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How to Back-up in Windows 8.1

By Joseph Yedid

Recently I was asked to back-up a laptop in order for the data to be retained and the system to be repurposed. As it was a Windows 8.1 system, Microsoft had removed the Windows Back-up GUI, but fortunately the command line was retained.

The command line version has all the same functions that the GUI had. The best part? It creates VHDX files of the hard drive image.

To start the back-up in Windows 8.1, first open an elevated command prompt.

In my case I was backing-up the entire C: drive to an external drive.

I used the following command:

WBADMIN START BACKUP –backupTarget:f: –include:C: -allCritical –quiet

How to Back-up in Windows 8_1-Command Prompt

While I was running the command line for the first time, (What? I’m a GUI person, what can I say?), I kept encountering the same error over and over again. All the messages seemed to suggest that the errors were syntax-related. However, it turns out that there were no syntax errors after all! The error was that WBADMIN START BACKUP had to be capitalized. Who knew it was case sensitive?

After straightening out the error, the command executed properly and completed.

How to Back-up in Windows 8_1-Completed Successfully

While the command line for Windows Back-up was available, it would have been nice to have kept the GUI in Windows 8.1. Thankfully, the GUI returned in Windows 10.