How to Create a System Image with Windows 8.1 File History


A previous tip showed how to create a system image in Windows 8. In Windows 8.1, Microsoft changed the procedure and made it harder to find. In this tip, I will give the new way to make a system image.

As the previous tip described, an obscure feature called “Windows 7 File Recovery” for creating system images was tucked away in Windows 8. That applet is gone from Windows 8.1 but the same functionality is still there with a different name. It is found in the feature called “File History” that was described in this other tip. The function has the new name “System Image Backup” and here are the steps to access it:File History Windows .1

  1. Go to the Start screen.Creating Windows 8.1 system image
  2. Type “file history” or just “file”
  3. Click “File History” in the list of selections that opens (not "File History settings").
  4. Clicking the first thumbnail shows an example of the dialog window that will open. 
  5. In the lower left corner of the window is a link “System Image Backup” (highlighted in the graphic).
  6. Click this entry and a dialog similar to the one shown by clicking the second thumbnail will open.
  7. Choose where you want the system image.
  8. Click “Next”
  9. Follow the directions in the “Create a System Image” wizard that opens.

You can also access File History with Control Panel-> System and Security -> File History and proceed from step 4 above.

Get your own favorite tip published! Know a neat tech tip or trick? Then why not have it published here and receive full credit? Click here to tell us your tip.

This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's, guides, and tutorials, including a site for learning about Windows and the Internet and another with Windows 7 tips.

Click here for more items like this. Better still, get Tech Tips delivered via your RSS feeder or alternatively, have the RSS feed sent as email direct to your in-box.

Please rate this article: 

Your rating: None
Average: 4.1 (18 votes)


When I try to backup to DVD DLs it stops with an error that there isn't enough space. The prompt says "On one or more DVDs" so it should be able to handle a multiple DVD backup, no?

I also agree with your comment on HP. It is really a disservice.
Is there any way to work around ?
Is there any other sftware or application that can create a backup image like the one that Windows offers, but with option to include the 4-500mb partition as well??

many laptops that have a recovery partition of only 4-500 Mb mess this up. shadow image creation fails with an error message that says not enough disk space, which is absurd since most laptops running 8.1 will be having a TB of disc space. No way to get around this I know. the only thing that does work is to create a Custom Refresh Image. It's too bad HP, especially has this image app blocked because of the recovery partition. this laptop is an ACER Aspire and it will work with this one.

I don't know why Windows developers are so stubbornly opposed to giving us a really good, easy to use, out in the open way of making an image.

Tell everyone about the recovery process. IT STINKS!