Why is my D drive included in System Image Backup

When you create a system image using the classic “Backup and Restore (Windows 7)” tool on a computer running Windows 7, 8, 10, or 11, your non-system drive may be incorrectly shown as “System.” Also, the non-system drive may be mandatorily included in the backup, along with the EFI/System Reserved Partition and the OS partition.

system image - secondary drive included in backup

This issue happens despite no OS or pagefile on the secondary drive.

Cause

This issue occurs if a service is running from your secondary drive; for instance, a service whose ImagePath registry value is pointing to an executable on your secondary drive. This causes the Windows Backup tool to incorrectly classify the secondary drive as a “System” drive.

Running the following command from a PowerShell admin window shows the list of services and the corresponding ImagePath values.

Get-WmiObject win32_service | FL -Property Name, DisplayName, PathName,State | clip

The PowerShell command’s output is copied to the clipboard. Open Notepad and paste the data from the clipboard. You may see something like this:

Name : TeamViewer
DisplayName : TeamViewer
PathName : "D:\Program Files\TeamViewer\TeamViewer_Service.exe"
State : Stopped

As you see, a service is configured to run from D:\ drive. In this example, it’s the TeamViewer service.

Alternatively, you can run the following WMIC command to get the list of services and the path names:

wmic.exe service get Name, Caption, PathName /format:list

Or to query only services whose ImagePath value points to a file on the D:\ drive, run this command:

wmic.exe service where "PathName like '%D:%'" get Name, Caption, PathName /format:list

Solution

To resolve the issue, you have two options. The first option is to temporarily change the ImagePath of the service to the system drive letter. The second option is to remove the service and reinstall/reconfigure the respective app in the system drive.

[A quick workaround for the issue is to remove the drive letter for your secondary drive via the Disk Management console (diskmgmt.msc), restarting the wbengine service and performing a system image backup. After the image backup completes, you can reassign the drive letter to your secondary drive. But, there are more elegant methods.]



(For illustration, let’s assume the offending service is TeamViewer.)

Method 1: Change the Service’s ImagePath value Temporarily

  1. Start the Registry Editor (regedit.exe)
  2. Go to the service registry key below:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\TeamViewer
  3. Double-click the “ImagePath” value and change the data from:
    "D:\Program Files\TeamViewer\TeamViewer_Service.exe"

    to

    "C:\Program Files\TeamViewer\TeamViewer_Service.exe"
  4. Launch the Services console by running services.msc
  5. Right-click “Block Level Backup Engine Service” (wbengine) and click Restart.

    system image - secondary drive included in backup

  6. Now, relaunch the “Create a system image” window. It should no longer show your secondary drive/partition/data drive as “(System)”.

    system image - secondary drive included in backup

  7. Complete the system image backup and revert the ImagePath registry value to the following:
    "D:\Program Files\TeamViewer\TeamViewer_Service.exe"
  8. Exit the Registry Editor and Services console.

Method 2: Remove the service

If you’re looking for a permanent fix, you need to uninstall the program/service, reinstall it on the system drive and reconfigure it.

For example, you can uninstall TeamViewer via Apps & Features or Programs and Features.

Optionally, you can run the following command from an Admin Command Prompt to delete the TeamViewer service.

sc.exe delete TeamViewer

If you need to use TeamViewer as a service (which is optional) instead of a standalone/portable app:

  1. Reinstall the program on the system drive.
  2. Launch the Services console by running services.msc
  3. Right-click “Block Level Backup Engine Service” (wbengine) and click Restart.
  4. Now, relaunch the “Create a system image” window.

I hope that helps. Let’s know.


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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded Winhelponline.com in 2005.

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