Windows 8 - Tools for Power Users

The New System Restore - Refresh and Reset in a Jiffy

The New System Restore - Refresh and Reset in a Jiffy

Restoring a Windows installation might probably send shivers down the spine of many because of the long wait times associated with the process. We certainly share your pain as well.

Thankfully, the restoration process on Windows 8 is a very speedy affair that could only take a matter of minutes as we found from a demonstration with Bill Karagounis, Microsoft’s Windows 8 Principle Group Program Manager. “Refresh” and “Reset” are the two new terms associated with system restoration in the new Windows.

  • Refreshing the PC - This restores Windows 8 while retaining personal settings, personal data and apps from Windows store (Marketplace). Applications obtained or installed by other means will be removed (but you’ll be given a list).
  • Resetting the PC - This is the equivalent of a traditional clean restoration; a factory-reset equivalent. Nothing is retained.

Using a Samsung Slate PC running on an SSD drive, a system refresh took just over two minutes, while a system reset took a little over three minutes! We don’t recall when was the last time a modern application installed faster than those timings, let alone a complete OS restore. Of course, timings will vary with a much older system and using a hard disk drive, but on the whole, the process should be speedier than before. The following are some snapshots of the Refresh/Reset process:-

The new restoration functions can be found within the general PC settings of the control panel. Scrolling down the right panel will reveal the required options as found in the next screenshot.

And here are the discussed options - Refreshing your PC and below that, Remove everything refers to resetting the system.

This is an overlay notice you’ll get once you choose to refresh your PC. After you press next...’ll get this overlay and once you proceed, your PC will be refreshed in minutes (if it’s a fairly modern system).

If you opted for a system reset to bring things back to factory-default settings (the equivalent of a clean installation), this will be the overlay notice.

And this is the next prompt before the system is fully reset, just as though you installed Windows from scratch.