How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Note: This article is about Windows 8. See the information on System Restore in the following Article for help with Windows 7 or Windows 10.

There may come a time when you would either need or simply want to Reset or Refresh the software image on your computer because of issues you may be experiencing.

There are several ways to reach your goal of having a properly operating computer, some that will allow you to keep your files and personal settings. These options are shown below in order from least obtrusive.

  • System Restore – This rolls back the system files to a previous system restore point (least obtrusive). Documents and personal files are not changed, but applications installed after the restore point was created will need to be reinstalled. Application files that were not installed but were copied to the computer will also be removed if they were added after the restore point to which you’re restoring. Microsoft provides a full list of monitored file types.
  • Refresh – A refresh will change PC settings to defaults and attempt to save personal files while removing applications. Note that while this will attempt to save your personal files and data, it could be lost. Similarly, some applications might not be removed.
  • Reset – A reset returns your computer to its out-of-box, factory default conditions (removes your personal files and apps as well reset all settings to defaults). This is similar to what Toshiba has previously called a System Recovery using “recovery media.
  • Advanced tools – These are recommended for advanced users only. Refer to the video below for complete information.
  • Recovery Media – Recovery media can be created through “TOSHIBA Recovery Media Creator” . Refer to Creating Recovery Media in WIndows 8
  • Repair Disk – A system repair disc can be created using Windows “Create a Recovery Drive.

SYSTEM RESTORE, REFRESH AND RESET VIDEO

The following video explains the System Restore, Refresh and Reset options available in Windows 8 in the order shown above:

ACCESSING SYSTEM RESTORE, REFRESH AND RESET OPTIONS

THROUGH WINDOWS 8

To access the System Restore, Refresh and Reset options from Windows 8, perform the following:

  1. Open the Charm Bar. This can be accomplished by either holding the Windows key and pressing the “C” key or, on a device with a touch interface, by swiping from the right hand side of the screen towards the center.
  2. Select Settings, and then select Change PC Settings at the bottom. This opens the PC Settings app.
  3. In Windows 8 (not Windows 8.1), select General at the left Scroll the right section to the bottom and select the “Restart now” button under Advanced startup.”
  4. In Windows 8.1, select “Update and recovery” at the left, then “Recovery” on the left. Now select “Restart now” under “Advanced startup” on the right.
  5. The computer will display a Blue screen and bring you to the Advanced startup screen.
  6. Select Troubleshoot. Under Troubleshoot you will see Refresh and Reset.
  7. Select Advanced options. Located here is “System Restore.”

THROUGH F12 AT STARTUP

To access the System Restore, Refresh and Reset options using the F12 option at startup, perform the following:

  1. If not already, ensure the computer is completely shut down. How to Shut Down a Notebook PC in WIndows 8
  2. Now restart the computer by pressing the power button – IMMEDIATELY start tapping the F12 key on the keyboard until the “Boot Menu” screen appears.
  3. Using the arrow keys, select and press “Enter“.
  4. On the next screen you are asked to confirm if you want to contiue with recovery. Select “Yes”.
  5. The computer will bring you to the Advanced startup screen.
  6. Select Troubleshoot. Under Troubleshoot you will see Refresh and Reset.
  7. Select Advanced options. Located here is “System Restore.”

Export Control and EULA Use of any software made available for download from this system constitutes your acceptance of the Export Control Terms and the terms in the Dynabook end-user license agreement both of which you can view before downloading any such software.

In the past if you had a serious issue with your Windows operating system (OS), reinstalling it required specialist knowledge; however, with Windows 8 Microsoft has made the process much easier. You no longer have to call out a professional and spend an excessive amount of cash on repair bills; and with a little know-how, you can completely reinstall the operating system yourself.

Historically, re-installing Windows operating system was a complex and time consuming process that was virtually impossible for a novice. It involved installing the new OS using a disk, and then activating it with a product key that was only available via direct mail or telephone. Windows 8 doesn’t have this problem as it contains in-built reinstallation applications designed with simplicity in mind.

Windows 8 has two different reinstall options; refresh and reset. Each option caters to two different scenarios. The option you choose should depend on the severity of the situation. But in order to assess the severity you must first find the root of the problem.

Troubleshooting Windows 8

Before you begin, you must troubleshoot the problem to determine whether your operating system is the cause of your system’s erroneous behaviour. If you’re simply suffering from overly slow loading times, then you may just need to free up some disk space instead. To do this delete any unnecessary files or software and defragment your system. In addition, if the issue you’re encountering only started occurring after you installed a certain program, uninstall it. If cleaning up your computer solves the problem you won’t need to reinstall your OS.

Note: If none of these simple solutions work, in the vast majority of circumstances a refresh will be all that’s required. This is essentially an OS reinstall that doesn’t affect your personal files, while a full reset will delete everything.

Refreshing Windows 8

Refreshing Windows 8 allows you to keep all of your personal files and purchased applications from the Windows Store. However, your computer will be reverted back to its default settings and will delete downloaded and installed programs.

Refreshing Windows 8 is like conducting a spring clean. When you’ve packed your computer full of applications and video games no doubt the speed suffers and makes your system less responsive. A refresh will remove all of these programs and leave your computer with only the essentials and your personal files.

To perform a Windows 8 refresh:

  1. Press “Win-C” or navigate to the Charms Bar in either the top right or bottom right of your screen.
  2. Click on the “Settings” tab, press “Change PC Settings,” and then navigate to “General.”
  3. Scroll down the page until you see “Refresh your PC” and click “Get Started.”
  4. Press “Next” to begin the refresh. It should take around 15 minutes to complete.
  5. When the refresh has completed your computer should restart, leaving all of your documents and personal files in-tact.

Note: If your system is still suffering from issues after you’ve performed this procedure, save all of your files on an external hard drive and perform a full factory reset.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Resetting Windows 8

Reset is a more comprehensive reinstallation procedure and no files, programs or downloaded applications from the Windows Store will be saved. Your system will therefore revert back to its factory settings – exactly what it was like when you opened the box.

Resetting your system will essentially delete all of the files and applications that aren’t essential to your computer’s operation. Sometimes this process must occur in order to remove harmful malicious software or repair a corrupt operating system.

To perform a Windows 8 Reset:

  1. Press “Win-C” or navigate to the Charms Bar in either the top right or bottom right of your screen.
  2. Click on the “Settings” tab, press “Change PC Settings,” and then navigate to “General.”
  3. Scroll down the page until you see “Remove Everything and Reinstall Windows.” Click “Get Started.”
  4. Press “Next” to reveal two options; “Just remove my files” and “Clean the drive fully.” Select “Clean the drive fully.”
  5. Press “Reset” to begin. It should take around 15 minutes to complete; however, larger hard drives could take much longer.
  6. When the refresh has finished your computer should restart, leaving all of your documents and personal files in-tact.

Note: If you are still encountering problems after performing a complete factory reset, then you will most likely have a hardware issue.

How to perform a clean installation of Windows 8

A clean Windows 8 install is usually performed if you want to update your operating system. For example, if you’re upgrading from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1. To perform a clean install you’ll need the media in which the operating system is stored – usually a DVD or USB drive.

To perform a clean install:

  1. Insert the Windows 8 DVD or USB drive and restart your computer.
  2. Watch out for a “Press any key to boot…” message and press a key. The installation files should start to load.
  3. Select your preferences, i.e. language and time, and then press “Next” and click “Install Now.”
  4. Enter your 25 digit product key. It should be with your confirmation email or disk cover (depending on how you purchased it.) Otherwise it should be located on a sticker attached to your computer.
  5. Check the “I accept the license agreement” box and press “Next.”
  6. Select “Custom: Install Windows only (advanced.),” and then select the drive you wish to delete. Confirm the deletion by pressing “OK.” Repeat this process until you have deleted all of the partitions.
  7. Select the partition you wish to use to install Windows 8. The drive you select should be listed “Unallocated Space.” Press “Next.”
  8. Wait for Windows 8 to install, and then restart your computer.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Note: A clean install is usually unnecessary unless you are completely updating your operating system. Always try the refresh and reset methods before attempting a custom installation if you’re using it to clean up your computer.

Windows Updates for Windows 8

When you have completed the reinstallation, you’ll need to download Windows updates to ensure your OS is working with optimal performance. While updates should start automatically, it’s always best to head straight over to Microsoft Updates and manually start the process. Downloading times can vary depending on which version of Windows 8 you are using.

