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This article describes how to create a custom system image that is used to refresh a Windows 8 PC.

"Refresh your PC" is a new feature in Windows 8. By default, desktop apps are removed when you refresh a Windows 8-based computer, unless you create a custom image. After you create a custom system image, the image is used as the refresh image. This means that any existing image or OEM restore image is not used when you refresh your computer. We recommend that only experienced Windows 8 users who understand the consequences of this behavior create a custom system image.

The space that is required to create a custom image depends on the number of apps that are installed on the computer and may exceed 5.0 GB. In addition, the custom image creation process may take a long time, during which you should not restart the computer. A percentage indicator lets you monitor the progress of the process.

More Information

To create a custom image, use the Recimg.exe command-line tool that is included in Windows 8. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Create a destination folder for the custom image. For example, create a folder named "Refreshimage" on drive C.

  2. Open an elevated command prompt. To do this, follow these steps:

    • On the Start page, type cmd, press and hold or right-click Command Prompt, and then tap or click Run as administrator.

  3. Type the following command, and then press Enter:

    recimg -CreateImage drive:\folderFor example, if you create "C:\Refreshimage" in step 1, run the following command:

    recimg -CreateImage C:\Refreshimage

Note The Recimg command registers the custom image that is used to refresh the Windows 8 PC.

Known issue


After you refresh a Windows 8-based computer by using a custom image, a printer might no longer function. When this issue occurs, the printer still appears in the Devices and Printer item in Control Panel. However, you experience one of the following symptoms:

  • You cannot use the printer.

  • When you try to set the printer as the default printer, an error occurs.

  • When you try to open the Printer Properties dialog box, an error occurs.


This issue occurs because some printer settings are out of sync.


To resolve this issue, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Devices and Printers item in Control Panel.

  2. Right-click the printer that has the issues, and then click Remove device.

  3. Click Add a printer to reinstall the printer.

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