If you are in this situation:

Your Windows 7 or Windows 8 system is corrupted, and you want to reinstall it from Factory Default. You have a recovery partition on the PC. But the recovery options do not give you the choice to restore from your recovery partition. So you can follow these steps:

The goal is to use the system image (*.wim file ex: install.wim)  based in the recovery partition. There is a quick and simple way to install directly from the install.wim with imagex.

Imagex.exe can be found in the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK), the Windows Embedded Standard 7 Image Builder Wizard.

Of course there are torrents, Rapidshare and Megaupload sources out there for imagex.exe too.

Wim, iso, msi, msu, cab, vhd and other compressed executables can be explored and extracted and copied from with 7-Zip file manager, without explicitly mounting the images, even if nested deep within the archive or image.


If you have an install.wim file in a folder c:wim (it could be on a USB drive, or anywhere, just change the path in the commands as necessary)

and imagex.exe copied in your c:windowssystem32 folder for easy access,

and an available formatted partition (does not need to be primary, can be logical if there is already a primary system drive to boot from on the machine) with the drive letter x:

here’s the (elevated as administrator) command line:

Imagex /apply c:wiminstall.wim 1 x:

1 refers to the number of the image you wish to install – you can check the wim out with the following:

Imagex /info c:wiminstall.wim

Applying the image takes a few minutes, typically 10-15 on my machine.

If on a partition, and you want to make it bootable from the current boot menu (or create a new dual-boot menu), run BCDBOOT to transfer system files as follows:

bcdboot x:windows /s c:

I suppose you could do the same with a mounted VHD for either native boot or use with VirtualPC, but I have not tried it – in a VM, the boot system would need to be on the same drive:

bcdboot x:windows /s x:

The system boots up into a first run, and sets up necessary devices, users and locale, just like an install from an iso or DVD.

Then you can playexperiment, modify, sysprep or do what you want.

After setting up the installation and modifying it, the entire drive can be captured back to a wim image with:

imagex /capture x: c:wiminstall1.wim "mod_win8" /verify

This can take 15-30 minutes in my experience.

There’s a lot more to imagex – see the technet technical reference for more details;


WAIK info and download links:


WES7 download links:




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