exists.

    C:Windowssystem32>recimg -createimage c:refreshimage

    Source OS location:  C:

    Recovery image path: c:refreshimageCustomRefresh.wim

    Creating recovery image. Press [ESC] to cancel.

    The recovery image cannot be written to the specified path. The recovery

    image must be stored on a fixed disk.

    Error Code – 0x80004002

  8. Nat says:

    Im getting " recimg is not recognised"

  9. David McGInniss says:

    I get the same error

    Microsoft Windows [Version 6.2.9200]

    (c) 2012 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

    C:Windowssystem32>mkdir c:refreshimage

    A subdirectory or file c:refreshimage already exists.

    C:Windowssystem32>recimg -createimage d:refreshimage

    Source OS location:  C:

    Recovery image path: D:refreshimageCustomRefresh.wim

    Creating recovery image. Press [ESC] to cancel.

    The recovery image cannot be written to the specified path. The recovery

    image must be stored on a fixed disk.

    Error Code – 0x80004002

    The target is a USB drive I have tried 16, 32, and 64 GB drives all fail.

  10. dlwilson88 says:

    I do believe this is the expected outcome I am  looking for:

    C:WINDOWSsystem32>recimg.exe /showcurrent

    \?GLOBALROOTdeviceharddisk1partition4System_Image_2014

    RecImg: Operation completed successfully

  11. Morrigan says:

    I can find my image with the recimg /showcurrent, but then the Refresh option claims there is no image.  Absolutely useless.  I see someone had this problem nearly a year ago, and not one suggestion.

  12. marvin cad says:

    watch this video for more info…. mine works http://www.youtube.com/watch