Conclusion

Reinstalling a Windows operating system is nothing to fear. Contrary to popular belief there’s no danger as long as long as you back up your data and follow the guidelines. Windows 8 reinstallation procedures are designed to be as simple as possible, so if you feel like your system needs a tune up, don’t waste time and money on professional services and give it a try yourself.

This guide details how you can refresh or reset your Windows 8system without using the installation media (the DVD or the USB drive).

You need to have the installation media or the original ISO file (from your Microsoft account) to configure your system. Afterwards, you can refresh or reset Windows 8/8.1 without the installation media.

Following these steps will remove the “Insert media” screen that’s being displayed when you are trying to perform Refresh or Reset:

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Windows 8 Insert Media Screen

Refresh vs. Reset

A Refresh operation will not affect personal files, but a Reset operation will remove any personal files (if they aren’t backed-up).

Before you perform a Refresh, note that:

  • If your original Windows version was 8.0 and you upgraded to 8.1, the Refresh procedure will restore the Windows 8.0 back. You’ll need to upgrade to 8.1 afterwards.
  • Applications you’ve installed since installing Windows 8/8.1 will be removed and moved to a back-up folder.

Before you perform a Reset, note that:

  • A Reset procedure will remove all data from your Windows 8/8.1 system.
  • If your original installed Windows version was 8.0 and you’ve upgraded to 8.1, the Reset procedure will restore your Windows to the 8.0 version.

You can back-up your personal files using the Browse/Backup Files feature of Easy Recovery Essentials:

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Browse/Backup Files from EasyRE

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Browse files from EasyRE directly

Download Easy Recovery Essentials by clicking this link.

Refresh without installation media

Follow these steps to prepare your Windows 8/8.1 to not ask for the installation media each time you want to perform a Refresh:

Method #1

Using Method #1 explained below allows you to perform a Reset and Refresh without Windows asking for the installation media.

  1. Boot into the system and go to Computer > C: , where C: is the drive where your Windows is installed on.
  2. Create a new folder. Name it Win8
  3. Insert the Windows 8/8.1 installation media and go to the Source folder.
    If you don’t have the installation media, download your official copy of Windows 8/8.1 ISO image from your Microsoft account:

  • Download the ISO file
  • Right-click on the ISO file
  • Click Mount

Method #2

Method #2 allows you to configure your Windows 8/8.1 to perform Refresh without having the installation media to create this configuration.

Method #1, for example, allows you to perform a Reset as well. Using Method #2 will not work for the Reset procedure.

Follow these steps:

  1. Boot into your system
  2. Go to Computer
  3. Go to the main drive where Windows 8/8.1 is installed on, e.g. C:
  4. Create a new folder: Win8Image
  5. Open Command Prompt as an Administrator
  6. Type:
  7. Press Enter

Reset without installation media

Follow these steps in order to run the Reset procedure without Windows 8/8.1 asking for the installation media each time:

  1. Boot into your Windows 8/8.1
  2. Go to Computer
  3. Go to the main drive, e.g. C: This is the drive where your Windows 8/8.1 is installed on.
  4. Create a new folder, called Win8
  5. Insert the Windows 8/8.1 installation media and go to the Source folder.
    If you don’t have the installation media, use the Windows 8/8.1’s ISO image that’s available for download from your Microsoft account:

  • Download the ISO file
  • Right-click on the ISO file
  • Click Mount

After following these steps, you can reset the Windows 8/8.1 system without the installation media:

    Go to PC Settings

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

The Windows 8 Advanced startup screen in PC settings

More Information

Support Links

It’s an easy-to-use and automated diagnostics disk. It’s available for Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Vista. It’s also available for Windows XP and Windows Server.

Applicable Systems

This Windows-related knowledgebase article applies to the following operating systems:

From the Metro interface, click Settings on the Charms bar and select More PC Settings.

The Metro-style Control Panel opens. Scroll down and select General and Get Started under Reset Your PC and Start Over.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Windows displays bullet points of what a PC Reset will do. Remember, everything will be wiped clean from your system. Make sure you have all of your important data backed up before proceeding.

Next, you’re asked how to remove your files. Either Thoroughly – most secure, or Quickly – less secure (files might be recoverable). The Thorough option will do three passes on your hard drive while wiping its data.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

The choice is up to you, and the message provides straightforward definitions of each. When in doubt, always pick the most secure option.

You’ll get a final message asking if you’re ready to reset the PC. Click Reset.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Just like with doing a PC Refresh, your system will reboot a couple of times while it wipes all data on your hard drive and installs a clean version of Windows 8.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

The process is surprisingly fast. On my test desktop system, a PC Reset –using the Quick option to remove personal files took about 10 minutes. That cuts the time to do a standard clean install of Windows 7 down by more than half.

With the PC Reset option, you’ll need to go through the initial setup process again.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

PC Reset vs. Refresh

What’s the difference? A PC Refresh reinstalls Windows 8 and keeps your Settings, Files, and the apps you’ve purchased from the Windows Store. if your system is running sluggishly or you want to start over with your data intact, use the Reset option.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

A PC Reset will completely wipe all of your files, setting, and apps. Then reinstall Windows 8 – everything will be set back to system defaults. This option is like wiping your hard drive with DBAN or another Disk wipe utility and doing a clean install of Windows. If you’re selling or giving away your computer, or you want to start over, use the Reset option.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Remember, after using either feature, it’s a good idea to reinstall all Windows Updates right away.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Windows computers can run into issues. Often, the best solution is to refresh, factory reset, or restore your computer.

However, not all options are equal. Refreshing your computer keeps your files — though not any installed programs that didn’t come with your computer — and reinstalls the Windows operating system. In comparison, factory resetting your computer reinstalls the operating system but does not preserve any files or installed programs.

The only option that does not result in the total loss of either your files or installed programs is system restore. This restores your operating system — files and programs included — to a previous state, called a restore point. Restore points are either automatically created by the operating system or manually created by you.

Here’s how to refresh, factory reset, and restore your Windows 10 computer.

Restore your Windows 10 computer

You should try restoring your computer to an earlier point when a recent change, such as an application install or driver update, resulted in unexpected behavior or reduced performance.

1. Click on the Windows button in the bottom left corner of your screen.

2. Type Control panel and select the control panel app.

3. Click View by and select either Small icons or Large icons.

4. Select Recovery.

5. Click Open System Restore.

6. Select either the Recommended restore or Choose a different restore point and press Next. You can create a restore point from the Control Panel or by searching “Create a restore point” in the search bar.

Note: If you select Choose a different restore point you will be presented with a list of options. Click on one of them and click Next. If no options appear, click Back and select Recommended restore. If no options are available, see refresh or reset below.

7. Click Finish. The computer will then restart and Windows will restore to that previous point.

Refresh your Windows 10 computer

You should refresh your computer if it is showing signs of reduced performance and restoring to an earlier point does not resolve the issues experienced.

1. Click on the Windows button in the bottom left corner of your screen.

2. Click on the Settings gear icon.

3. Scroll down and click on Update & Security.

4. Click on Recovery.

5. Click on Get started.

6. Click on Keep my files.

7. Click on Cloud download or Local reinstall. Cloud download downloads a new copy of Windows 10 from Microsoft directly whereas a local reinstall uses the Windows 10 version already on your computer.

8. Click Next.

9. Click Reset. The computer will now restart and install a new copy of Windows 10 while preserving your files. When it reboots, you will have a new Windows installation with your same files as before. However, your installed programs will most likely be removed during this process.

Factory reset your Windows 10 computer

You should reset your computer if none of the other options to troubleshoot issues work or you are planning to sell or dispose of it.

1. Click on the Windows button in the bottom left corner of your screen.

2. Click on the Settings gear icon.

3. Scroll down and click on Update & Security.

4. Click on Recovery.

5. Click on Get started.

6. Click on Remove everything.

7. Click on Cloud download or Local reinstall.

8. Click Next.

9. Click Reset. The computer will now restart and clean your hard drive . When it reboots, you will have a fresh installation of Windows 10 without any files or programs from before installed.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Windows 8 lets you restore your computer back to factory default settings, regardless of who made it or if you have an install disc

There are plenty of good reasons to wipe your computer and put it back to its factory default settings, including selling it and protecting your private information and simply clearing out the clutter. With Windows 7 and before, doing this would require a fresh install or using the manufacturer-provided disc image, which is a cumbersome and long-winded process. With Windows 8 things are a lot easier and the ability to wipe your computer back to factory settings, or simply refresh the install leaving your files alone, are built directly into the operating system.

While it’s generally a very easy thing to do, the utility can run into problems if you upgraded from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1. This is because the upgrade doesn’t refresh the files that Windows needs to restore factory default settings – annoying, huh? Fortunately, Microsoft has made it fairly straightforward to download and create your own Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 installation discs, so that you can get round this step. Of course, our guide tells you how. First, before you start, make sure that you have a backup of your computer and data, as following these instructions could delete everything from your computer.

STEP 1 START THE RESTORE UTILITY

Go to the Start Screen and type ‘Remove’ to bring up the search box. In the results that appear, you’ll see an option called ‘Remove everything and reinstall Windows’. Click this to start the clean-up utility, which you’ll use to flash your computer back to factory defaults.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

STEP 2 SELECT YOUR REFRESH OPTION

The Windows 8 app that starts gives you two cleaning options. The first is a refresh, which will leave your personal files alone, but clears out your applications and settings; the second option removes everything and gives you a clean installation of Windows. This is the choice to make if you’re getting rid of your PC, or it’s so hopelessly slow and cluttered that you want to go back to day zero with it. Both work in roughtly the same way, so select the option that applies to you; the rest of this guide follows the ‘Remove everything and reinstall Windows’ option.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

STEP 3 FIX THE ‘SOME FILES ARE MISSING’ ERROR

If you upgraded from Windows 8 to 8.1, you may find that you get an error message telling you that ‘Some files are missing’. It tells you to insert your Windows installation disc, which you mostly likely don’t have. Fortunately, there’s a way round this problem.

First, follow our steps to download the Windows 8 or 8.1 installation media as an ISO file. Next, mount the ISO file by right-clicking it and selecting Mount. Now, re-run the Remove everything utility and you’ll no longer get the error message. If this doesn’t work, it’s just because the app doesn’t realise that you have an Windows disc installed, but this is easy to get round: reboot your computer, mount the ISO file that you downloaded and then run the Remove everything tool

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

STEP 4 CHOOSE DRIVES TO WIPE

You’ll get a message telling you that all of your files and applications will be removed and that your PC’s settings will be restored to their defaults. Click Next to continue. If you’ve got more than one drive in your computer you’ll be asked if you want to clean Only the drive where Windows is installed or All drives. Select the one that applies to you. If you’ve only got the one drive, you’ll get straight to the next option.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

STEP 5 CHOOSE WIPE OPTIONS

You’ve now got the option to ‘Just remove my files’, which deletes your files but not securely; or to ‘Clean the drive fully’, which performs a full secure wipe. The latter option takes longer, but is the right choice if you’re going to be selling your computer or throwing it away, as it stops anyone from recovering your private date. With the first option your files are just marked as deleted, but still exist and can be accessed on the hard disk by anyone using recovery software.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

STEP 6 RESET YOUR PC

This is your last chance before your computer is wiped. Windows will tell you what you’re going to do; if you’re sure you’re ready, click Reset and your computer will reboot and reset itself back to factory defaults, ready for you to start from scratch or pass on to another person. If you’re using your computer, you’ll need to reinstall all of the applications that you need and copy and files that you need from a backup.

Two modes of system repair tool have been added to Windows 8, and these are recognized as Refresh and Reset. It is used to perform the repair and recovery actions. Whenever you find numerous system problems in Windows 8 and are unable to access these in a simple way, use both repair tools to reset your computer.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Difference between Reset and Refresh in Windows 8 PC

  • System Refresh is used to fix Windows 8 unwanted fatal errors and try to go back to the previous modes, but there should not be any effect on your Windows 8 and personal files.
  • System Reset is recognized as harder action. When it is used on your Windows 8 then the entire saved settings and system files will be deleted and will come back to the first screen of Windows 8 Installation.

How to use Refresh in Windows 8

  • Press shortcut (Windows Key + C ) to launch the Charms bar.
  • Click on the Settings button in the Charms tab.
  • Now click on More PC settings button from underneath.
  • Now PC Settings window displays the several settings menu in the drop-down lists.
  • Here click on the General options.
  • Click on Get Started button in the General Options and select Refresh Your PC without affecting Your Files.
  • Insert Windows 8 bootable disc in the Optical drive and hit the Next button.
  • Now the process of refreshing Windows 8 PC will start.
  • After a few minutes, your Windows 8 will come across a refresh process.
  • As soon as the refresh process of Windows 8 will complete, your computer will display a fresh windows screen.

Suppose your Windows 8 PC does not solve earlier problems by the refresh tool, then you can try another tool to Reset your PC.

How to perform Reset Your PC in Windows 8

Reset your PC is used to perform a complete restore of your Windows 8. It does not only change complete system configuration but also restores it without deleting the partition and format.

  • Open the PC settings Window and click on More PC settings in the Charms bar panel.
  • Click on the link Get started to Reset your PC option.
  • You find a new window in your view called the Reset Your PC here click on Next button.
  • Next window asks to select the hard disk partition. So the best option for you is to choose – Only the drive where the Windows is installed.
  • A next window comes up with both the cleanup actions – Thoroughly or Quickly.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Thoroughly – This action allows you to delete the entire data from the hard disk. If you run it then recovery is not possible by the recovery procedure.

Quickly – This action is used to remove only the stored files and the installed software.

Note – The best idea for you is to select Quickly to run a normal reset of windows 8 without many hurdles.

Microsoft has introduced two interesting and very useful features in Windows 8. Refresh PC and Reset PC are the two new features that help you fix all Windows issues by refreshing settings or resetting everything. These features allow you to set your Windows 8 settings to their defaults, or reset Windows 8 to factory settings (original settings) by deleting data and installed apps.

If you are not familiar with these features, Refresh PC lets you restore all Windows settings to their defaults without deleting your documents, music and other files, and Reset PC reinstalls Windows and wipes out everything, including your files.

The only catch is that you may be asked to insert Windows installation or recovery media during Reset PC or Refresh PC operation. When you launch Reset or Refresh PC function, you may get “Insert media: Some files are missing. Your Windows installation or recovery media will provide these files” message.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Though most of us have the Windows 8 installation media, it’s always a good idea to make necessary changes to the default settings so that you can Reset Windows 8 without inserting the installation or recovery media.

Users who would like to perform Reset PC operation without using the bootable media can follow the given below instructions. Thanks, Alex.

Reset or refresh Windows 8 without DVD/USB

How to prepare your Windows 8 to start Reset PC operation without the installation media.

Step 1: You first need to create a folder named Win8 in the root of Windows 8 drive. That is, if your Windows 8 drive is “C”, then you need to create the folder under “C” drive.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Step 2: Now, insert your Windows 8 installation media, browse to the Source folder and then copy install.wim file to the previously created Win8 folder in your Windows 8 drive.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

NOTE: If you have Windows 8 ISO file, simply right-click on the file and then select Mount option. You can then browse to the Source folder to copy the install.wim file.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Step 3: Launch elevated prompt. To do this, type CMD in Start screen and then simultaneously press Ctrl + Alt + Del keys to launch Command Prompt with admin rights. Refer to our how to run a program with admin rights for additional information.

Step 4: In the elevated prompt, execute the following command:

reagentc.exe /setosimage /path C:\Win8 /target c:\Windows /Index 1

Step 5: Close the Command Prompt. That’s it! Follow the instructions given below to start Reset PC or Refresh PC operation.

How to Reset or Refresh Windows 8 PC without the installation media.

Step 1: Launch Metro Control Panel or PC settings. To do this, you can simultaneously press Windows + I keys followed by Enter key.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Step 2: Here, in the left pane, click on General to see Reset your PC and Refresh your PC options. Click on Get Started button under Reset your PC or Refresh your PC. You won’t be asked to insert the installation or recovery media message this time around. You can follow our how to use Reset PC feature in Windows 8 guide for step-by-step procedure to Reset Windows 8 PC.

Prepare your PC to perform Refresh PC operation without installation media.

This procedure involves creating a custom Windows image to Refresh your PC. That is, we are going to create a system image backup of your current state of Windows, including installed apps and custom settings, so that this custom image can be used for Refresh PC operation.

Procedure:

Step 1: Create a folder named Win8Image anywhere on your HDD where you want to save the custom image. Make sure that the drive has enough free space before proceeding to the next step. The space required to save the image depends on all the applications and other files in the Windows drive.

Or, you can create the folder from the command line by entering mkdir D:\Win8Image command.

Step 2: Open Command Prompt as administrator and execute the following command:

recimg –CreateImage D:\Win8Image

D:\Win8Image refers to the location that has previously been created to save the image file.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

That’s it! You can now visit PC settings (Metro Control Panel) to start Refresh PC operation. When you perform Refresh PC operation this newly created image will be used as a base image and will be used for the task.

Microsoft introduced two new settings –Refresh your PC and Restore your PC- in Windows 8 developer preview lets you repair and reinstall windows without the need of Win8 installation disc. Furthermore System Restore feature is different from these which lets you restore your system to initial state/working condition. Don’t get confused with these settings, here is a detailed explanation on what changes will happen to your PC when you apply them.

Refresh your PC vs. Reset your PC

With Refresh Your PC

1. Your files and personalization settings won’t change i.e. the below features stays the same

  • Personalization settings such as start menu background color and lock screen
  • Network setting such as your wireless network connection
  • Libraries settings
  • Windows Update settings
  • Customer experience improvement program settings
  • Windows error reporting settings.

2. Your PC settings will be restored to their defaults : Your PC will go back to most of its original settings. However, this won’t affect any choices you made during Windows welcome, such as Computer name and user accounts.

3. Applications came installed on your PC and apps from windows store will be kept and other apps you installed will be removed. You need to manually install those removed apps after refresh.

With Reset your PC

1. Personal files and apps will be removed: Windows installed drive will be completely reset. Your files and apps will be removed from the drive, Windows will be reinstalled.

Windows 8 and Windows 10 include two special refresh/reset features that make it easy for anyone, even those without computer knowledge, to start over with a clean slate and restore their computer to brand-new, clean install condition. Called Refresh and Reset your PC, these features are designed to make manually reinstalling Windows a thing of the past.

The most destructive option is called Reset your PC and is effectively a fully automated clean install. All of the programs you installed and files saved will be deleted. Refresh your PC is slightly less destructive as it saves the Windows store apps and settings you installed (sorry traditional desktop apps). Your personal files are also saved. Let’s get started with Refresh your PC.

Refresh Your PC

Refresh your PC will only preserve any apps you installed from the Windows App Store and your personal files. Everything else, including traditional desktop applications you manually installed such as Microsoft Office, will be removed.

Click on the Start Button, type Recovery Options and click on the settings option called Recovery Options.

Under Refresh your PC without affecting your files, click the Get Started button.

You may be asked to provide the Windows install DVD or recovery media provided by your manufacturer. When you insert the media, it is automatically detected and moves you to the next step if it is the correct media.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Click Next on the Refresh Your PC screen.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Click Refresh on the confirmation screen, and the refresh begins.

Your computer restarts a few times and then display your logon screen when the refresh is completed. After you log in, all of your Windows Store apps are reinstalled automatically. A file called Removed Apps.html is placed on your desktop, listing all of the traditional desktop apps that were removed.

Reset Your PC

Reset Your PC is the most destructive of the two recovery features because it blows away all of your personal files, apps, and settings. Using Reset your PC is equivalent to a clean DVD install that restores everything on your PC to default factory condition. This is a true reset button for your PC.

Click on the Start Button, type Recovery Options and click on the settings option called Recovery Options.

Under Remove everything and reinstall Windows, hit the Get Started button.

You may be asked to provide the Windows install DVD or recovery media provided by your manufacturer. When you insert the media, it is automatically detected and moves you to the next step if it is the correct media.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Click Next on the Reset Your PC screen.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Next, you will be asked if you want to fully clean your drive. Select Just remove my files as this option will just reinstall Windows. Fully clean the drive will wipe the hard drive making it impossible for someone else to recovery your deleted files. This option is perfect is you are going to sell or donate your PC.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Finally, click Reset on the confirmation screen.

Your computer restarts a few times and then presents you with the Windows license terms when the reset is completed. You need to set up your user accounts, settings, and apps again just like the first time you started using your PC.

Reinstalling Windows is an easy way to fix a PC that’s been giving you problems. It can resolve most common issues including lagging to mysterious app crashes. With Windows 10 , it’s easier to do than ever before. Here’s how to get that brand new PC feeling on your machine.

Microsoft went ahead and made it insanely easy to reinstall Windows 10 by building the option right into the operating system. Some of you probably remember the old days, when it was much harder and required system discs, hard drive reformatting, tedious backup processes, and service packs. Luckily for us, Microsoft realized reinstalling Windows is a great way to fix a broken PC.

In modern Windows parlance, a reinstall is usually called a reset. Back in the distant days of Windows 8, there was another option called refresh, that put Windows back to square one, but kept all of your personal files and Windows Store apps in place.

In Windows 10, there’s only a reset option, and you get the opportunity along the way to decide whether or not to keep your documents and other files. It’s a bit simpler to understand, but there are still a few different routes to take.

There are lots of reasons you might perform this task, but the most common is just to clear out a lot of cruft and unnecessary files from a system and start again with a speedy, fresh installation. If that’s something you think you’d be interested in, then read on.

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It’s Reset time: Do you know where your files are?

Before you start doing any anything, you need to make sure you have backups of your most precious files. Even if you opt to keep your files during the reset, there’s always the chance something can go wrong, unlikely as it may be.

In today’s cloud computing age, the easiest option is to pay Microsoft, Google, or Dropbox for some online space and throw everything that’s yours in one particular folder, ready to be downloaded again. We won’t go into detail about backup strategies here, but we’d recommend that you have one.

Irrespective of personal files, a reset wipes out apps that haven’t been installed from the Windows Store (those universal, tablet-friendly ones). That means your Steam games, Photoshop, iTunes and the like, so again make sure you’ve done your research about what you need to get these up and running.

Depending on the software, you might have to deactivate your license before a reset (see the aforementioned Photoshop), otherwise it looks like you’re setting it up on an additional computer.

This might all sound rather too complicated to bother with, but it shouldn’t take long to figure out where your apps and files are. The theory is that one of your applications might be causing a problem with your system, so a reset takes you back to a factory state (or creates an even cleaner install, of which more below).

Resetting Windows 10

The easiest way to go about this is to open up the Settings pane from the Start menu, click Update & security and then switch to the Recovery tab. The Get started button under Reset this PC is your most straightforward option.

You’re then taken through a step-by-step process, and along the way you get to choose whether Windows leaves your personal files in place or wipes them too. There’s also the option to clean up your hard drive, which securely erases everything currently on the disk (handy if you’re selling your machine on).

After several more confirmation screens the reset process starts in earnest and after a certain period of time (which varies between systems) you should find yourself back with a version of Windows 10 similar to the one your computer came with. If you’ve opted to keep your files, they should be copied back in place.

With the roll out of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, there’s another, even cleaner option. Scroll down to the bottom of the Recovery tab and follow the Learn how to start afresh. link, which takes you to a download page . This tool removes all of the bloatware that originally came with your PC and lets you set up with a completely fresh, out-of-the-box Windows 10 experience.

Again, you get the option to keep or ditch your personal files, a term which isn’t very well defined by Microsoft but typically means everything saved to your user account, the desktop and other non-system folders. Remember your desktop applications and their settings are wiped either way, so you’re going to have some reinstalling and reconfiguring to do.

The second option is slightly more involved and slightly more thorough, but whichever one you go for, you should be able to get your computer running like new again with just a few clicks of the mouse.

Windows 8: Refresh Your PC Without Affecting Your Files

I will explain how to repair a corrupted Windows 8 operating system using the ‘Refresh your PC’ reset. Your symptoms may include corrupted files causing the system to run slowly, Internet Explorer crashing, or programs hanging. The solution is to restore the computer while leaving your data files untouched.

Refresh Your Windows 8 Computer

The procedure described below took me about 10 minutes, compared with 30 minutes for installing a Windows 8 machine from scratch. I did not count the time saved in not having to restore the data files from backup.

How to Refresh Your Windows 8 Computer

Highly Recommend Preliminary Step – Create Image
Providing your stricken machine is not completely incapable, then run ‘RecImg’ to produce an image so that you can restore your desktop apps such as Excel quickly. See more on this step.

Metro-style UI –> SettingsHow to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc
If you are at the Metro UI, simply type ‘Refresh’, click on ‘Settings’ and then select ‘Refresh your PC’.

