How To Restore Windows 8.1 Backup Image

In one of our earlier posts, we talked about creating system backup image in Windows 8.1 using the Command Prompt. If you have previously created an backup image of your Windows 8.1 drive and would like to restore the image now, you can follow the given below instructions to successfully restore the backup image.

backup image

Things you will need:

# Windows 8.1 bootable DVD or USB

# Your external USB drive containing backup image

Warning: All existing data on the drives to be restored will be replaced with the data in your backup image. So we suggest you create a backup all data before beginning to restore a previously created backup image. Also note that if for some reason the backup image is corrupted or if the restore process fails, your PC might become unbootable. We recommend you have a backup of all data before proceeding further.

Step 1: Connect your Windows 8.1 bootable USB or insert Windows 8.1 bootable DVD, restart your PC, and make appropriate changes to the BIOS or UEFI to enable boot from USB or DVD.

Step 2: Boot using Windows 8.1 bootable USB or DVD. Once setup completes loading important files, you’ll see the following screen where you will need to select your language and keyboard type.

Step 3: Select the language to install, time and currency format, keyboard or input method, and then click on the Next button to proceed to the next step.

Restore Windows 8.1 Image

Step 4: On the Install screen, click on Repair My Computer option located on the lower-left of the screen to open the following screen:

Restore Windows 8.1 Image Step1

Click on Troubleshoot to see Refresh your PC, Reset your PC, and Advanced options.

Restore Windows 8.1 Image Step2

Step 5: Click Advanced options to see System Image Recovery option. Click on System Image Recovery option.

Restore Windows 8.1 Image Step21

Restore Windows 8.1 Image Step22

Step 6: Connect your external USB drive containing Windows 8.1 backup image file.

Step 7: In the following screen, you’ll see a list of Windows versions installed on your PC. If Windows 8.1 is the only Windows version on your PC, you’ll see Windows 8.1 entry only. Click on Windows 8.1 entry to start scanning your PC for image backup.

Restore Windows 8.1 Image Step23

Once the backup image is found, you can click on the Next button.

Restore Windows 8.1 Image Step3

If you’re getting “Windows cannot find a system image on this computer” error, simply click on the Cancel button to see an option to browse to the backup image file.

Restore Windows 8.1 Image Step24

Step 8: If Windows has found your system backup image you can skip to the next step. If for some reason Windows hasn’t detected backup image located on your PC or external drive, or if you have more than one backup images, check the option titled Select a system image, click Next button, and then select an backup image, and finally click Next button.

Restore Windows 8.1 Image Step4

Step 9: Here you will see options to Format and repartition disks. Since you already have a system partition on your PC, simply click on the Next button without checking Format and repartition disks option.

Restore Windows 8.1 Image Step5

Step 10: Finally, click on the Finish button to start restoring the image backup. Click Yes button when you see the confirmation prompt to continue the process. As we have mentioned earlier, all data on the drives to be restored will be replaced with the data in the system image.

Restore Windows 8.1 Image Step6

Restore Windows 8.1 Image Step7

Restore Windows 8.1 Image Step9

Restore Windows 8.1 Image Step11

Restore Windows 8.1 Image Step90

Depending on the size of the image and your system hardware, this process might take up to hours. So be patient. Once the backup image is restored, you’ll be asked to reboot your PC. Remove your Windows 8.1 bootable media and boot into Windows 8.1. Good luck!



  1. Andy says

    I get a message efi wrong format , will not work
    Cannot access efi in disk management to repair it

  2. tom says

    windows cannot restore a system image to a computer that has a different firmware. the system image was created using efi and this computer is using bios.

    please help

  3. Michael says

    I get as far as selecting the image to restore, then the recovery tool balks. It insists it cannot restore the image because it would need to reformat the drive it is currently running on. That drive is a 32 GB USB thumb drive. I don’t want to try restoring a 170 GB image to a 32 GB thumb drive. I want to restore the image to the SSD from which that image was originally taken. How do I do this?

  4. Lester Ingber says

    Using Powershell scripts, I create system images nightly of our Thinkpad Carbon X1 Touch SSD PCs running Win 8.1 Pro x64, to external passport drives. This works fine and I can mount the backups to restore a file or two, etc.

    Now, I have an extra SSD which I can mount as another external drive. I’d like to “restore” one of my nightly system images to create a new “computer” on this extra SSD — mostly just to practice in case one of our PCs is really hosed. How do I do this?



  5. Livia Melville says

    At last! I found this page on Windows 8.1 backup. I recently updated Win8.1 and I found it did muck up my File History backups. On Windows 8 it was previously Windows 7 File History. I use Google Chrome so I will be reading up on this page to see if I can get this going properly. I could not backup on my Verbatim external back up disc so I had to take the laptop to the retailer’s IT to fix it! While it’s backing up I can’t see the moving green bar and I don’t know whether it was successful or when it has stopped. Any suggestions?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *