Sheduling a Windows 8.1 System Image Backup
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How to schedule a Windows 8.1 System Image backup (step-by-step)

Although, Microsoft brought back the System Image Backup tool in Windows 8.1, many users are finding out that a critical option has been removed, that is the ability schedule daily, weekly, or any other specific time to run an automated full backup of Windows 8.1.

What now? Well you shouldn’t worry, it’s still possible to run the System Image Backup tool in Windows 8.1 automatically, but it involves using Windows PowerShell to create a task in the Task Scheduler which will run at a time you specify. Follow the instructions below to learn more:

Instructions

1 Decide whether you want to run a daily or weekly backup of Windows 8.1. Also make sure you understand that every new backup will overwrite the previous one. So, if the backup fails, you won’t have a recovery copy to fall back to.

2 Connect an external drive with enough free space. This will depend on how much data you have in your hard drive(s).

3 Launch PowerShell as administrator (this is really important because this operation needs the highest administrative privilege as possible).

Quick Tip: Go to the Start screen do a search for PowerShell, from the result right-click Windows PowerShell, and select Run as administrator.

4 Type the following command to create a daily full Windows 8.1 backup and press Enter:

Syntax:

SCHTASKS /Create /SC DAILY /TN <TaskName> /RL HIGHEST /ST <Time24HrsFormat> /TR “wbAdmin Start Backup -backupTarget:<TargetDrive>: -include:<WindowsDrive>: -allCritical -quiet”

Example:

SCHTASKS /Create /SC DAILY /TN DailyFullBackup /RL HIGHEST /ST 14:06 /TR “wbAdmin Start Backup -backupTarget:F: -include:C: -allCritical -quiet”

Or type the following command to create a full backup of Windows 8.1 weekly and press Enter:

Syntax:

SCHTASKS /Create /SC WEEKLY /D <DayOfWeek> /TN <TaskName> /RL HIGHEST /ST <Time24HrsFormat> /TR “wbAdmin Start Backup -backupTarget:<TargetDrive>: -include:<WindowsDrive>: -allCritical -quiet”

Example:

SCHTASKS /Create /SC WEEKLY /D MON /TN WeeklyFullBackup /RL HIGHEST /ST 13:00 /TR “wbAdmin Start Backup -backupTarget:F: -include:C: -allCritical -quiet”

Finally, if you want to double-check whether or not the task has been fully created. Go to the Start screen, do a search for Task Scheduler, expand the Task Scheduler Library, and on the list from the right, you should be able to see the task. This is also a good place to visit and troubleshoot the task if it isn’t running correctly.

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  • Simon Tony Haslwanter

    Really good instructions, as always on your site, thanks :)! Can you add or tell me the command for a monthly BackUp :)!?

    • http://pureinfotech.com/ Mauro

      Simon, thank you so much for the comment. I’ll create another post with more variables, but here is how to create a monthly backup on Mondays:

      SCHTASKS /Create /SC WEEKLY /MO 4 /D MON /TN MonthlyFullBackup /RL HIGHEST /ST 05:00 /TR “WBADMIN START BACKUP -backupTarget:F: -allCritical -quiet”

      The only thing that changes is “/MO 4″, basically this is the numbers of weeks. So the schedule is setup to run every 4 weeks (monthly). You can change that number to any other number.

      Thanks,
      I hope that helps,
      Mauro

      • Simon Tony Haslwanter

        Okay thanks :) I’ll try this :)!

  • Maurice Gonlag

    Hello, are the no options to store multiple backups of different days?

    Thx

    • http://pureinfotech.com/ Mauro

      Hello Maurice,

      The best way I can think of doing this is to create multiple tasks to different target drives or folders.
      For example, create a task that runs every Monday on drive D: and then create another schedule task to run the Windows 8.1 backup on Fridays on drive E:.
      If you don’t have another external drive (which I don’t recommend because it adds another point of failure as if the drive fails or gets corrupted you’ll lose both backups) create two separate folders and share them, then in “-backupTarget:” use a different folder path for each backup. Here is an example:

      SCHTASKS /Create /SC WEEKLY /D MON /TN WeeklyFullBackup /RL HIGHEST /ST 13:00 /TR “wbAdmin Start Backup -backupTarget:\sharedFolderfolderName -user:username -password:userPassword -include:C: -allCritical -quiet”

      I hope this helps,
      Thanks,

      • Maurice Gonlag

        I want a daily backup using wbadmin on 1 hard-drive (like server-editions). There is no option for this?
        Thx

        • http://pureinfotech.com/ Mauro

          Yes, check item #4 in this guide.
          Thanks,

          • Maurice Gonlag

            Yes. but this will delete the other backups so there will only be 1 backup-image availalble.

