This article describes the reasons why you cannot use the ImageX.exe tool as a backup tool for a Windows computer. The ImageX.exe tool ships as part of the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK).
You can use the ImageX.exe tool to capture an operating system installation image on which you have run Sysprep (Sysprep.exe) from the Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE). You can then deploy the operating system installation image on another computer.
Although the ImageX.exe tool may appear to be a mechanism to create an image of a computer for backup, there are some issues that prevent using the ImageX.exe tool as a supported backup mechanism.
The following are the issues when you use imagex.exe as a backup mechanism
Extended attributes are lost
Sparse files on the system are captured and applied. However, the sparse files are no long sparse after they have been applied
Symbolic links and junctions are automatically updated which in some scenarios such as Single Instance Storage(SIS) could lead to reparse points that contain NTFS file id's could be pointing to incorrect locations
Microsoft recomends you use Windows backup, Windows Server backup, or other tool designed specifically for backup to make a full system image backup.
Windows Vista Ultimate, Windows Vista Enterprise, Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Home Premium, Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Starter, Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Starter, Windows Server 2008 Datacenter, Windows Server 2008 Enterprise, Windows Server 2008 Standard, Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter, Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise, Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard