Windows 8 : Diagnosis and Recovery - Refresh and Reset

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Consumers have gotten used to the idea that when their phone or tablet misbehaves, all they have to do is unfold a paper clip, stick it in a tiny hole, and wait four seconds, and their device will reset to a factory state. Microsoft decided it was time to reimagine for software the concept of the hardware reset button—to emulate the return to a factory state and provide an easier way to roll back or revert to past “known good” configurations. Windows has had the “last known good configuration” feature for a while—if you had an installation DVD handy, you could restore a Windows sytem without losing your data by replacing key system files. Windows 8 makes this process easier.

With Windows 8, you can do the following:

Reset your PC. When you reset your device, Windows deletes your data, apps, and settings and gives you a clean install. You reset your computer when you want to nuke it before you give it to someone else.

Refresh your PC. When you refresh your device, Windows keeps all your data, tile-based apps, and settings and reinstalls Windows. You refresh your system when your system is misbehaving or crashing because you installed an evil device driver on it.

Refresh preserves your wireless connections and broadband settings, Bitlocker settings, drive letters, and personalization settings. Refresh alters file type associations, display settings, and Windows firewall settings. You may need to manually restore these altered settings (and some Desktop applications) when the refresh is complete.

To reset or refresh your system

1. To view the Charms bar, swipe from the right edge, move your cursor to the upper-right corner of your display, or press Image+C. Tap or click the Settings charm.

2. Tap or click the Change PC Settings link at the bottom of the Settings bar.

3. Tap or click the General link .


 The General section of the PC Settings screen contains the Reset, Refresh, and Advanced Startup options.

4. To completely replace your Windows installation, skip to step 6.

To refresh your system when it is not performing correctly, tap or click the Get Started button in the Refresh Your PC Without Affecting Your Files section.

Windows posts an alert box  explaining that Refresh will repair your system.


 Use the Refresh Your PC repair operation when your system is experiencing problems.

5. Click Next, and you will be asked to supply the Windows installation media (DVD).

Your system restarts, and Windows replaces system files and rolls your system back to the last known good configuration. When you log in to your system, you may find that a recent application or device installation has been reversed, but all of your data and system settings will be intact. Skip the rest of these steps.

6. To completely replace your Windows installation, tap or click the Get Started button in the Remove Everything And Reinstall Windows section.

Windows posts an alert box that describes the action.


 WARNING: This option removes all settings and applications, creating a fresh installation of Windows. Use this when you give away or sell your PC.

7. Tap or click Next. You are prompted to supply the installation media (DVD) before proceeding.

Windows overwrites your data and files, reinstalling a fresh copy of Windows.

8. In the How Do You Want To Remove Your Personal Files dialog box, there are two options: tap or click the Thoroughly button to reformat your disk; tap or click the Quickly button to simply remove and replace the files and file system but leave your old data on the disk.

Refresh and Reset are great options when you can boot your computer. But if you can’t boot into Windows, the system will post the Troubleshoot dialog box . This is your entry back into the Refresh and Reset options. The third option, Advanced Options, is described in the next section.


 Troubleshoot appears when your system can’t boot. From here, you can refresh or reset your system.


Windows 8 has new option that allows you to create a bootable USB flash drive. If your system can’t boot, you can use this flash drive installation to fix or repair a problem. Some manufacturers supply a recovery partition, which is yet another way to get back up and running.

  •  Windows 8 : Diagnosis and Recovery - The Startup, Users, Details, and Services Tabs
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