Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Restarted After Refresh, all data gone

  1. #1


    Posts : 2
    Windows 8

    Restarted After Refresh, all data gone


    I've tried searching for similar cases but couldn't seem to find any. I decided to do a Windows refresh to fix a resolution issue on my second monitor and fix an issue where the PC could not communicate with the other monitor. After completing the refresh, I used the PC just fine for a few hours. I restarted because a program wasn't responding and upon restart, windows 8 decided to go through an "undoing changes" screen on boot for about 15-20 minutes.

    After that, the PC was back to it's pre refresh state with all my programs installed, but none of them functioning because all program files, documents, and pretty much anything except for windows disappeared. Would there be any way of undoing this and getting the data back? It's a pretty hefty amount, close to 500 GB I believe and I had a lot of my video game saves.. a couple of hundred hours of work saved to this hard drive. If anyone has any more information I would be extremely grateful. Thank you.

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  2. #2


    Sloe Deth, Californicatia
    Posts : 3,908
    Windows 8 Pro with Media Center/Windows 7


    That's what "Refresh" means, it WIPES all of your Desktop apps and Data. What you needed to do was an In-Place install. Sorry, it's all gone.

    You CAN use Mini-XP in Hiren's Boot CD plus "Recuva" and MAYBE you can restore some important files, but you cannot restore any apps using that. Not to mention, deep-scanning a 500 GB drive with "Recuva" WILL take the most part of a day, or longer. Once you get it populated, you can restore maybe 1 file or one folder, and then you will have to scan the drive for another 24 hours. Really don't know what to tell you about that, but if there is irrecoverable data on the drive, you will have to run Recuva several times. Don't bother with your saved games, those are way gone.

    1) "Refresh" - Keeps your Metro apps, wipes all other data
    1) "Restore" - Wipes ALL of it.

    IN either case, you don't wanna run either of those unless you don't care about what's on the drive.

    Always ask before you do a destructive operation on a system, we could have helped you fix trhe problem and not lose any Data or Programs.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 2,627
    win8.1.1 enterprise


    no according to what it says in , charms bar/ settings/ ,pc settings,/general , if you computer isn't working right you can refresh your pc without affecting you files,with out loosing data pics music ,videos ,ect ect ,i think maybe if you files aren't stored in the default location you will loose them haven't used it yet myself
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  4. #4


    Posts : 1,093
    Windows 8 Pro Windows 8.1 Preview
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 2
    Windows 8


    Quote Originally Posted by XweAponX View Post
    That's what "Refresh" means, it WIPES all of your Desktop apps and Data. What you needed to do was an In-Place install. Sorry, it's all gone.

    You CAN use Mini-XP in Hiren's Boot CD plus "Recuva" and MAYBE you can restore some important files, but you cannot restore any apps using that. Not to mention, deep-scanning a 500 GB drive with "Recuva" WILL take the most part of a day, or longer. Once you get it populated, you can restore maybe 1 file or one folder, and then you will have to scan the drive for another 24 hours. Really don't know what to tell you about that, but if there is irrecoverable data on the drive, you will have to run Recuva several times. Don't bother with your saved games, those are way gone.

    1) "Refresh" - Keeps your Metro apps, wipes all other data
    1) "Restore" - Wipes ALL of it.

    IN either case, you don't wanna run either of those unless you don't care about what's on the drive.

    Always ask before you do a destructive operation on a system, we could have helped you fix trhe problem and not lose any Data or Programs.
    Hi, not trying to come off as rude or anything but I do work in a PC Support department and I've done refreshes many times, I know exactly what it does.

    What a refresh should do is reinstall windows, but migrates all user data and program files into a Windows.Old folder in the C Drive which can easily be moved back, and that is exactly what it did initially. The refresh solved all issues and I had all my data back and moved back into their appropriate locations. What happened next is what perplexes me.

    I restarted one more time after a few hours of use after the successful refresh and windows decided to go through an "Undoing changes" phase for no reason that I know of since I did not give it any so commands. When it rebooted once again, it actually re instilled all of my applications and programs, but in turn removed all the data. I would have been fine with reinstalling all my apps and redoing the settings after refresh but after the second restart, the windows.old folder did not exist and my C Drive says I have 850 GB free whereas I should have about 400GB or so.

    I just have no idea where nearly 400 GB of data could have gone. Most of it was installed games and I could just redownload, although it will take ages. The more important thing (to me) is a couple of save files of the games I play, one in particular which I have about 130 hours of play time. If I can't find a way to undo this, I may look into doing a recuva for at least the save file(s)
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  6. #6


    Posts : 1
    Windows 8


    Quote Originally Posted by Neji View Post
    The refresh solved all issues and I had all my data back and moved back into their appropriate locations. What happened next is what perplexes me.

    I restarted one more time after a few hours of use after the successful refresh and windows decided to go through an "Undoing changes" phase for no reason that I know of since I did not give it any so commands. When it rebooted once again, it actually re instilled all of my applications and programs, but in turn removed all the data.
    I feel your pain. This is happening to me too.

    At first glance, the "Refresh" did what I wanted. I got a working Windows 8 installation, and my old broken installation was in the "Windows.old" directory. So far so good.

    Then after a reboot, I get an "Undoing changes" screen and I'm back to my pre-Refresh brokenness. The "Windows.old" folder is gone. And there's no evidence that the refresh ever happened.

    I'll agree this behavior is perplexing. My research had me suspecting I was the only one suffering with these symptoms. This is the only thread I've found describing the same problem as myself. I have no fix for this brokenness. I just felt inclined to register and reply that you are not alone.
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  7. #7


    Sloe Deth, Californicatia
    Posts : 3,908
    Windows 8 Pro with Media Center/Windows 7


    I dunno, this is pretty clear on the MS website:

    How to restore, refresh, or reset your PC - Microsoft Windows Help

    Warning


    • The apps that came with your PC or you installed from Windows Store will be reinstalled, but any apps you installed from other websites and DVDs will be removed. Windows puts a list of the removed apps on your desktop after refreshing your PC.
    • Do you have a list of removed apps?

      But I seem to be wrong, only in that it claims to not delete your personal files. My other assessment, that it removes all of your desktop apps, would agree with what it says here. This is the primary reason why I've veered away from ever doing a "refresh", and that an In-Place Install would have been a better solution for your original problem. Make sure you are not in some kind of "Temporary Profile" - Open your Explorer to Users and look for a "user" named "Temp", and then look for your original user name. See if your personal files are in there.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Sloe Deth, Californicatia
    Posts : 3,908
    Windows 8 Pro with Media Center/Windows 7


    Ok, I understand your problem now, I think I see what happened:

    I restarted one more time after a few hours of use after the successful refresh and windows decided to go through an "Undoing changes" phase for no reason that I know of since I did not give it any so commands. When it rebooted once again, it actually re instilled all of my applications and programs, but in turn removed all the data. I would have been fine with reinstalling all my apps and redoing the settings after refresh but after the second restart, the windows.old folder did not exist and my C Drive says I have 850 GB free whereas I should have about 400GB or so.
    Did your system have any recovery partitions?

    The Original Refresh would not have re-installed all of your apps. But if your system booted that second time to a recovery partition rather than your actual Windows 8 partition, then THAT process would have eradicated all of your personal files, this is why I delete recovery partitions at sight. I've been the victim of this kind of roll back myself, before I understood that the system was booting to recovery instead of the OS I had just installed, it wiped the OS I had just upgraded, and reinstalled Vista. Because the recovery partition was being seen as Drive C instead of the real OS. I've seen it happen on Windows 7 machines as well.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Restarted After Refresh, all data gone
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