How To Refresh Or Reset Your Windows 8 PC [Complete Guide]

Last year, we wrote a detailed guide on how to reset Windows 7 back to original factory settings; which involved a long list of procedures to be followed in defined sequence, such as, uninstalling application from third party developers, removing application cache, MRU lists, invalid Windows registry entries, and deleting all user profiles and data. We also discussed that Windows 8 will include an one-click option to reset PC without having to follow long and tiring system cleaning steps. Apart with Windows Reset option, Windows 8 also includes Refresh your PC option for situations where your PC frequently becomes unstable and starts behaving in an erratic manner. In this post, we will shed some light on both Windows 8 system repair options; Refresh your PC and Reset your PC.


This guide is a part of our series on detailed coverage of Windows 8 New Features and Improvements.

  1. How To Install Windows 8 On VirtualBox
  2. What’s New In Windows 8 Desktop, Start Search, And Start Menu
  3. The Complete Guide To Windows 8 Explorer, New Ribbon Tools And Options
  4. The Complete Guide To Windows 8 Task Manager, New Features And Options
  5. Windows 8 PC Settings [Complete Guide]
  6. How To Refresh Or Reset Your Windows 8 PC [Complete Guide] (Currently Viewing)
  7. All About Windows 8 FileName Collisions And Copy/Move Dialog Box
  8. The Complete Guide To Windows 8 Startup Menu
  9. Sync Windows 8 User Settings Between PCs & Tablets via Windows Live ID
  10. Quick Overview Of Windows Lock Screen 
  11. The Complete Guide To Windows 8 File History Backup 

It is advised that Windows 8 Refresh your PC system repair utility should only be used when your system doesn’t respond properly and shows unexpected fatal exceptions. However, you can use Reset your PC option before selling your PC or when you want to start afresh by removing everything except core Windows 8 system files and utilities. The Reset utility attempts to reset all the changes which you have made to the system in order to bring the system back to original factory settings. The Refresh option gives a little boost to PC performance by restoring your PC system settings to default and removing all the applications installed from third-party resources.

The Refresh and Reset Utilities are accessible from General window in Windows 8 PC Settings. To quickly open PC Settings, bring up charms bar using Windows + C hotkey combination, click Settings.

Now, hit More PC Settings to open PC Settings.

Refresh your PC

The Refresh your PC option is present underneath Language control in General window.  The Refresh PC utility checks whether the system files, Windows registry, and other important system components are working fine or not; on finding issues with Windows files, it will attempt to repair your PC. The Refresh PC utility doesn’t remove any of your personnel files, including document, video, music and other types of files during the PC refresh process. However, it is recommended to create backup of applications which fetch data directly from Windows native utilities to restore them later.

When you click Get Started under Refresh your PC, it will show the changes which will be made during the process. Insert Windows 8 installation disk, and then click Next followed by Refresh to reboot the system.

First, it will start preparing your system for a complete Refresh.

When Windows 8 restarts, you will see boot screen with refresh process progress at the bottom.

After the refresh process ends, you will be taken back to Windows Start Screen, where you can find all default Windows 8 utilities and widgets. Now restore applications for which you created backup for, and then reboot the system. It must be noted that Refresh your PC feature doesn’t ask you to enter Windows activation key and configure Windows settings.


Reset your PC

The Reset your PC utility works just like Windows Restore Disk on previous versions of Windows, like Windows 7 and Windows Vista. However, the big difference is that Reset your PC provides an automated way to perform complete Windows Reset. Windows 8 Reset utility provides one-stop solution to those who are planning to sell their Windows 8 PC without leaving any chances of recovering personal information and other important data from the PC. The Windows 8 Reset utility ensures that all of your personal data along with user-installed applications will be removed. After removing all the user-data, it will attempt to reset your PC settings back to default. To begin, click Get Started under Reset your PC option.

For disk with multiple partitions, it asks you to choose entire hard disk to perform the cleanup operation or only the disk where Windows 8 is installed. Just select the required option to move to next step.

Now, specify the type of cleanup operation – Thoroughly or Quickly. The Thorough disk cleanup operation removes all the files from selected disk(s), deletes all the installed applications, and makes data irrecoverable, whereas the quick cleanup option simply deletes your files and installed applications.

Like Windows 8 Refresh utility, it will reboot your system and start resetting Windows to default settings, The time it takes depends upon the number of changes made to your system and total size of your data. Once system reboots, it starts preparing your system for complete PC reset. At the bottom, you will see Resetting your PC progress.

After the Resetting your PC process finishes, it will reboot your system to update Windows 8 registry settings, find attached devices, and then make identified devices ready for Windows 8.

Once the process is finished, you will be asked to enter the Product key. Enter the license key and click Next. If you want to enter the license key later, click Skip.

Now, accept License terms and click Accept to proceed further. It will now start loading Windows 8, and you will see Personalization window. Follow the on-screen instructions, enter details where required, and let Windows 8 prepare a fresh desktop for you.


These system repair utilities have made Windows 8 reinstallation and repair processes not only easy but also free from any type of system failures and other risks. The Reset and Refresh repair options can also be accessed from Startup Menu under Troubleshoot window, which includes advance system repair options such as, System Restore, System Image Recovery, etc.

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  • ruftas

    this will really help alot considering that computers must lag after sometime and the owner needs to have maximum use..

