Microsoft details Windows 8 Refresh and Reset your PC features

Windows 8 - Refresh and Reset Your PC

Microsoft details two new features to be included in Windows 8: refresh and reset your PC, and they are already part of Windows 8 Developer Preview but with some extra tweaks coming on Windows 8 Beta.

As most mobile devices in the market today, Windows 8 will include “one-click” — OK, may be a couple, but will still be a pretty simple process — reset button to either reset your PC to its original state or refresh your PC, which includes the reset feature but preserving data, “important” settings and apps.

Key goals with these new features:

  • Consistence experience to get Windows 8 back to its original state.
  • Streamline the process to refresh or reset user’s PCs, so it can be done quickly and easily.
  • Protect user’s data in the process.
  • Customizable approach for those who like their own way.

Reset your PC

Windows 8 will allow you to “Reset your PC”, basically this is the most convenient way to start from scratch, or if you want to recycle or give your PC away to someone else. This feature will remove all your personal data, apps, and setting from the PC and reinstall Windows.


1. Once the user give the order, the PC will boot into the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE).

2. Then the hard drive will be erased and formatted.

3. A fresh copy of Windows get reinstalled.

4. The PC restarts with the fresh installed copy of Windows.

Reset your PC - Windows 8

What is also worth noting is that Microsoft is also making sure that users with sensitive information will be well protected, by providing an option in Windows 8 beta that erase data thoroughly, that will make really tough for someone else to recover data.

Refresh your PC

Windows 8 will also allow you to “Refresh your PC”, this feature will be best suited when issues start appearing on Windows and you don’t another choice. By refreshing you are reinstalling a fresh copy of Windows, same as the reset feature, but you still be able to keep all your data, “important” settings, and Metro style apps.

One of the great things about this new feature is that backing up your data and settings to an external media will not be necessary, saving you time and hassles. 


1. Once the user give the order, the PC will boot into the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE).

2. Windows RE will look and put aside all your data, settings, and apps on the hard drive.

3. Then a fresh copy of Windows gets installed.

4. Windows RE restores data, settings, and apps.

5. The PC restarts with the fresh installed copy of Windows without the need to reconfigure any initial settings. You’ll be able to log-in and start using your PC right away like the day before.

Refresh your PC - Windows 8

According to Microsoft this was a challenge to ensure that refreshing actually fix problems and preserve user’s data intact. So the software giant had to do some compromise on what settings to preserve. In Windows 8 Beta, some of the settings that will be preserved include:

  • Drive letter assignments
  • BitLocker and BitLocker To Go settings
  • Wireless network connections
  • Mobile broadband connections
  • User’ settings, such as lock screen background and desktop wallpaper.

Settings that are not preserve, because they can be the cause of problems, are the following:

  • Display settings
  • File type associations
  • Windows Firewall settings

The catch by refreshing your PC is that Windows 8 will only restore the Metro style apps, any other software needs to be reinstall manually. This shouldn’t be so bad and here is why: there are many cases where the root of the problem can come from an installed app and the one that made you take the decision to refresh your PC in the first place, and the other reason is to not reinstall unnecessary or bad apps. But Windows 8 will include an advanced command line tool where you can create a base image, which will include all of your desktop apps along side, operating system, Metro style apps and settings.

Windows 8 will also make available refresh or reset your PC features even if the PC doesn’t boot. This can be done by creating a bootable USB flash drive in Windows 8 with a copy of Windows RE that will also allow you to performed advanced troubleshooting. For example, remove and reclaim disk space from a hidden recovery partition that might be included in your PC.

Microsoft is also clamming that refresh will only take 8 minutes and resetting only 6 minutes regardless of data size. This is based on performance from the hardware handed out at the BUILD conference.

Who these features are going to help? Everyone! Now tech savvy PC owners and novices users alike will be able to fix their PCs in minutes and not waste a whole day.

Will this be the end of computer technicians? Leave your thoughts on refresh and reset your PC topic in the comments section down below.

Source Building Windows 8 Blog

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].