windows_8_Back in the day… I used Ghost a lot for imaging workstations. One of the tools I have switched to, in recent years, for my imaging needs was imagex.exe. Imagex is included in the Windows Automated Installation Kit or WAIK for short. It has kinda been a pain to use because you needed to download the approximately 1 gigabyte WAIK and install it to get your 800k of imaging tools. (spoiler) Well no more!!!

I just learned that as of Windows 8’s release imagex has been deprecated. The imaging functionality has been added to the dism tool. DISM stands for “Deployment Image Servicing and Management”

The best part about this is that the DISM tool is not only available in the WAIK along with the legacy imagex tool but it is already installed in Windows 8! That is right – if you want to use dism.exe to image your Windows machines you can get the tool right from your Windows 8 boot USB stick or install disk. This makes is very convenient to image with DISM.

Here are the steps that I use:

  1. Boot off of a Windows 8 install USB stick (See my post on how to create a USB install stick)
  2. At the install Screen hit <shift> <F10> to start a CMD prompt window
  3. To Capture the C: Drive to an external USB drive
    1. Dism /Capture-Image /ImageFile:d:\my-image.wim /CaptureDir:c:\ /Name:”My Image”
  4. To Restore this Image from the external USB drive
    1. Dism /apply-image /imagefile:d:\my-image.wim /index:1 /ApplyDir:c:\

*Note: This tool is a file based imaging tool and not a sector based imaging tool. There are benefits in image size and restore speed because of this; however, this imaging does require you to manage the disk partition yourself before restoring an image. If you are just restoring over same drive the above works fine. If you are upgrading to a new hard drive then you need to also copy the system partition and create these two partitions on the new disk before restoring the image. Details can be found the in the “How to Apply Images by Using DISM” article below.

Let me know if you need help.


For more info on the new DISM check out these articles: