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windows 7 recovery image


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Hi All,

I am creating a recovery image install.wim from a custom installation of windows7, to recover my system in case of failure and I want to deploy this image in a recovery partition at the beginning of the disk

I followed the steps in the guide for deployment tool and in partitucular:

1) prepared the hd with the following script

select disk 0


create partition primary size=10000 id=27

format quick fs=ntfs label="Recovery"

assign letter="R"

create partition primary size=300

format quick fs=ntfs label="System"

assign letter="S"


create partition primary

format quick fs=ntfs label="Windows"

assign letter="W"

2) I installed w7 with dvd and it used the two partitions System and Windows above

note that after the installation, my drive letter when I start the system with winPE are the following:

d -> recovery

c -> system

e -> windows

3) after customized the system, I captured the windows partition with the following comand

imagex /capture e:\ e:\my-windows-partition.wim "My Windows partition"

and copied the above wim image in a share location which for simplicity I will call \\myshare (can be a usb mass storage...)

3) now my goal is to move the windows image in the recovery partition and have the possibility to restore the system in a factory state with winRE, according with what expressed in


'setup-based recovery solution' or possibly whit 'custom recovery solution'. starting with the same procedure there are some problems in using reagentc.exe

In particular, during the installation w7 creates a winre.wim file located in e:\Recovery\<guid>\winre.wim, but when I try to move this file into the system partition as described in the procedure, I get an error saying that this file doesn't exist, while I can see it with dir command.

So I created my own winre.wim file using the procedure described here


and used this version sas winre.wim file. I moved this file to the system partition with the following

mkdir C:\Recovery\WindowsRE

move \\myshare\winre.wim C:\Recovery\WindowsRE

remember that for me C is the 'system' partition and not the 'windows' partition, when I boot my system with winPE.

now in order to instruct the system to use this winre.wim image i issued the command

E:\Windows\System32\Reagentc.exe /setreimage /path C:\Recovery\WindowsRE /target E:\Windows

but I received and error saying that I cannot use Reagentc because of x86 x64 compatibility issues. thus I worked around this using the version under SysWOW64, which takes care of those issues, but the error was 'cannot create an existing file'. Basically the system has already his own winre.wim file and it doesn't allow to move it on my 'system' directory (error before) not even instruct windows to use another one...

At this point I completed the procedure using my windows installation image and moving it in the recovery partition

copy \\myshare\images\my-windows-partition.wim d:\

rename d:\my-windows-partition.wim d:\install.wim

e:\Windows\SysWOW64\Reagentc.exe /setosimage /path d:\ /target e:\Windows

which was accepted... the system now is using this recovery image in case we follow the procedure described below:

Step 2: Test your recovery solution

In this step, you start the destination computer to verify that the recovery tool can be started.

1. Remove the CD-ROM and any USB drives.

2. Start the destination computer and complete Windows Welcome.

3. Click Start , click Control Panel , click System and Security , click Backup and Restore , and then click Recover system settings or your computer .

4. Click Advanced recovery methods and then click Reinstall Windows

5. Follow the on-screen instructions. The computer restarts.

6. Verify that the computer starts in Windows RE. The system reinstalls Windows by using the image that you placed in the recovery partition. When the installation is complete, you have the option to restore other files you have backed up.

but the problem is that in case of a failure of the whole system, when I cannot even boot in windows, the only way I know to recover my system is to boot the pc with WinPE, format 'windows' partition and apply the image with imagex. For example in the above configuration I would say:

imagex /apply d:\install.wim 1 e:\

Do anyone know how to work around this and any suggestion? especially why cannot I move the winre.wim image that w7 creates during the installation process from 'windows' to 'system' partition and instruct the system to use it? In practical worlds, why Reagentc fails when I am trying to redirect it to 'system' partition?

What I would like to perform is a similar task to F8 repair your computer option we had in vista... It should be possible I guess.

Any help or suggestion is strongly appreciated.


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that should help you mate... let me know how it goes.. I think you might be messing up the partition letters though.



if you read carefully my post, that link is exactly what I followed and the problem is that if you try to use reagentc you will get the error I got. If you have time please go through carefully my post, I described very well all the command issued (of course I use the link you gave me but personalizing my installation with my partition. Remember I have the following structure in winPE

d -> recovery (at the beginning of the disk, 10Gb)

c -> system (second partition, 300Mb)

e -> windows (final partition and all remaining disk space)

in the beginning I had the letter R, S, W as advised by technet, but then after the installation the system operator move them in the following order D, C, E. so now my windows is E, recovery is D and system is C. but the main problem is that if you issued the command

E:\Windows\System32\Reagentc.exe /setreimage /path C:\Recovery\WindowsRE /target E:\Windows

which would instruct windows (which for me is E when I boot with winPE) to use the winRE image moved in the system partition (which for me is C), the error is 'the system cannot use the already existing file', meaning that windows has its own winre into E and doesn't want to go and use the one I placed in C

btw this letter distribution last only when I boot in winPE, when I start windows instead the system partition is hided, windows partition comes back to C and recovery becomes D, as supposed to be.

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  • 11 months later...

The drive that Windows is installed on needs to be C. And change the reagentc command to point to the correct drive letter where Windows is.

Unfortunately for the masses, the technet info is amazingly vague/complicated and missing some important steps. I wonder why MS even bothers putting it online like that. :rolleyes:

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