Windows recimg limitations vs. alternatives
Fred Langa had an article a while ago in which he recommends using the built-in recimg program to create a custom image that can be used to restore your boot drive without loosing desktop applications or data (er.g., recimg /createimage D:\RefreshImage). I thought I understood what recimg does - that is, create a backup image with all my desktop applications and data. I don't think it does this however. What I think it does is create a backup that includes desktop applications but not data associated with those applications. When you do a restore, it doesn't replace the existing data files, so they are preserved. It just doesn't copy the data files to restore them.
This is why I think this is so.
My C: boot drive is a 500 GB Samsung SSD with 190 GB used. The recimg custom refresh image is 58GB in size. Even with compression, that can't include all the data files. If your C: drive crashed, and you need to replace it by reimaging a new drive, you will loose all your data. (That is a bad thing: for example, I have two flight simulator programs installed with about 60GB of (scenery) data files.)
I also have a copy of Farstone DriveClone (V10.02) and when it runs, it completely images the C: drive so that it exactly matches the original - that is, the cloned drive is 190 GB in size (it also includes the UEFI partition). All the system, program and data is present. (There is also a big difference in time to run the backup: recimg completes in about 30 minutes, while DriveClone grinds away for about 12 hours.)
I would appreciate comments from anyone with experience with recimg who can confirm or reject my conclusions. My fear is that using recimg might not protect against all disasters - particularly those where the C: drive has a serious hardware problem and is not usable. It seems it would work nicely to do a restore when some system software is corrupted.
Can someone enlighten me about this? (I am running Win8.1U Pro 64.)