images and partition on Windows 8.1

Before UEFI, I was quite comfortable with creating new partition(s) (up to 4) on Windows systems.    Now with UEFI, I'm uncertain about what I can or should not do regarding partitions.  I've done some research on this but it is unclear to me.   I have a new Lenovo that already has 5 partitions on the HDD created by the manufacturer.  It is 1 TB drive and I would like to reduce the primary partition to approx. 800 GB and add a new partition of around 100 GB to store a system image.  Here are my specific questions:
1.  Should I use the partition manager within W 8.1 to reduce the size of a partition and add a new one?
2.  Will I be able to access the image partition should the primary partition become corrupted (meaning unbootable) with some sort of app on a flash drive or CD?  If so, what would I use?  Can I use the System Restore Disk CD to do this?
3. Is there a free imaging program that the "experts" use?  If so, what is it?  

Thanks for your help on this.
tonyadamRetiredAsked:
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Gary CaseConnect With a Mentor RetiredCommented:
Imaging can indeed be problematic on UEFI systems ... but I believe Lenovo's "Rescue" software makes this pretty simple.

I don't have a Lenovo here to look at, but I've set a few up, and if I recall correctly, you can easily image the current OS partition to a partition of your choice (or an external drive) ... and.    So, in your specific case, all you'd need to do is shrink the OS partition;  create another one after it (to hold the image);  and then use the Lenovo Rescue utility to image the OS to that partition.

Keeping an image on a different partition on the same drive clearly provides protection against OS corruption -- which is the most likely reason you'd need to restore it, and it's VERY convenient to have it so readily available -- but I agree you should also do periodic images to an external device (or the cloud).    As long as you're doing regular backups of your data, the image of the OS partition doesn't need to be updated very frequently (basically a couple times a year is fine, unless you make a lot of changes to your configuration).
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Mitchell MilliganConnect With a Mentor Information Technology Network AdministratorCommented:
Imaging with Windows 8 can be tricky.  Most experts user the Windows Deployment Tools, and imagex or dism to deploy and capture images.  As far as the partitioning and other information, I have found this guide very useful: http://tomasdeceuninck.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/windows-create-and-apply-a-windows-8-1-deployment-image/
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Michael-BestCommented:
Do not store the image on the same physical disk as the OS – If the hard disk ever fails, you’ll lose both your OS and the backup.

System image is supported on internal\external disks, optical removable media, and network locations (Business edition or above).
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Another (and very different approach) is to have one partition (I do this) and (as per the above post) I use a 1Tb external USB hard drive to store images.

Then to the extent I need another machine (I have a half dozen or more here), I use VMware Workstation. That allows me to run systems simultaneously which I value.
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Mitchell MilliganInformation Technology Network AdministratorCommented:
Michael, regular backups should be taken regardless, and so if the image is stored on the same drive, there is no harm in that, as long as regular backups are taken.  And like John was saying, if you have access to a Windows 8 or 8.1 pc, you can run hyper-v which is the free Microsoft version of a hyper-visor that is directly competitive to VMware Workstation but free and can be enabled in any PC running Windows 8.
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tonyadamRetiredAuthor Commented:
I'm fully aware of the risks of a single HDD for the image and live data.  I usually use some cloud service for data backup so losing the HDD is not an issue.  What I've seen much more often than losing the HDD is that the OS gets corrupted....bad update, virus, user screw up etc. etc.  Worse case, if I were using a cloud backup, I could place the image into the cloud as well.  Yes, I do know that some services will not do this and that it chews up a lot of storage.  OK...having said all of this, I'm not sure my questions have been answered.  If I were to resize the primary partition and create a new one under UEFI, what do I use to create the image?  Once it is created, how would I get access to it?  It is hard enough to find the W8.1 image program but will it create the image on the same HDD?  If not, then is there a free W8.1 app that will do this?  Should I just invest in a 32GB flash drive and use it?  Unfortunately, it might be large enough for a W8.1 system using the integrated program with W8.1.
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I got a set of Recovery DVD's for my Windows 8.1 system with UEFI bios replacement and they do work.  

If you want the SSD main drive for your purposes, get a 100Gb drive. My Vista, and Seven machines are about 50Gb each.

You can have a regular hard drive for additional use and partition it as you wish.
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Mitchell MilliganInformation Technology Network AdministratorCommented:
Did you read through the link I posted?  That literally gives you the scripts for formatting the partitions, and the tools to install the image.  I recommend taking a second look at that, there is some great stuff in there.
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
My suggestion if you wish to partition the main drive would be to partition first and install the operating system second.

I believe the SSD main and Hard large secondary drive to be your best option.
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tonyadamRetiredAuthor Commented:
Mitchell, I agree with the link you posted and your comments.  However, it is much too complex for me.  However, I might give it whirl sometime. I know MS is trying to make W8.1 much more difficult for the bad guys to mess it up but it has also made it much more difficult for some of us just trying to help out the "mom and pops" who want a system that can be easily recovered.  Thanks for the posting.
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tonyadamRetiredAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your comment John but retail desktop systems and most laptops do not come with SSDs.  When I build my own desktops, I do use an SSD as the main.  Therefore, your comment about partitioning and then installing the OS just doesn't work on a retail system....or at least that is the way I see it.
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nobusConnect With a Mentor Commented:
i use the free Paragon B&R for imaging tasks  : http://www.paragon-software.com/home/br-free/download.html
for normal backups Syncback :  http://www.2brightsparks.com/syncback/syncback-hub.html
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Thanks for your comment John but retail desktop systems and most laptops do not come with SSDs.  <--- True, some do not, but some do and you had raised the point, so I thought I would expand.
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Michael-BestCommented:
"the OS gets corrupted....bad update, virus, user screw up etc. etc. "

"just trying to help out the "mom and pops" who want a system that can be easily recovered"

The easy way would be to use recovery discs.
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
"... The easy way would be to use recovery discs. " ==>  I don't agree.   The problem with recovery disks is you're restoring the system to it's new, from-the-factory condition.

... won't have any updates; won't have the programs the user has installed;  won't have the user's data;  won't be configured the way the user likes (desktop "tweaks", shortcuts, etc.)

Whereas an Image will restore it to the exact state it was in when the image was made.
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tonyadamRetiredAuthor Commented:
Thanks to all that responded.  I did not realize that Lenovo has an option to create an image and plan to go that route for both an internal and external image.  I'll use a cloud service for data backup.  However, for the future, I will again look at the information posted in Michael Mitchell's post and thank nobus for her reference for a free imaging tool.
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nobusCommented:
"make that "his" reference plse!
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tonyadamRetiredAuthor Commented:
Oops!  My apologies.  I thank nobus for his reference to a free imaging tool.
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nobusCommented:
great - i feel "me "again !
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