From the PC Settings menu, with General highlighted, scroll down to ‘Refresh Your PC Without Affecting Your Files’. Click on the ‘Get Started’ button, (key point).

Search Control Panel For Recovery Options
There are at least two ways to access the ‘Refresh’ settings. An alternative method is to launch the Windows 8 Control Panel and search for ‘Recovery’; now click on ‘Get Started’, but make sure it’s the button next to the ‘Refresh’ section.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Refresh Your PC – Get Started!

You may have used the ‘System Image’ backup in Vista, well this ‘Refresh your PC’ builds on that technology. This is what happens:

  • Your files and personalization settings won’t change.
  • Your PC settings will be changed back to their defaults.
  • Metro-style apps from the Windows store will be retained.

Note: Apps you installed from disc will be removed, but any data files will be retained. A list of removed apps appears on the desktop

Warning Click Refresh (and not Reset)
Let us take a time out to consider an alternative to Refresh called ‘Reset’. This feature removes all files, applications and personal settings, its purpose is to return the computer to the original state after Windows 8 was installed. A classic use of Reset is if you want to clean your machine before passing in on to a friend.

To be clear, the strategy that I am suggesting on this page, is that you select the ‘Refresh’ setting, because it preserves all your data files.

Insert Media
Refreshing your PC requires the original DVD because the setup routines need to create a fresh copy of Windows 8. Be reassured that first it saves your data files so that later the refresh procedure can restore the data, *settings, and Metro apps to their original locations.

* File type associations, display and Windows Firewall settings are not saved as it’s possible that they are the cause of your computer’s problem.

Plan For Refreshing Desktop Programs
After the restart you will receive a fresh operating system complete with all the data files, the only frustration is that you will have to re-install programs such as Microsoft Office.

To save this hassle of reinstalling these desktop applications such as Word, I recommend that you use RecImg to create an image file. Naturally, you could have created such an image BEFORE you clicked the ‘Get Started’ button. See more on RecImg.

Guy Recommends: SolarWinds’ Log & Event Management ToolHow to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

LEM will alert you to problems such as when a key application on a particular server is unavailable. It can also detect when services have stopped, or if there is a network latency problem. Perhaps this log and event management tool’s most interesting ability is to take corrective action, for example by restarting services, or isolating the source of a maleware attack.

Yet perhaps the killer reason why people use LEM is for its compliance capability, with a little help from you, it will ensure that your organization complies with industry standards such as CISP or FERPA. LEM is a really smart application that can make correlations between data in different logs, then use its built-in logic to take corrective action, to restart services, or thwart potential security breaches – give LEM a whirl.

More About Windows 8 Refresh

Modern electronic devices from routers to phones provide a way to roll-back to a ‘known good state’. Microsoft extend this concept by creating a fresh install of Windows 8. The improvement compared with the old System Restore in Windows 7 is that Refresh keeps your Windows settings and those apps from Microsoft’s store untouched. Think of the new Windows 8 refresh as a hybrid between recovering the operating system from an image, and a system restore from a shadow copy.

The result of this repair procedure is that the Windows 8 operating system is working perfectly once more, and none of your data has changed. Wireless network configurations, BitLocker and drive letters are maintained. However, display settings, and Windows Firewall configurations are reset because they could have been part of the original problem that caused you to repair the Windows 8 machine.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

More Windows 8 How To Articles

Summary of Refresh Your PC Without Affecting Your Files

It’s frustrating when your Windows 8 operating system runs slowly. Perhaps the registry has become corrupted, or maybe malware has infected key files. My favourite solution is to use the Refresh settings in the Control Panel to repair the computer, while keeping the data files safe.

Being an ultra-modern Operating System, Windows 10 is pretty robust and fault-tolerant, especially when it comes to overall stability. However, even with that, the possibility of a random reboot, crash etc. messing up the overall user experience always remains. Generally, these errors are minor, but at times, they can necessitate the need of using the good ol’ method of re-installing the OS to fix things up. And that itself is a cumbersome experience, as it means losing all your files (unless you back them up beforehand), re- configuring the OS, and having to do other time consuming stuff like that. Annoying, right?

Not exactly, as you can simply refresh (or reset) your Windows 10 PC and save yourself all the trouble. Intrigued already? Let’s find out how you can refresh and reset Windows 10.

Refresh And Reset: What’s The Difference, And When You Should Use Each?

Esentially, both Refresh and Reset are advanced system recovery and troubleshooting options, meant to fix minor PC annoyances such as random reboots, crashes, and general system slowdowns. Originally introduced with Windows 8, they have been further refined in the latest Windows 10. However, even though they are largely similar (the word Refresh isn’t even explicitly mentioned anywhere), both Refresh and Reset are quite different, and should be used in as per different usage scenarios. Read on:

Refresh: What And When?

The “lighter” of the two options, Refresh automatically un-installs all the user installed apps and programs, and reverts system settings to their defaults. As part of the process, Refresh also re-installs Windows 10. However, all your personal files (e.g. documents, music) are preserved. It’s also worth noting that Refresh only affects the disk partition the OS (Windows 10) is installed on.

Refresh should be used when you just want to take care of minor system slowdowns and performance issues. It should also be used when you don’t want to lose your personal files, and configure everything from scratch, all over again.

Reset: What And When?

Obviously the more drastic of the two, Reset not only un-installs all the user installed apps and programs, but also removes all your personal files, added/configured user accounts, in addition to reverting all changed settings to their default values. Basically, Reset reverts the computer to its Out-of-BoxExperience (OOBE) state. Windows 10 is re-installed in this case as well. It’s important to note that Reset can delete everything from not only the system partition, but also all the other disk partitions as well. It can even securely wipe the partitions for further security.

Reset should be used for fixing major system issues such as frequent crashes, reboots etc., as well as performance hampering slowdowns. It can also be used if you want to start off with a clean slate (which means configuring everything from adding accounts to installing programs again), or if you plan on disposing off your computer.

How To Refresh Windows 10

Step 1: Launch the Settings app, and navigate to Update & security > Recovery. Under the Reset this PC sub-section, click on the Get started button.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Step 2: On the dialog box that comes up, select the Keep my files option. The OS will now inform you about the changes Refresh will effect to the computer. Review all the changes, and hit Reset at the last step.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

That’s it. Windows 10 will now be refreshed, and the OS will be re-installed automatically over the course of the next few minutes. Once the re-installation procedure begins, the PC will restart.

How To Reset Windows 10

Step 1: Open up Settings, and head to Update & security > Recovery. Under the Reset this PC sub-section, click Get started.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Step 2: Now, select the Remove everything option. Over the next steps, you can choose whether to delete all the files on only the system partition, or all the partitions. Review everything to be doubly sure, and click on the Reset button displayed at the last step.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Windows 10 will now be completely reset, in addition to it being re-installed. The process takes a little more time than Refresh, and you can track its progress via the same screen as the one displayed during Refresh. Once it’s done, you can configure all of the system settings, add user accounts, and do other necessary stuff like that. Piece of cake!

Ready to make your Windows 10 PC work faster and better?

Over the course of day to day usage, even the fastest of PCs can get a little troublesome and start encountering errors and performance issues. Thankfully, with Windows 10’s refresh and reset options, you can easily ensure that doesn’t happen. Want to do just some basic performance fixing without losing all your files? Use Refresh. Don’t want any leftover settings and would rather prefer a fresh start? Reset is your friend. Try them both, and do mention the one that works out best for you in the comments below.

Resetting and refreshing Windows 10 will give you a clean start, and the process is super easy. Here’s how.

  1. Plug in your Windows 10 Installation Media
  2. Head to Windows 10 Settings
  3. Head to Update and Security in Settings
  4. Select Recovery from the left-hand side.
  5. Under Reset this PC select Get Started
  6. Select either Keep my files OR Remove everything

Sometimes, things don’t work out quite how we would like them too. Sometimes we need to bite the bullet and refresh our Windows 10 installs or do a fresh install. Thankfully, in Windows 10 it’s super easy. Like, super easy. We just have a couple of things we need to tick off before we go ahead and pull the trigger.

What we will need:

*CLEAN INSTALL ONLY* A USB stick with Windows 10 ready to go (You can find out how to do this right here – head to step 5 )

Backup your files, just to be safe.

Now we have our stuff ready, let’s crack on, shall we?

If you’re doing a clean install, plug in your Windows install media. Don’t do anything with it, just plug it in. Windows will need this later on if you’re doing a clean install.

