Windows 10: Is Custom Refresh option still gone in Windows 10?

Discus and support Is Custom Refresh option still gone in Windows 10? in Windows 10 Support to solve the problem; Since so many people do not use a backup program I always advised everyone running Windows 8 to at least make a custom refresh image of their systems.... Discussion in 'Windows 10 Support' started by lgentry, Apr 7, 2016.

  1. lgentry Win User

    Is Custom Refresh option still gone in Windows 10?

    Since so many people do not use a backup program I always advised everyone running Windows 8 to at least make a custom refresh image of their systems. I know that option was discontinued in the earlier builds of Windows 10. Personally, I regularly backup my systems. Now that it has been released to the public has the option to create a custom refresh image been put back in to Windows 10? All the posts I found here were old and applied to the beta versions. Does anyone know anything definite about this?

    lgentry, Apr 7, 2016
  2. Andrei V. Win User

    custom refresh gone, is there another way?

    All I know about recimg is that I used it once to create a custom refresh, I thought it was a great idea, but after using that custom image I lost some settings and also some apps that were on drive C and should have been restored.

    And the second time I used it, I created the custom refresh image but was unable to restore from it because the restore system kept complaining about space issues on drive C. It seems that, even if the custom refresh is on drive D, when you want to refresh
    from it, it is first copied to drive C.

    After these 2 negative experiences I started reading about this new custom refresh tool and found some articles that criticized it and explained that it is an experiment left unfinished.

    Also, I don't know if you can use this custom refresh to restore your system if you are unable to boot Windows at all. Let's say your boot files are corrupt and you cannot boot at all, not even in safe mode. How exactly do you use the custom refresh to restore
    your system?

    Yes, you are right, on systems with little disk space, it is pointless to partition the drive in 2. But wbadmin will work for these systems also. The only problem is that the image is going to also contain the user files, since in this situation these files
    are on drive C.

    But I would recommend using file history (or another user files backup solution) in these cases nevertheless.

    Backing up user files should be done way more often than system images.

    The fact that the system images are going to also contain a snapshot of user files is just a welcomed redundancy (you never know when they might be useful).
    Andrei V., Apr 7, 2016
  3. Andrei V. Win User
    custom refresh gone, is there another way?

    "Custom refresh" was a nice idea but badly implemented. It was a testing software left there afterwards but never "polished" as it should have been.

    So it looks like they decided to drop it instead of making it useful.

    I used it only a couple of times but when I saw how terrible it was at restoring I never touched it again.

    When talking about backup, there are two different aspects that we must consider: system backup and user files backup.

    In my opinion it is very wise to separate these aspects and treat them as 2 issues that must be addressed. That is why, when I set up a new computer (or computers) I always create two partitions on the storage device (hard drive, RAID, etc): one for the
    system files and one for the user data.

    After installing the OS and all the necessary software, as one of the last steps in setting up the system, I move the user folders to drive D, in a dedicated folder. By user folders I mean those folders called "Documents", "Desktop", "Pictures", "Videos",
    "Music", etc. They are called a little bit differently on Linux, but they also exist there.

    I then instruct the user to always use these dedicated system folders to save all the files he/she creates, putting them in the appropriate place.

    In order to have a backup of these user files, many solutions exist. I personally use an external Hard Drive where I sync these folders using FreeFileSync.

    But I just noticed that there is a very nice feature in Windows 10, File History, that can be used for exactly the same purpose and in exactly the same way (syncs user files to an external hard drive, into a dedicated folder). I think I am going to switch
    to this one...

    For the system partition backup, I tested and tried many solutions but in the end I came to the conclusion that nothing beats creating a system image with the built-in tool available in Windows since Vista: wbadmin.

    It is true that you have to use command prompt but you can also create a batch file (as I did) to launch it when necessary.

    It makes an EXACT COPY of your essential system partitions, in a VHD file format, which means that you can also mount it and copy individual files from it if needed.

    The only down side is that it uses no compression, so the size of the VHD file is almost equal to the size of occupied space on drive C. But with the extra large external hard drives of these days, that shouldn't be an issue. My system image size for example
    is 42 Gb. On my 1.5 Tb external HDD...

    To restore from this kind of image, one could use a bootable recovery media or it can be done directly from Windows, if it is still bootable.

    The command used to create the image is (ran from an elevated command prompt):

    wbadmin start backup -backuptarget:E: -allcritical -quiet

    Obviously, backup target letter should point to the external HDD that will be used.

    One more note on this, the external HDD must be formatted NTFS (which is a good idea anyway).
    Andrei V., Apr 7, 2016
  4. hiphopper Win User

    Is Custom Refresh option still gone in Windows 10?

    I would say the answer is no, since the recimg.exe app is not on Windows 10. I had to look Custom Refresh up as I hadn't heard of that before.
    hiphopper, Apr 7, 2016

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