To continue with your discovery into hidden but-not-so hidden Windows secrets, the next step after configuring your Best Windows UEFI/GPT partitioning scheme is to setup a Windows REFRESH Image.

If you are a Windows Laptop or Tablet user, it is likely that your (reputable?!) vendor has already done the hard work for you.

Although if you choose to perform a clean-upgrade to a later version of Windows or you have a blank computer to start with, please be aware that Windows Setup (by default) does not configure for you a (handy!) REFRESH and/or RESET image.

That is (guess what?) so I can write these post!

If you wonder what a REFRESH or RESET image is, let me briefly introduce you these…

A REFRESH Image is a sort of a snapshot of your system-state without any of your 3rd party programs installed, while a RESET Image wipes your whole Windows system to its current defaults.

The only remarkable difference is that:

  1. If you REFRESH, you won’t lose your USER PROFILE DATA (your Desktop, Docs, Pics, etc.).
  2. IF you RESET, you will lose ALL your USER PROFILE DATA (your Desktop, Docs, Pics, etc.).

Now, if your feel you require further info about those features, search with your fav. search engine then get back!


Let’s get to work.

As said at the beginning, consider this post as the continuation of Best Windows UEFI/GPT partitioning scheme, so I will assume that you’ve installed Windows by following my Best Windows UEFI/GPT partitioning scheme post <LINK>.

Once on Windows, you will notice there is a ~16GB empty partition labeled “Recovery”.

This partition is intended to host both your REFRESH and RECOVERY Images (although for practical reasons I’ll be blogging about the RESET Image on a future post).


How to Deploy a REFRESH Image to your Recovery Partition.

To Deploy a REFRESH Image to your Recovery Partition, you will rely on “recimg”.

recimg” is a neat command-line utility that allows you to setup and register a REFRESH Image.

Before using recimg (to create a Custom REFRESH Image), please locate the Drive letter that has been assigned to your “Recovery”-Partition (in my example I will assume that is “D:\”).

You can find your Recovery Partition through Explorer, Disk Management or DISKPART (up to you).

Then, on your freshly setup Windows 8.1, open an Admin CMD and type:

recimg /createimage D:\


Brace for a long wait, since the above command will create your Custom REFRESH Image based on your (currently running) Windows.

TIP: Install all your fav apps before creating your REFRESH Image Winking smile

  • Once the REFRESH image creation is complete, recimg will also register the image within your WinRE.

After beer, coffee (or whatever you fancy!), test that your REFRESH Image is working.


Tactical Bombing.

For example (After the REFRESH Image process is complete):

  1. Install a new application (say 7-zip).
  2. START –> POWER-Button –> RESTART while keeping the SHIFT-KEY pressed.
  3. Boot to WinRE.
  4. Select “Troubleshoot your Computer”.
  5. Select “REFRESH” to Refresh your PC.

After your computer has been refreshed, you will notice that 7-Zip is missing from the list of installed Programs (but no User Data has been harmed in the process)!

I guess that’s about it. Thanks for reading and please share my blog!

On my next article, I will show you how to Setup a Windows RESET Image.

Senior Professional Network and Computer Systems Engineer during work hours and father when home.

Andrea strives to deliver outstanding customer service and heaps of love towards his family.

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HOW TO Setup a Windows REFRESH Image.
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