Once, you’ve done that, head down to Start then Settings.

Then click into Update & security.

In this window, on the left hand side, find Recovery.

Under Reset this PC go ahead and click Get Started.

You’ll now be prompted with two options. Keep my files and Remove everything. Click on the one you want to do, in this case, I’ll be keeping my files.

If you want a clean install and remove everything, you’ll need to have your Windows Media plugged in and go ahead and let it do a full wipe and reinstall of Windows 10.

Your PC will now get things ready, it’s working on what you will need to reinstall via the internet or CD (CD, I know right.)

Once it’s done, I will now prompt you with what will be removed, take a note of this, I’ve forgotten to install apps countless times before.

This might pop up for some of you. If you have just recently installed Windows 10 – you will be prompted that you can NOT recover back to Windows 7/8.1. If you do a refresh, bare that in mind when doing this.

Once Windows is done doing its thing, you’ll now be prompted to “RESET”. This is death trigger time, once you’ve pressed this button there is no going back, so please make sure you have everything you need. I’m not being held responsible for you losing your vast collection of Cat Memes.

Now, you can sit back and relax, let Windows do it’s thing, after some time, you’ll be presented with a nice clean install or fresh install of Windows 10. Easy, right?

I hope you’ve found this useful. You’ll find a clean install or refresh can fix a lot of problems with Windows 10 if you came from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. Having a nice fresh install is always a good move if you want the best performance.

If you’re having problems with Firefox, refreshing may help by restoring the browser to its default state while saving your essential information, like bookmarks and passwords.

Table of Contents

  1. Click the menu button , click Help and select More Troubleshooting Information .
  2. Click Refresh Firefox then Refresh Firefox in the confirmation window that opens. Firefox will close to refresh itself.
  3. When finished, a window will list your imported information. Click the Finish button. Firefox will open.
  4. Select whether you want Firefox to restore all or some windows and tabs and click the Let’s go! button.
  1. Click the menu button , click Help and select Troubleshooting Information More Troubleshooting Information .
  2. Click Refresh Firefox then Refresh Firefox in the confirmation window that opens. Firefox will close to refresh itself.
  3. When finished, a window will list your imported information. Click the Finish button. Firefox will open.

Firefox stores all your settings and personal information in a profile folder. The refresh feature creates a new profile folder and saves your important data.

The refresh feature removes add-ons normally stored inside the Firefox profile folder (such as extensions and themes). Add-ons stored in other locations are not removed (although any modified preferences are reset).

Firefox will save these items:

  • Bookmarks
  • Browsing and download history
  • Passwords
  • Cookies
  • Web form auto-fill information
  • Personal dictionary

These items and settings will be removed:

These fine people helped write this article:

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

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Windows 11/10 Advanced Recovery option offers recovery solutions that can help you bring back Windows 11/10 to a working condition. These are extreme solutions when nothing else can be done. That said, before one uses one of these solutions, it is a good idea to understand the differences between them. Windows 11/10 offers Fresh Start, Refresh, Cloud Reset, and Reset This PC options.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Reset vs Refresh vs Clean install vs In-place Upgrade vs Cloud Reset vs Fresh Start

  1. Reset This PC
  2. Cloud Reset
  3. Fresh Start
  4. Windows Refresh
  5. Clean install
  6. In-place upgrade.

After explaining all of them and their use case, we have put up a small comparison chart at the end with data points for comparison.

1] Reset This PC

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

  • Reinstalls Windows 11/10 and keeps your personal files.
  • Removes apps and drivers you had installed.
  • Eliminates changes you made to settings.
  • Excludes any apps your PC manufacturer installed.

If your computer came with preinstalled Windows 10, it would also install the apps from the PC manufacturer.

When you set it up again, it will be as new as when you bought it. The most significant advantage of using is you don’t need to go through installing Windows 11/10 or the device drivers again. The process will fix it for you as well as improve device performance.

The option should be used when your PC is totally messed up or if you are selling or permanently over your computer to someone else.

2] Cloud Reset

Cloud Reset tool downloads a new image from the cloud instead of using the existing Windows 10 files store on the machine. It will reinstall the same build, version, and edition, that is currently installed on your device.

3] Windows 10 Fresh Start

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Start fresh with a clean and up-to-date installation of Windows. Start fresh by reinstalling and updating Windows. This will keep your personal files and some Windows settings and remove most of your apps, including Microsoft Office, third-party anti-virus software, and desktop apps that came pre-installed on your device.

  1. Keeps all your data,
  2. Removes all third-party apps,
  3. Force Updates Windows 10 to the latest version.

This means all your product keys, app-related content, any third-party antivirus will be removed.

If you are not able to update to the latest version of Windows, use this method without worrying loss of data. However, you will have to install apps and activate them.

UPDATE: Fresh Start has been moved starting from Windows 10 v2004.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Fresh start is available for Windows 10 versions prior to 2004. For version 2004 and after, Fresh start functionality has been moved to Reset this PC. To reset your PC, go to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Reset this PC > Get Started. Then select Keep my files, choose cloud or local, change your settings, and set Restore preinstalled apps? to No. If you don’t see the option to Restore preinstalled apps, it means your PC doesn’t have preinstalled apps configured and won’t restore apps from your PC manufacturer.

4] Refresh Windows Tool

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

When you Refresh Windows, all apps that do not come with the standard Windows 1o installation, including installed programs, OEM drivers & pre-installed software, will be removed. You may also lose your digital licenses and other digital entitlements. You will have to install your apps and reactivate Windows again.

If your Windows 10 computer is facing a lot of issues including corrupt files, then it’s best to use Windows 10 Refresh Tool. The process does the following:

  1. Keeps your personal files and settings
  2. Replaces all Windows 11/10 system files with a new copy.
  3. Keeps the apps that came with your PC
  4. Keep the apps you installed from the Microsoft Store.

It ultimately fixes your computer without you worrying about any data loss.

Use it in case you are facing a lot of issues and corruption of system files. To use it, you need to download the Refresh Windows Tool from Microsoft.

5] Windows Clean Install

Clean installation refers to reinstalling Windows 11/10 the old way. You need to download the latest Windows ISO from the Microsoft website, create a bootable USB drive, and then install Windows 11/10 on your computer. It’s the last resort one can take to fix their PC. If nothing is fixing your problem, do this.

6] In-place upgrade

A Clean install refers to installing Windows 11/10 on a computer that does not currently have an OS installed. It is a new OS that is being installed.

Windows In-place upgrade is where you already have Windows installed and you use the setup to upgrade it to a newer version. Having an ISO file helps!

Windows Fresh Start, Reset, Refresh, Clean install comparison

I will suggest one important thing. While some of the processes keep your files, it’s always a good idea to back up essential files manually. We usually end up saving files on Desktop and Download folders. Make sure to investigate everything on the C drive and take a backup to an external drive

Similarly, if you use a lot of professional software that comes with keys, backup it up using Key Finder Tools. It would be best if you send those keys over an email or backup to a secure cloud drive.

Is it better to reset or reinstall Windows 10?

Windows 10 Reset is more likely to be a basic troubleshooting method and works for fairly basic problems. On the other hand, a Clean Install is an advanced solution for more complex problems. If you are unsure about the complexity of the issue, try on Windows Reset first, if it doesn’t help, fully backup your computer data, and then perform a Clean Install.

Is factory reset the same as PC reset?

The “Reset this PC” feature in Windows resets itself to its factory default state. A factory reset, also referred to as a Windows system restore, returns your PC to the same state it was in when it rolled off the assembly line. It will delete all the files and programs you created and installed, delete drivers and return settings to their defaults.

We hope the differences between Windows Fresh Start vs. Reset vs. Refresh vs. In-place upgrade vs Cloud Reset is clear. Always take precautions while performing any of them.

I am going to help a friend clean his Windows 8 PC which is running slowly.

After some research I found that there are two options:

  • Windows 8 Refresh
  • Windows 8 Reset

Apparently, the Refresh option is less “destructive”, and claims to keep the user’s “personal files”:

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

I would like to attempt this option first, and go for the Reset only if the Refresh doesn’t solve the problem. Of course, all his personal files have been already backed up, but I am curious nevertheless:

What exactly counts as a “personal file”? In other words, what exactly are the files that will be kept in the Windows 8 Refresh? For example, will it keep files that are saved directly under C:\ , such as C:\RandomSubfolder\foo.txt ? Will it keep files saved directly on desktop? What if the HD is partitioned, and D:\ has a bunch of files (while windows is installed on C:\ ), will files on D:\ be kept too?

