This article describes the reasons why you cannot use the ImageX.exe tool as a backup tool on a Windows Vista-based computer. The ImageX.exe tool ships as part of the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK).

You can use the ImageX.exe tool to capture an operating system installation image on which you have run Sysprep (Sysprep.exe) from the Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE). You can then deploy the operating system installation image on another computer.
Although the ImageX.exe tool may appear to be a mechanism to create an image of a computer for backup, there are several issues that prevent using the ImageX.exe tool as a supported backup mechanism.
The following are the issues when you use the ImageX.exe tool as a backup mechanism:

  • Extended attributes are lost.
  • The ImageX.exe tool only applies reparse points that are symbolic links or junctions.
  • Sparse files on the system are captured and applied. However, the sparse files are no longer sparse after they have been applied.
  • Object IDs on files are lost in the capture process or in the apply process.

  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Windows Vista Home Basic
  • Windows Vista Starter