I just went through this entire process, here's what I did: http://graphopho.be/?p=38 With my new Dell XPS1530, there came a recovery partition. This was fantastic, as on first boot Vista decided to blue screen. How thoroughly annoying, and did nothing to change my prior opinion of Vista. So after running the recovery deal, I was greeted with a factory fresh install and a completely working system, in about 20 minutes, vs the 2 hour install that Vista usually offers. After about a month and a half of using Vista, the majority of my past rant stands, but after overcoming many of the annoyances with run shortcuts (ncpa.cpl), and figuring out some of the other stupids about it, I’ve come to not despise the OS. With Cygwin and andLinux running on it, it runs essentially how I want it to. So good, working system, no odd crashes, no stupid anything going on, just a nice clean working system, with all kinds of nice things going on. So why would I need a basic factory install any more? Answer: I wouldn’t. So I want to update the restore partition to reflect the current system, with all the nice things that I have set up and blah blah blah. So should be a relatively simple process no? Well, turns out, no. The issues thus far: 1. The rescue partition is 10GB and at the beginning of the drive, and is too small to take a full image of my current system, which measures in at around 18GB with all programs, but all inconsequential data stripped. 2. Dell provides no way to replace the image, or create a second image 3. The Windows tools to do it are rather cumbersome and according to the few forum posts I’ve read, largely capable of f***ing up the whole rescue partition tool deal. 4. If I do manage to f*** up the disk, Dell provides no way to restore the rescue partition, so I’m stuck installing all over from scratch, not a big deal, but if I’m going to be there, I might as well leave the image as it is. 5. Vista’s install size increase exponentially with each pre-vista app you install. That is, there’s a huge whack of data that gets put in %windir%\winsxs for each program, something akin to a backup of every single system file for compatability, more info HERE and HERE, for me this directory is just under 8GB, 8,515,358,720 bytes to be exact, and makes up 2/3rds of my %windir%. This is common. This ensures that there’s no f***ing way I can create an image of my Windows install, let alone my whole C:\ drive with all programs. 6. There’s really no concrete How To, anywhere that I’ve found. So what I want to accomplish: 1. Create an image of my computer right now that I can restore to after I inevitably destroy my Windows install. 2. Keep the original image in case there’s some irrecoverable f***up that I haven’t come across in THIS install. 3. Keep all Dell restore tools up and running properly. Where I’m at so far: 1. Freed up 20GB of space, killed the Dell Media Direct partition, and chomped 20GB off of the end of my C: drive. 2. Ran Partition Manager to move the Windows dir up 20GB and reassign the free space to the rescue partition. This was stopped by an error in my directory tree which was supposed to be fixed by chkdsk. Booted up to run chkdsk, found out that I’d somehow fallen prey to the “chkdsk will not run on boot” errror in Vista. Thought I’d fixed that, and then came into a blue screen related to my video card. Looked that up, fixed that through system restore, and updated my nVidia drivers. 3. Reinstall Partition Manager, try again. 4. Same results 5. Give up on doing it that way, decide I’m being a bit too stuck on one way and read a lot about WAIK, and realise that what I need to do is all wrapped up in a bunch of advanced Microsoft hooey. Download and install that, then follow THIS article and create a bootable Windows Pre-install Edition CD. Then follow THIS article to image my system, and save that to the partition space I’ve previously allotted.Which it turns out is overkill. My 18.6GB Windows install, with all programs and most stuff already logged in, saved, bookmarked, and relatively complete aside from a few minor missing programs and log ins, created only a 5.6GB image while using /compress fast while creating the image.The entire imaging process took about an hour on a Intel CoreDuo 1.8 with 3GB of RAM, and the 160GB 5400 hdd. After completing this process on my real computer (once I get my hdd replaced) I’ll be writing an entirely new article following this same process but without the initial recovery partition, which you’ll soon see is a different beast. 6. I then read a bunch of other articles that didn’t really tell me much, and I think just made me think that this was all going to be a whole lot more confusing than it should be, or than it actually was. What I ended up doing after creating the image was, to make a long story short, Keep It Simple Stupid. I just moved the new image to my original partition, moved the real Factory.wim (the Dell factory image) to the root of the partition and then move my image to [recovery drive (for me D)]:\Dell\Image\ and rename it Factory.wim. The moment of truth came, and I restored that image, and was pleasantly surprised that there wer no weird f***ups, like hashes failing or “mismatched image file” or some such. It just took my new image, applied it, and done. Now, that’s easy, however I’ve got no idea how to create a WinRE from scratch that will actually work like I want it to, but I figure that with all those articles I’ve read I should be able to cobble one together. As it stands, my D:\ drive has the factory image in its root, and my recovery image in the re-imaging folder. Should I find that my install is somehow hopelessly broken, I’ll log into the WinRE and open a cmd window and move the original image to the image directory and start from scratch. So no harm, no foul.