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  1. #1
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    "Refresh" your PC with your Programs intact (needs Testing)

    A simple command line interface that will allow you to create a refresh point for the
    bootable recovery console's PC refresh option, with maybe, many of your installed desktop programs remaining intact.


    Windows 8 Refresh: A great feature, if you know the limitations

    Windows 8 Refresh lets you restore your Windows 8 PC to earlier state without destroying data, but beware hidden gotchas
    By Woody Leonhard | InfoWorld

    mkdir C:\RefreshImage
    recimg -CreateImage C:\RefreshImage

    Replace the above drive letter "C" with whatever drive letter represents the location
    you wish to store CustomRefresh.wim
    recimg help:
    Untitled.jpg


    I came across this article on InfoWorld by our own Woody Leonhard, but it's dated April 3/2012.
    I was able to create the CustomRefresh.wim on a directory of my choosing, but I have not tested it by attempting
    a system refresh. (not in a position of needing to)
    Woody has tested this in his above article with mixed results, but that was with a consumer preview way back in April.

    The CustomRefresh.wim file on my system came out to approx. 7.75GB in size.

    Although not nearly as complete and reliable as an image created with a 3rd party tool, or even the default Windows 8 image
    tool
    , it definitely increases the potential recovery options available to Windows 8.

    If there are any of you brave soles out there who might be in a position to test the above procedure, please post back so that the rest of us
    can get an idea of it's functional usefulness
    .


    I may test this later on myself and post back on the results if I have some time.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2012-11-16 at 00:45.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

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  3. #2
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    If you whish to use the default image backup and recovery program in Windows 8, it is located
    in the control panel under "Windows 7 File Recovery".
    Don't forget to create a recovery disk if you decide do use it.

    Remember:
    Just like the Windows 7 backup and recovery app, the Windows 8 one will not allow you to create images to select folders, only
    drive letters. Only a 3rd party app will allow images to be created and stored in more precise folder locations.

    The windows 8 backup and recovery program is unchanged from windows 7. While your in there, check out the new
    Windows 8 File history located in the control panel under "File History".
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2012-11-16 at 00:15.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

  4. #3
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    File History has been working very well for me as well. Since my data needs are not very massive, my backup media is not left attached, but is connected periodically to update the File History files.

    Since I use Acronis True Image 2013, I do not use the Win 8 Pro built in Imaging app. Acronis has never let me down. I usually create a new Image on both our PC's right after patch Tuesday. I also rerun File History at that time.
    Last edited by Medico; 2012-11-16 at 04:48.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  5. #4
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    mkdir C:\RefreshImage
    recimg -CreateImage C:\RefreshImage

    Replace the above drive letter "C" with whatever drive letter represents the location
    you wish to store CustomRefresh.wim



    I ran a refresh test via a bootable Windows 8 installed portable USB thumb drive, after creating my custom refresh as per the above article.

    Here are my results:

    Although the refresh did keep many of my programs, I had to locate them in the Programs & Programs x86
    folders. All of the taskbar pinned items were gone and many of the shortcuts.


    Successful Programs:
    Macrium survived the refresh, except settings.
    EASEUS Partition Master 6.5.2 Home Edition survived the refresh.
    Office Home and Student 2010 survived, except for settings.
    Windows Essentials survived the refresh, except settings, and email. SkyDrive needed to be synced again.
    Hard Disk Sentinel survived the refresh.
    Vopt 9 survived the refresh, except settings.
    VLC survived the refresh, except settings.
    Winamp survived, except settings.
    Privacy Mantra 3.00 survived, except settings.
    Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware survived.
    DVD Decryptor survived, except settings.
    XViD codec survived.
    CCleaner survived the refresh, except settings.

    Failed Programs:
    Specialized DVD ripping and conversion programs required registry reinstallations
    DivX required reinstall.
    Windows Essentials, although survived, required considerable tinkering.

    Personalized Settings:
    The taskbar was all but bare except the explorer icon.
    Personalized file explorer settings did not survive.
    Shutdown, restart, and sleep scripts did not survive being on the desktop.
    File associations did not survive.
    All IE favorites survived.
    All moved folder locations survived.
    I had UAC turned down and it survived the refresh.
    Windows update settings survived: Set to look but not download or install.
    Taskbar toolbars did not survive the refresh.
    Notification area icons needed custom resetting.
    Taskmanager needed setting up the way I wanted, and I ended up with 10-15 more services active.
    Most desktop startup apps remain disabled in the refresh.

