How to schedule a Windows 8.1 System Image backup

Here are the instructions to have Windows 8.1 automatically backup your system daily, weekly, or at any time you specify.

Sheduling a Windows 8.1 System Image Backup

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:

How to schedule an image backup on Windows 8.1

  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:


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


    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:


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


    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.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].