Note: I found this very similar question on SuperUser but unfortunately the answers there don’t precisely address my question. That question tells me that all desktop apps (and their data) will be removed, but doesn’t answer the question of exaclty which files will be gone. On that question there is also a link to this page but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to address my question as well, since it says:

Windows RE scans the hard drive for your data, settings, and apps, and puts them aside (on the same drive).

But does not give any extra detail about what “your data” actually is.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Resetting your Win 8 PC

(PhysOrg.com) — Windows 8 is to deliver two new features that could help mute a past history of being the company that delivers blue screens of death and malware magnets. Briefly, Windows 8 is going to make Windows easier to deal with than ever before. Considering the competition Microsoft now faces, the time is ripe for this kind of pronouncement. In a blog dated January 4, the Windows 8 engineering team reveals two new options, refresh and reset.

Both functions will be at the push of a button to help users easily reset or refresh their PCs. “The power of personalization is something we all love about PCs,” said a Microsoft Steven Sinofsky,” but sometimes there is good reason to want to roll back to an earlier state. Most consumer electronics devices today can be reset to some factory state, and so we built this capability into Windows 8 too.”

In the post authored by Desmond Lee, a Microsoft program manager, the new push-button options will empower the user to refresh or reset their machines. The latter function will be useful for those who want to give their machines to somebody else, such as a family member or coworker, and at the same time want to scrub everything off that they have downloaded. Hitting reset allows complete program and data wipeout and a fresh Windows install.

As for the refresh function, Lee said that “misconfigured settings are sometimes the cause of problems that lead to customers needing to refresh their PCs. To ensure that Refresh is both effective in fixing problems and in making sure customers don’t lose settings that they might have trouble reconfiguring, we’ve thought a great deal about which settings to preserve.”

In the refresh, Windows 8 is to preserve wireless network connections, mobile broadband connections, BitLocker and BitLocker To Go settings, Drive letter assignments, personalization settings such as lock screen background and desktop wallpaper. While the core settings are backed up, the refresh will not keep file-type associations, display settings, and Windows firewall settings.

As for business environments, where Windows 8 might be deployed across the entire corporation’s PCs, a blogger outside Microsoft said that this does not necessarily spell out the demise of IT support; only that their troubleshooting rounds may be eased.

In sum, the reset removes all personal data, apps, and settings from the PC and reinstall Windows. The refresh keeps all personal data, Metro style apps, and important settings from the PC, but reinstalls Windows. The time required doing a refresh or a reset is an estimated eight minutes and 22 seconds for a refresh and six minutes and 12 seconds for a quick reset. The Register notes that these numbers are based on a Samsung PC with an i5 processor and 4GB of RAM running the Windows 8 developer preview handed out at the Build Conference in September.

A thorough reset takes 23 minutes and 52 seconds. The “thorough” option will write random patterns to every sector of the drive, overwriting existing data visible to the operating system.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

With Windows 8, Microsoft has taken the need for improved backup and restore functionality to heart. A new utility aptly named “Refresh” is included with the upcoming operating system that is set to make those annual Aliens-style “nuke it from orbit” re-installations of Windows and applications as easy as possible.

Out of the box, Refresh will allow you to easily reset the operating system to its original state without deleting your Metro applications, personal files, user accounts, or the settings configured during initial setup. Also saved are network connections, BitLocker (and BitLocker To Go) encryption settings, and drive letter assignments. On the other hand, desktop applications will be removed, and firewall settings, file type associations, and display settings will be reset to defaults. According to Microsoft’s Building Windows 8 blog, the refresh function does not keep the above mentioned data by default because it is the software most likely to cause performance or stability issues.

At a basic level, Refresh is a differential image backup that keeps track of the data added to a base Windows installation. When run, the tool acts as an overhauled System Restore by re-installing Windows and then restoring the backed up data automatically to bring your PC back to its “default” state.

How to save your desktop applications with Recimg

Refresh can be further tweaked with a command line tool called Recimg. Using this utility, it is possible to create your own baseline image that Refresh will use to restore your computer.

This would allow you to install Windows, run through the initial setup, create user accounts, install all of your favorite applications (both desktop and Modern/Metro), and configure/personalize the OS. Once you have your computer set up the way you like it, you can create a custom image that will preserve this state should you need to restore the PC. This functionality has been possible with third party tools for some time, but it is now built into Windows — and is much faster than doing a restoration of a full disk image using Acronis (or the like). The downside is that you need a Windows install in place before you can restore your image, so it becomes less handy if your hard drive dies and you need to restore to a new drive. You would need to install windows and then allow Refresh to re-install Windows plus your saved changes. Because of this, the Refresh image should not replace your normal backup strategy.

Despite the limitations of the differential backup –including incompatibilities with some desktop apps (an issue Microsoft is working on addressing) — using Windows 8’s Refresh will have you up and running again in less than half an hour. Further, while it does involve using the command line to set it up, it only takes a few simple mouse clicks around the GUI to actually perform a restore, making it a boon for family tech support.

Creating your custom baseline image

After installing your favorite applications and getting the operating system set up the way you like it, you need to create a new image that will become the new baseline for Windows 8’s Refresh tool. Unfortunately, there is no GUI method to do this out of the box (there are third party Metro apps that can do it, however). Open a new Administrator command prompt by searching for “cmd” on the Start screen, right clicking the command prompt icon, and choose “Run as administrator.”

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Now you will need to run a simple command to create the new image. Type the following command — recimg /createimage E:\BACKUPS\ — and hit the Enter key.

The location “E:\BACKUPS\” in the above example command can be replaced with any directory of your choice. You can choose a directory on any connected drive and the Recimg utility will create the folder(s) for you as needed.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

After hitting Enter, the Recimg utility will write a new image file, and then register the new file with the Refresh program so that it will use the custom image rather than the Microsoft-provided default when run. Depending on the amount of data the tool will need to write for the differential backup, it could take a while to complete. Once finished, Recimg will display an operation successful message. As of the RTM release, the tool states the following when an image is successfully created: Recovery image creation and registration completed successfully.

If you browse to the directory you used in the above command, you will find a new file named “CustomRefresh.wim.” The exact size will vary, but you can expect it to be at least several gigabytes in size. While Windows’ built-in zip/archive manager cannot open the “.wim” image file, 7-zip is able to open the archive (it cannot add items to it, however). Currently, the image file contains the following folders and files:

  • Documents and Settings
  • MSOCache
  • Program Files
  • Program Files (x86)
  • ProgramData
  • Users
  • Windows
  • bootmgr (file)
  • BootNXT (file)
  • hiberfil.sys
  • InstallRPLog.txt
  • pagefile.sys
  • swapfile.sys

The inclusion of hiberfil, pagefile, and swapfile “.sys” files is curious, however it is otherwise a straightforward backup.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

The CustomRefresh.wim file created with recimg utility shown in Explorer and open in 7-zip (inset)

That is all there is to the recovery-image creation process. It may be a good idea to include that CustomRefresh.wim file into your overall backup strategy. Should the original file be lost or damaged, you can place the backup in the same location and have it work. To verify, you can open a new command prompt window with administrative privileges and use recimg /showcurrent to display the currently configured image directory. To change this, you can use recimg /setcurrent E:\BACKUP\ to register the new location of the CustomRefresh.wim file.

The restoration process is done using the new Refresh tool located in the “PC Settings” Metro application, or the Windows 8 recovery environment (if the PC is unable to boot into Windows properly). Either way, it is a straightforward process that can be completed without the use of the command line. Continue reading for details on the Refresh recovery and restoration process — and the current caveats.

UPDATE: This tutorial has been updated with new information and screenshots. Comparison between Reset and Refresh PC options has also been added.

Almost all Windows users install and test new software, games, etc regularly in their computer systems. There are also many customization lovers who love to install new themes, transformation packs in their computer to change Windows look-n-feel.

Many times when we install such kind of things, our computer system starts slowing down and we start facing problems and random error messages. Sometimes it might be due to a missing or corrupt system file or an incorrect Registry value. Many times we can fix these kind of problems by uninstalling those problematic software or transformation packs as given here and here but sometimes reinstalling Windows might be the last option to do.

