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More on Windows 8.1 Backup (or Lack Thereof)

My last blog post was entitled “Windows 7 File Recovery Absent from Windows 8.1,” and disclosed my discovery that image backup facilities are no longer built into the upcoming Windows 8.1 release (based on analysis of and interaction with Build 9431). Since that post appeared, I’ve found an interesting InfoWorld article from Windows guru (and a personal hero of mine) Woody Leonhard entitled “‘Almost finished’ build of Windows 8.1 still a mess.” The link goes  to page 2 of that article, because I will reproduce two very interesting paragraphs from that page verbatim (please note that he’s working from a pirated 8.1 build that is newer than the one that MS released for the Windows 8.1 Pro Preview):

Finally, I note with some consternation that all of the Windows 7 backup and restore programs are gone in Build 9471. They’re in Windows 8, but not in Windows 8.1. We’ve known for quite some time that the “ghost” system image backup (the one that makes a full copy of any hard drive/volume) was going to disappear in Win 8.1. What took me by surprise is that all of the other Windows 7-era backup tools, which were in full force — if a bit hard to find — in Windows 8, are gone, completely, in Windows 8.1: No Windows Backup; no Backup and Restore Center.

Even System Restore Points, the old system rejuvenation fallback of an entire generation, get turned off by default in Build 9471. You won’t get any Restore Points unless you turn the feature on, manually.

I did figure out a couple of methods to access the virtual hard disk files (both older .vhd and newer .vhdx formats) that those now-missing backup tools create in Windows 8.1, so that older images may be mounted and accessed therein, and documented them in my previous blog. But it looks like the new built-in, go-to tool for Windows 8 backup purposes will become the “record image” tool of choice for Microsoft’s latest desktop environment (recimg.exe, which drives the creation of a custom “refresh image” for the “Refresh your PC” facility in Windows 8 and 8.1). That also makes the free Slimware utility known as RecImg Manager even more popular and valuable for Windows 8.1 than it already was for Windows 8.0. That program includes automatic scheduling of regular backups using this facility, so it really does become a true image backup tool that can succeed the now-absent “Windows 7 File Recovery” backup and restore toolset included in the Control Panel in Windows 8.0.

The scheduling pane from RecImg Manager helps show why it makes a valuable addition to any Windows 8(.1) desktop.

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