Capture Images of Hard Disk Partitions Using DISM
Applies To: Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2
You can use the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tool to capture an image of your hard disk for deployment and save it as a Windows® image (.wim) file. To see how this information applies to Windows, system, and recovery partitions, see Capture and Apply Windows, System, and Recovery Partitions.
Windows PE. See WinPE: Create USB Bootable drive.
A reference computer. You can create a reference computer by deploying Windows, and then removing the computer-specific information from the system. For more information, see Sysprep (Generalize) a Windows installation.
Step 1: Determining Which Partitions to Capture
This table shows the types of partitions that you must capture and those that are managed automatically.
|Partition type||Should you capture this partition?|
System partition (BIOS system partition or EFI System Partition)
If only a simple set of partition files is required, you don’t have to capture this partition.
Microsoft Reserved partition (MSR)
Primary partitions (Windows partitions, utility partitions)
Logical partitions (Windows partitions, utility partitions)
You can capture and apply images between partitions on BIOS-based and UEFI-based computers, because the Windows image isn’t affected by the firmware. For more information, see Capture and Apply Windows, System, and Recovery Partitions.
Step 2: Assign Drive Letters to Partitions
If any of the partitions you want to capture don’t already have a drive letter assigned, assign a letter using the DiskPart tool.
Start your reference computer by using Windows PE.
At the Windows PE command prompt, type
diskpartto open the DiskPart tool.
X:> diskpart DISKPART>
Select the hard disk with the
select diskcommand. For example,
DISKPART> select disk 0
View the partitions with the
list partitioncommand. For example,
DISKPART> list partition DISKPART> list partition Partition ### Type Size Offset ------------- ---------------- ------- ------- Partition 1 Primary 300 MB 1024 KB Partition 2 Primary 200 GB 301 MB
Select the partition with the
select partitioncommand. For example,
DISKPART> select partition=1
Assign a letter to the partition with the
assign lettercommand. For example,
DISKPART> assign letter=S
exitto return to the Windows PE command prompt.
DISKPART> exit X:\>
For more information, see the DiskPart Help from the command line, or Diskpart Command line syntax.
Step 3: Capture Partition Images using DISM
Capture images for each customized partition.
At the Windows PE command prompt, capture the images by using the DISM command together with the /captureImage option. For example,
Dism /Capture-Image /ImageFile:c:\my-windows-partition.wim /CaptureDir:C:\ /Name:"My Windows partition" Dism /Capture-Image /ImageFile:s:\my-system-partition.wim /CaptureDir:S:\ /Name:"My system partition"
For more information about using the DISM tool to capture an image, see DISM Image Management Command-Line Options.
Step 4: Save Images to the Network
Save your .wim files to your network or another safe location.
Connect to your distribution share by using the net use command. For example,
net use n: \\Server\Share
If prompted, provide your network credentials.
Copy the partitions to your network share. For example,
md N:\Images\ copy C:\my-windows-partition.wim N:\Images\ copy c:\my-system-partition.wim N:\Images\
After the image is captured and stored, you can:
Mount it to your reference computer for modification. For more information, see Mount and Modify an Image Using DISM.
Split the file into smaller files. For more information, see Split a Windows Image (.swm) File to Span Across Multiple DVDs.
Apply the images to a destination computer. For more information, see Apply Images Using DISM.
Service the image. For more information, see Service a Windows Image Using DISM.
Capture and Apply Windows, System, and Recovery Partitions
Boot to VHD (Native Boot): Add a Virtual Hard Disk to the Boot Menu
Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) Command-Line Options