Create a Custom System Image for use in Windows 8 Refresh Your PC feature

Windows 8 comes with two new options to restore your PC to its original state, the Basic Refresh and the Complete Reset feature. The Refresh your PC gives you an easy option to restart afresh, while retaining all of your documents, accounts, personal settings, and even the Metro apps you’ve downloaded from the Windows Store.

When you refresh a Windows 8 computer, by default, the Metro apps will be restored – but the desktop apps or software are not. If you wish, you can create a custom system image that will include your desktop apps or software too. Reinstalling all of your Desktop software all over again can be a boring and time-consuming chore. When you use this custom system image, in Refresh Your PC, all your desktop software too will be included.

Create a Custom System Refresh Image using Recimg.exe

To create a custom system image in Windows 8, first create a destination folder for saving the custom system image. I have my Windows 8 installed on C Drive, so I may want to create the custom system image on D Drive in a new folder named MySystemImage. So the folder I have created has the path: D:\MySystemImage.

Now move your cursor to the bottom left corner to open the Win+X menu and click on Command Prompt (Admin) to open an elevated CMD.

Now to create a custom system image, we will use the Recimg.exe command-line tool that is included in Windows 8. Recimg.exe creates an image which can be used by the Refresh facility when restoring Windows 8.

In the CMD windows type recimg -CreateImage D:\MySystemImage and hit Enter.

Recimg will begin the process of creating a snapshot and writing the image as a wim archive into the specified folder. This is expected to take a while, so you may continue to work on your computer, or leave it on and go away and let it finish its task.

In this way you can create a custom system image for you Windows 8. I strongly recommend your creating one as soon as you have completed installing all your Metro apps and Desktop software on you new Windows 8 installation.

Go here to see how to create a System Image Backup in Windows 7.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.