  • Roxxta

    They posted a workin product key in the official forum for reseting/reinstalling >>>
    http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/windowsdeveloperpreviewgeneral/thread/ea402fb2-7192-4599-b999-22ad6b28c55a

    ” If you need to reinstall Windows Developer Preview or use the Reset functionality, you might be asked to enter this product key:
    6RH4V-HNTWC-JQKG8-RFR3R-36498

    If you’re running a server version of Windows Developer Preview, you can use this product key:
    4Y8N3-H7MMW-C76VJ-YD3XV-MBDKV

    Note: These product keys are only for use with the Windows Developer Preview version of Windows 8. “

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1256463516 Karan Bindal

    It asks me to get admin rights?

    How to get them?

  • Pingback: Sync Windows 8 User Settings Between PCs & Tablets via Microsoft Account

  • Paunescu Bogdan Gelu

    I tried both options but none of them works.
    The Reset option on the first fast and does absolutely nothing.

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  • Ryan Hickman

    when i reset my laptop after installing this bullshit OS it removed everything off my computer including the OS now my laptop is nothing more than a pile of plastic

    • Chrisv23c

      Are you too trying to get rid of Windows 8? I tried to get rid of it by restting my computer to the factory settings and after waiting hours. I realized that it deleted every single file. Except for the one that i wanted to delete(Windows 8). If you find a way to go back to windows 7 without purchasing the OS. But nothing illegal please. Well if you find a way please e-mail me at 
      Chrisv23c@hotmail.com. If i cant go back i will never buy another PC again, I will buy a mac!

  • Need answer

    When I do this it’s says insert media what do I do

    • Bradizzle

      Probably should insert your windows 8 disc

    • Tony Kean

      Insert media means the installation disc

      • https://www.goherbalife.com/robert-stamm/en-US/Page/1 Bob Stamm

        Hi Tony , I have Windows 8 and it works great for me on my Lenovo Idea pad y500,Laptop

  • Windows 8 ohno

    be careful with this experiment called Windows 8 Consumer Review, a refresh deleted the majority of my useful software programs. Including all Microsoft Office programs. WTF!!!

    • anas

      i wanna go back to windows 7 ,, fuck windows 8 release preview

  • Sue Gooch

    I have just done this in error, the PC refresh! Is there anyway to restore it? There wasn’t a restore point. Complete mess now, there is a folder with all the removed programmes but can they be put back somehow?

  • Tibi

    I can’t acces “Change PC settings”, why?

  • hearthand

    The only issue not covered is what to do when this doesn’t work. No one seems to have that answer.

  • Frank Spencer

    Does the new Windows 8 restore or reset option have the ability to save data files and the programs or does it delete it everything and just maintain the OS. Please Advice. Thank you

  • sarah

    I majorly messed up and started the long restore to factory setting option while at my school library. Has been going for about three hours now, does anyone have the number of hours that there’s took? Also, what would happen if I unplugged it to take it home and finish there? Would this disrupt the process or could it continue on battery if I didn’t close the computer? Thanks!

  • Damon

    Windows 8 sucks. Got my Dell Inspiron with windows 8 for christmas. Had it for like 3 weeks and then shit went to hell. I cant connect my Ipod and Iphone, It wont charge them. Go to the device manager. Windows says the drivers are out of dat. Yet when I go to update the driver it says the driver is up to date. So I call Dell support they say its apples fault even though my apple devices work on every other computer. So I call up apple they say its Dell.

  • Joy

    Can’t login to window 8 how do I reset user account?
    Options? It’s asking the to insert disk or USB flash drive but I don’t have it please help me

  • HELP ME PLEASE

    My laptop got in a problem and I refreshed my pc because I couldn’t get in at all. BUT when I got back in, the functions of Windows 8 wasn’t working. I can’t install programs like google chrome, I can’t even open the store or settings. It just goes back to the start page. I am DYING to reset everything but if I cant even open settings, how am I going to reset it??? T T

  • Kynan

    It doesn’t work for me because my computer has all metro apps uninstalled

  • Puchaty

    Windows 8 has been a real headache for me so far
    I wanted to Reset the machine to factory settings, but the “change PC settings” no longer works, it leads back to the Start page, effectively making the easy route void. What can I do?

  • Alex Taylor

    Can someone confirm whether a full reset deletes E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G? I installed a network printer on my computer and then did the full reset. Everything appears to be gone, except for the printer! Why are my non-USB printers still installed on Windows even after doing the full-reset?

    I am not entirely confident that the reset method actually resets everything :/

    • danick

      its normal because wirerless printers that are conected to youre wifi conection stay no matter what

  • Alvin Anderson

    I was scammed by a site called Click4Support when I began my new ell inspiron and this company came up online as the first address and thinking they were Dell I turned control of my computer over to them. Turns out they’re the same people calling us up saying they’re Microsoft and want to take control of the computer. Same scam, different approach. I’ve disputed the charges and now I’m resetting my computer to make sure it’s safe. Luckily, it’s new and doesn’t have any important persmanent personal stuff, yet. Lucky me: I had just asked for a new card from my bank and they didn’t have access to any of my other accounts on the brand new computer…be careful. And thanks for the help. Windows 8 is growing on me…

  • Leslie Leihsing

    what can I do if my gateway laptop just says preparing automatic. repair then goes blank?

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