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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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