          • http://pureinfotech.com/ Mauro

            Well, then you can create different weekly tasks, for example, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and target one specific drive. Then create a weekly task for Tuesday and another one for Thursday targeting a secondary drive.

            I hope this helps,
            Thanks,
            Mauro

    • Jani Jaala

      You can make a daily routine to back up your data. Then you just make another daily routine of a batch file that will change the name of the backup folder. In window’s eyes you have no previous back up’s. You can read about the concept in my school related article: http://jani.datanomi.net/shadow_copy_win8_1-part1/ If you really want to geek it up, you can create the batch file in a way that it will also delete old backup’s after 2 weeks or whatever.

  • Bill Reynolds

    Thanks, works great!

    • http://pureinfotech.com/ Mauro

      Glad it did, thank you for sharing your experience.

  • Carl

    I just tried this but I don’t find my successfully created tasks in the “Task Scheduler” :(
    I tested by running the following:

    PS C:WINDOWSsystem32> SCHTASKS /ShowSid /TN “WeeklyFullSystemBackup”
    SUCCESS: The SID “S-1-5-87-[long number here]” for the user name “WeeklyFullSystemBackup” has been computed successfully.

    • http://pureinfotech.com/ Mauro

      Hello Carl,
      I know it works, you may be typing something wrong, copy and paste the commands on a text file, modify it to your needs, and then paste it in PowerShell.

      Thanks,

  • John

    Hi, Great info, thanks.
    Also, is it possible to use a network shared drive as the target?
    Need to image two win8.1 machines to a USB HDD attached to a win7 machine.
    Thanks

    • http://pureinfotech.com/ Mauro

      Hello John,
      Yes it is possible simple change the -backupTarget path with the network path: e.g., -backupTarget \serversharedFoder Also make sure you have the rights to write in that folder or use the user credentials for this task e.g., -backupTarget:\serverSharedFolder -user:Admin -password:123abc

      Thanks,

      • John

        Excellent, Thank you!

  • disqus_RPxlJjwyjz

    Hi
    I just followed your advice to schedule a weekly backup. Task was created successfully, I can see it.
    Task started as scheduled, but finished 2 seconds later .
    No errors. Next schedule is shown a week from now.
    Obviously NOTHING was backed up.
    Can you please help?

    • http://pureinfotech.com/ Mauro

      It’s likely you typed the backup source wrong or the device source isn’t present. Make sure the external or internal drive is connect and you don’t have rights preventing to write to the source drive.

      Thanks,
      Mauro

      • disqus_RPxlJjwyjz

        Hi
        I just checked, as you suggest.
        Everything is correct, backup destination drive is correctly typed.
        Drive is the second internal hard-drive, always on obviously.
        Task starts, and one second later is finished, with any errors, and with nothing backed up.
        Any more suggestions?
        Thanks

        • http://pureinfotech.com/ Mauro

          Are you running the task with administrative rights?

          Thanks,

  • RysXr200

    Anyone know how I can include more than one drive? I want to make an image of both my boot drive and my storage drive.

  • Eric

    Hi- What’s the process for restoring, since the Backup and Restore GUI appears to be gone from 8.1?…Boot from Windows DVD or USB Flash drive? Thanks!

  • Eric

    RysXr200: I think this should work to include multiple drive letters- ex: “-include:C:,D:” – without quotes obviously…

  • RysXr200

    Eric thanks a million I believe it worked like a charm. I’m not a Command Prompt guru so I didnt know the syntax and didnt place a “,” between my drive letters.

  • Brian Simiyu

    Hi Mauro
    Thanks for the illuminating steps.I would like to perform the below backup,does these steps serve it sufficiently:

    1. Afull backup of both servers once a month

    2. Incremental backups for email data on the FreeBSD and Windows 2008 servers daily

    3. Automatic backups of laptop data to the network folders on the Windows 2008 server hourly
    when connected to LAN

    4. A full image of each Laptop backed up every three months