This is a Guest Post
Author Bio: Gary Fildes has 10+ years experience in the IT Industry and is an MCT Technical Trainer and Lead Instructor for Windows 8 Training at Firebrand
I personally like to keep my PC very ‘fresh’. Though at the moment it looks quite un-fresh, e.g. too many icons, add-ons, upgrades etc. – so it’s time for a re-install.
I’d love to calculate the amount of times I’ve re-installed Windows over the past twenty years, from Windows 3.1 through to Windows 8.
As I type I’m installing Windows 8 in Hyper-V, so there’s another one.
So how will Refresh and Reset change your life? And what’s the difference between Refresh vs. Reset? Here goes:
- Keeps: Your files and personalisation settings, e.g. Desktop background, any purchased Windows Store Apps
- Removes: Anything else downloaded and installed, e.g. Adobe, Java, software installed from CD and USB
- Keeps: Nothing! E.g. “Honey, I accidentally deleted the wedding photos!”
- Removes: Everything! It winds your PC back to day one. Everything is gone (hence a backup is required first)
Don’t get them confused! Let’s start with Refresh (you have to be logged-on as an Administrative User to do either process).…
Keeping it fresh
So your computer is a right mess and you’ve had enough. Below is my lovely Windows 8 PC with some apps installed on the desktop, that I want gone in double-quick time.
Step 1. Press Windows Key + C for the magical Charm Bar to appear on the right-hand side. From here, click Settings > Change PC Settings > General, then scroll down to the bottom and you should see Fig.2. Here’s where the magic happens.
Notice that Refresh and Reset are two separate options. Don’t click the wrong one (Reset is explained below).
Fig.1. Windows 8 Computer
Remember all the icons on the desktop in Figure 1? Check it out now:
Perfect, the desktop background is the same, all the apps have been removed and I even get a document on the desktop informing me what has actually been removed.
I’ve checked my documents folder and my previously created documents are still there.
I feel Refreshed.
Can I get a rewind? With Reset you can start all over again
Note that STEP 1 is exactly the same as above, so I’m jumping to STEP 2.
It’s all gone drastically wrong (hypothetically at least), and you want to Reset your computer back to its factory state. Remember, backup that data first.
On completion of the Reset, you’ll be prompted for a Windows 8 license key. Top tip: if you’re a laptop owner, make a note of the license key on the COA sticker; before the years of abrasion from your lap wear it off.
You now have two choices:
Just remove my files: Everything is gone, and Windows 8 is back as new
Clean the drive fully: This apparently wipes the drive, fills it with random characters and re-installs again. Would I trust this? Having watched 24, The Wire, Homeland etc., I’ll have a look into this further before applying it to my Windows 8 PC.
That’s it – Refresh and Reset in a nutshell. I should point out that you can also use this feature from your Windows bootable media, but why bother?
These are good time-saving and overdue features that get your computer back to a good working state, or cleaned-up, in double-quick time.