    Start Screen:
    Shutdown, restart, and sleep scripts did not survive being on the start screen.
    All apps required all needed updates to be reinstalled.
    Username picture survived the refresh.

    Drivers:
    Miraculously all my drivers survived the refresh, even the printer & scanner, (except settings of course)
    after plugging them in again. I don't routinely keep my printer and scanner's USB cables plugged in
    No yellow or red marks in device manager indicating troubled hardware.

    Windows Updates:
    All 56 Windows Updates survived the refresh.
    Even my WU settings survived the refresh.

    Total refresh time: Approx. 20 to 30 min.

    This is by no means a replacement for a well tested backup & imaging regimen, but this does represent another
    very decent option that Windows 8 provides. Note that there will still be considerable time spent on settings adjustments.
    Be aware that you may not have fixed whatever issue causing the need for this type of refresh and that MS may decide to cut this out in the future.

    There you have it folks, this is looking like a decent little Windows 8 gimmick.
    The downside to this is one has to set it up first, obviously if one doesn't know it, it won't happen.


    Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to restore the image I had just made prior to doing this little test.
    CLiNT
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2012-11-16 at 07:23.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

  6. The Following User Says Thank You to CLiNT For This Useful Post:

    Medico (2012-11-16)

  7. #5
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Clint, did the total Refresh time include the after refresh tinkering? I have heard Refresh takes more time than other options. It seems even this customized Refresh needs a little work.

    Thanks for spending the time checking on this. I suppose there are people that will use this, although I cannot understand why they would choose this over Imaging.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  8. #6
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    No, just the OS refresh.
    I never bothered with the tinkering since I had fully intended to restore an image.
    Like I said earlier, the tinkering and resetting up of all the settings would have run a few hours at least.
    Faster if you knew what you were doing.

    Not a bad option, IF you can remember to run the commands. Otherwise your looking at installing all your desktop apps
    and at least some of your drivers.

    It's not as extensive as a reset, but better than a refresh if you had run the commands.
    It should also be noted that the original cause necessitating this type of refresh may still be present
    when all is said and done. But it at least gives one far more built in OS options than anything previous.

    It's by no means a replacement for a known good drive image restore.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2012-11-16 at 20:45.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

  9. #7
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    That's what I thought, thanks Clint.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  10. #8
    4 Star Lounger
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    Apps Removed

    I should have taken notes as Clint did but this was the result of my testing using Slimware's RecImg Manager.

    Rich


    Apps removed while refreshing your PC
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 3:46 PM

  11. #9
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Rich, I hope you had an Image to revert back to! It appears the Refresh removed all the apps you had installed, which makes sense because that is what it is reported to do. Did you use the recimg app to create a special Refresh Image prior to using Refresh?
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  12. #10
    4 Star Lounger
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    @Medico (Ted)

    Yes, I did a custom refresh using Slimware's RecImg Manager. But most importantly (like you) I used Acronis to backup Win8 Pro before I tested!

    Rich

  13. #11
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    You do not need any 3rd party RecImg tool. This is all you need to do:
    mkdir C:\RefreshImage
    recimg -CreateImage C:\RefreshImage

    Replace the above drive letter "C" with whatever drive letter represents the location
    you wish to store CustomRefresh.wim
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

  14. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by CLiNT View Post
    You do not need any 3rd party RecImg tool. This is all you need to do:
    Yes, but SlimWare's RecImg Manager can schedule it to happen every day/week/month etc. and set the number of snapshots to be kept automatically, which is quite convenient.

    Bruce
    Last edited by BruceR; 2012-11-24 at 03:04.

  15. #13
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    For me and our laptops this method works to our satisfaction. Our data needs are far less than many.

    1) Monthly, right after patch Tuesday I create a new Image of both Laptops using Acronis True Image 2013. I create this Image from the Rescue Boot Disk which effectively takes Windows out of the equation. I then Restore the Image right afterward to ensure it will work when it's needed. I could create the Images from within Windows, I just choose not to.

    If I make changes to my OS, I might make another intermediate Image. These changes would include adding or removing apps, etc.

    2) At least monthly, I will attach my Ext HD and run File History on both PCs. Our data does not change enough daily to keep the Ext HD connected all the time. If there has been changes, such as added photos, etc., I will run File History more often.

    3) Every couple of days I back up my Quicken files from my PC to my wife's PC. This is really the only data file than changes very often.

    I believe, for the average user, this system is more than adequate to safeguard their PCs. My Images are never more than 1 month old. File History (this is a new part of Win 8 that is very helpful) is also never more than 1 month old.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

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