Formatting hard disk and reinstalling a fresh Windows is the ultimate solution to fix almost all PC problems but it requires some expertise and valuable time because you’ll need to first install Windows and then you’ll have to reinstall all device drivers, favorite software, games, etc. Oh yeah, you’ll also need to customize all your settings again.

If you are using Windows 8 or later operating system such as Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 , here is something interesting information for you. Although many Windows 8 users might be aware of this built-in feature but there are many people who don’t know about it. So today in this tutorial, we are going to share detailed information about a cool built-in feature of Windows 8 and later which helps you in reinstalling or repairing Windows quickly and easily.

Actually Microsoft has introduced 2 new features in Windows 8 which are called:

  • Reset PC
  • Refresh PC

Reset PC: This feature is similar to “Reset to Default” or “Restore Factory Settings” feature found in mobiles and tablets. This feature removes everything from your PC and reinstalls Windows from scratch. So if you use this feature, make sure to take a backup of your important data first. Reset PC option deletes everything from your computer including personal documents, settings, 3rd party software and Metro apps. It first formats the hard drive partition and then reinstalls fresh Windows. Once you use this option, you’ll get absolute new Windows as you got it when you purchased your computer or when you installed Windows for first time.

Refresh PC: If you don’t want to reset everything to default in Windows but want to repair Windows, “Refresh PC” option will help you. It doesn’t remove everything from your PC. It reinstalls Windows but keeps your personal files, settings and Metro style apps, so you’ll not lose them if you use this option. It first copies your data to a different location and then reinstalls Windows from scratch. After reinstalling Windows, it restores the copied data. So after using this option you’ll have a brand new Windows OS along with your personal data and settings.

Table of Contents

Comparison Between “Reset PC” and “Refresh PC” Options

Refresh PC option reinstalls Windows but keeps your personal documents, files, personalization settings and metro (modern) apps. On the other hand, Reset PC removes everything from your computer and reinstalls Windows. So you’ll lose all files, settings and apps if you choose Reset PC option.

3rd party software such as Microsoft Office, etc are not kept by any of these features. In other words, both Refresh and Reset PC options remove 3rd party software programs from your computer.

Following comparison chart will help you in understanding the difference between both these features easily:

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Before Windows 8, resetting a windows PC was complex and time-consuming. But after Windows 8, 8.1, it’s very easy to return your PC to its factory-fresh state in just a few minutes.

Since my blog, I share a lot of tips and free software. It becomes necessary for me to install the software and test, before writing a review.

This makes my PC slow and sometimes corrupts my system files too. So I end up either resetting or refreshing my PC most of the time.

Sounds too good to be true? This is one feature in Windows 8.1, which really works all the time.

Most of the time refreshing my PC worked well. But sometimes I had to reset. The difference is, While refreshing windows 8.1, it simply reinstalls the OS, keeping your personal files intact. So it takes less time.

However, in the resetting option, the disk is wiped off and clean windows installation takes place. Obviously you will need to reinstall the drivers again. So, you should always backup all your drivers, before going for a refresh or reset option.

Here’s How To Refresh or Reset Windows 8.1 PC

Bring up the windows charm bar, and click on the Settings.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Under settings click on “Change PC Settings”

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Under “PC settings” click on “Update and Recovery” at the bottom.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Under “Update and Recovery” click on “Recovery” option

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Once you click on the Recovery tab, you will get the following options.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Option 1: Refresh your PC without affecting your files

Option 2: Remove everything and reinstall windows. This is the Reset option.

In all the options, windows give enough explanation, as to what files will be affected. Read them carefully, before clicking on the “Get started” tab. Because the moment you click on it windows will restart within a few seconds to complete the process.

Windows gives sufficient information, as to what files will be affected.

Option 3: The third option “Advanced startup” is entirely a different story. We will be posting on that at a later date.

The entire process usually takes a few minutes, depending on extras or bloat ware’s added by your PC maker.

TIP:

You must realize, these process literally installs Windows 8,8.1 from scratch whether you choose PC Reset or PC Refresh.

So unless your PC maker has included those drivers DVD with your PC, you will need to install missing drivers after the process.

As I mentioned above, do backup all your drivers. There are quite a few very reliable FREE driver backup software’s. You can also try this excellent Driver Back up software.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Hello! I am Ben Jamir, Founder, and Author of this blog Tipsnfreeware. I blog about computer tips & tricks, share tested free Software’s, Networking, WordPress tips, SEO tips. If you like my post /Tips then please like and share it with your friends.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

Windows 10 is a reliable operating system and in general there shouldn’t be a need to reinstall it. But sometimes when all troubleshooting options have been exhausted, or if you just want a clean start, reinstalling Windows 10 is the best way forward. Windows 10 makes it easy for users to reinstall the OS, without needing to find installation media, using the ‘Reset this PC’ feature in the Settings app.

How Does ‘Reset this PC’ Work?

Windows 10 combines the ‘Reset this PC’ and ‘Refresh this PC’ features into one simple tool called ‘Reset this PC’. The Refresh tool from Windows 8 allowed users to keep their files and personalization settings. But to make things easier for users in Windows 10, Microsoft has enabled the ability for users to keep their personal files as part of Reset. Additionally, you can choose whether to include software that was installed on the PC out-of-the-box.

What’s important to understand is that ‘Reset your PC’ doesn’t roll back devices to the factory image. For example, if you have upgraded to the Windows 10 May 2019 Update and you run ‘Reset your PC’, you will still have the May 2019 Update once Windows has reinstalled. Although you will lose the ability to roll back to the previous version of Windows once the reset has completed. There might also be the option to ‘Restore Factory Settings’ if you upgraded from Windows 8 to Windows 10. Selecting this will reinstall Windows 8.

In most cases, users will want to retain their personal files. When choosing this option, you can log back in to Windows after the reset without recreating user accounts that existed before reset. And all users’ files will be in place. The only thing left to do is reinstall applications. ‘Reset this PC’ is also useful if you want to give the device away or sell it. In this case, you should remove your personal files.

‘Reset this PC’ works by booting into the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) and erasing the Windows partition. It then installs a new copy of Windows. If you choose to keep personal files, ‘Reset this PC’ scans the drive for personal files and moves them out of the Windows partition before it’s deleted. Then the files are put back in place once Windows is reinstalled.

Fresh Start vs Reset this PC

If you installed Windows yourself, using ‘Reset this PC’ will return Windows to its original state as when you first installed it. But if like most people, Windows was installed on the device when you received it, a reset will return it to the default state, including vendor software. If you want to perform a reset but remove software provided by the device manufacturer, use the Reset tool from Microsoft’s website. The Reset tool gives you the option to keep personal files and you need an Internet connection because it downloads the Windows 10 image from Microsoft’s servers.

Reinstall Windows 10 Using Reset this PC

You can launch the ‘Reset this PC’ feature from the Settings app or from the boot menu if Windows isn’t starting properly. For the purposes of this article, I’ll show you how to start a reset from the Settings app and keep personal files.

  • Open the Settings app in Windows 10. Type settings in the search box on the taskbar and select Settings from the list of results.
  • In the Settings app, click Update & Security.
  • On the Update & Security page, click Recovery.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

How to Reinstall Windows 10 Using Reset this PC (Image Credit: Russell Smith)

  • Under Reset this PC on the right, click Get started. You will be prompted to elevate privileges.
  • In the Reset this PC dialog under Choose an option, select Keep my files.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

How to Reinstall Windows 10 Using Reset this PC (Image Credit: Russell Smith)

  • On the Additional settings screen, you can choose to NOT restore apps and settings that came with the PC. The default option is to restore. If you want to change this option, click Change settings and then under Preinstalled apps, change the slider to Off.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

How to Reinstall Windows 10 Using Reset this PC (Image Credit: Russell Smith)

  • On the Ready to reset this PC screen, confirm that you want to reinstall Windows by clicking Reset.

How to use refresh and reset in windows 8 or 10 to easily reinstall your pc

How to Reinstall Windows 10 Using Reset this PC (Image Credit: Russell Smith)

The device will reboot several times. Once Windows has reinstalled, you can log back in with the same user accounts and credentials as before.

While Windows can preserve user files during the reinstall process, if you don’t have another copy of your files somewhere else, like before starting any major operation, I’d recommend making sure you have a backup. ‘Reset this PC’ is a useful feature that makes it easy for users and administrators to quickly reinstall Windows and it is especially useful if IT support needs to talk users through the process because it can be completed in just a few clicks.

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