If you read my article Step-by-step:
Update to Windows 8.1 through the Windows Store
, then you know that I began
that article by telling you to first create a System Image using the Windows 7
File Recovery tool, so that if anything went wrong as you performed the
upgrade, you would be able to return to your current configuration using the
System Image Recovery procedure. To launch the Windows 7 File Recovery tool in
Windows 8, use the [Windows] + W keystroke to access the Search Settings pane.
Then, you type Windows 7 File in the text box and click Windows 7 File
Recovery in the results panel.

Soon after I upgraded to Windows 8.1, I thought that I would
create a new system image of my new Windows 8.1 configuration and went the
launch the Windows 7 File Recovery tool as I described above. To my surprise,
the new results panel was blank, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

Attempting to access the Windows 7 File Recovery tool displays a blank
search results page.

I then dug around a little bit and discovered that Microsoft
had removed Windows 7 File Recovery tool from Windows 8.1. A little more
digging and I discovered that you can still create a System Image in Windows
8.1; however, you now launch the tool from File History.

In this article, I’ll briefly discuss the Windows 7 File
Recovery tool. Then I’ll show you where to find and launch the Create a System
Image tool in Windows 8.1.


Windows
7 tip: Use Windows 7 System Image Recovery to restore a hard disk


Windows 7 File Recovery

As you may know, Windows 7 File Recovery used to be called
Backup and Restore in Windows 7. Why they didn’t leave the name the same in
Windows 8 is beyond me. After all they only left the old Backup and Restore
capability in Windows 8 so that upgraders could access the files contained in
backups previously made in Windows 7.

In any case, in addition to allowing you to create and
restore old fashioned backups, just like in Backup and Restore, Windows 8’s Windows
7 File Recovery tool provided you with a way to create a System Image of your
entire hard disk. Selecting the Create a System Image command from the left
panel, immediately launched the Create a System Image tool.

Windows 8.1 File History

When putting together Windows 8.1, Microsoft decided to do
away with compatibility for backups created in Windows 7’s Backup and Restore
tool and completely removed the Windows 7 File Recovery tool from the newest
version of Windows. In reality, the File History tool is a fine way to make
sure that you have backup copies of all your important data files and the other
tools, Refresh your PC, Reset your PC, and System Restore, allow you to easily
revive your operating system files. So I can see how removing Windows 7 File
Recovery, would make sense. However, why did they make it so hard to find and
access the Create a System Image tool?

Going back to what I was describing in the introduction,
after I realized that Microsoft had removed Windows 7 File Recovery tool from
Windows 8.1, I immediately used [Windows] + W keystroke to access the Search
Settings pane and began a search for the Create a System Image tool. However,
after typing Create a, I realized that I wasn’t going to find the tool
using Search, as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

Attempting to search for the Create a System Image tool is a fruitless
effort.

Then when I finally did go to File History, I almost missed
it. Not only is the system image tool on the bottom of the left panel instead
of on the top, where it used to be on Windows 7 File Recovery screen, the
command is now called System Image Backup instead of Create a System Image, as
shown in Figure C.

Figure C

To create a system image, select the System Image Backup command in File
History.

Once you launch the tool, you’ll see that it is still called
Create a System Image as shown in Figure D.

Figure D

Even though the command to launch the tool has changed, the tool is still
called Create a System Image.

What’s your take?

Have you looked for Windows 7 File Recovery tool in Windows
8.1 and discovered that it was missing? As always, if you have comments or
information to share about this topic, please take a moment to drop by the
TechRepublic Community Forums and let us hear from you.

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