Thanks. I am relatively experienced in partitioning. I have had DriveImage XML suggested to me before, but I thought I could create a system image just as well in newer versions of Windows (7 and 8). I prefer to use built-in utilities whenever possible. Will creating Windows 8 recovery media and a system image via the built-in utilities allow me to reinstall Windows 8 on a clean HDD? If so, can I use the recovery media to restore an image created via any of the 3 built-in methods (elevated command prompt, Windows Backup, and Windows 7 File Recovery), or would I need to use a specific one or ones?
If I get a totally new HDD (meaning Push Button Reset is initially unavailable and I don't have a recovery partition), how can I restore the PC to how it was when it left the factory (where it runs through the initial Windows 8 setup when it is first booted up, but with the drivers already installed, etc.)? Would the way to do this be to use one of the built-in features to create a system image, then after switching HDDs, boot with Windows 8 recovery media, restore that image, and run Push Button Reset to revert everything to the factory defaults?