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Refresh Windows 8

How to Refresh Windows 8 and Windows 8.1

information   Information
This will show you how to use a new feature in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 to refresh your PC to keep all personal data, Metro style apps, and important settings from the PC, and reinstall Windows.

If a recovery image provided by your PC's manufacturer is present, Windows 8 will use that image when you refresh your PC. Otherwise, Windows 8 will use your installation media when you refresh your PC.

This refresh feature is something close to like what doing a repair install in Windows 7 and Vista was for, but made a lot easier, faster, and safer to do now in Windows 8.

You must be signed in as an administrator to be able to do the steps in this tutorial.

Refreshing your PC goes like this:
  • The PC boots into Windows RE (Recovery Environment).
  • Windows RE scans the hard drive for your data, settings, and apps, and puts them aside (on the same drive).
  • Windows RE installs a fresh copy of Windows.
  • Windows RE restores the data, settings, and apps it has set aside into the newly installed copy of Windows.
  • The PC restarts into the newly installed copy of Windows.

Note   Note
Which Settings will be Preserved
  • All user accounts.
  • Files in all users' C:\Users\(user-name) folders. (ex: Desktop, My Documents, My Music, etc...)
  • Wireless network connections
  • Apps from the Windows Store will be kept.
  • Mobile broadband connections
  • BitLocker and BitLocker To Go settings
  • Drive letter assignments
  • Personalization settings such as lock screen background and desktop wallpaper
  • Choices you made during Windows Welcome, such as computer name and user accounts, will not change.
  • Network, Libraries, and Windows Update settings will not change.
  • Customer Experience Improvement Program settings will not change.
  • Windows Error Reporting settings will not change.
  • Some drivers may or may not be removed.
Which Settings will be NOT be Preserved
  • File type associations
  • Display settings
  • User settings
  • Windows Firewall settings
  • App settings
  • All installed 3rd party desktop programs (not Store apps). A list of removed apps will be saved on your desktop after the refresh is finished to let you know which programs were removed.
  • You PC settings will be changed back to their defaults.
  • Installed Windows Updates will be removed.
  • Some drivers may or may not be removed.

Tip   Tip
If you create a custom recovery image, a refresh will also contain the desktop apps you've installed, and the Windows system files in their current state. If you would like to be able to refresh Windows 8 with a custom recovery image, then you would need to create and register a custom image first.

Refresh Windows 8 - Create and Use Custom Recovery Image

OR

Refresh Windows 8 - Set a Custom Recovery Image as Active

warning   Warning
If you set UAC to Always notify me, then you will not be able to use the refresh and reset Windows 8 features. These features require UAC to be set to the default or lower level to work.


If you have an OEM PC that came with Windows 8 preinstalled and updated to Windows 8.1, then when you refresh Windows, it will restore Windows 8. Afterwards, you will need to update to Windows 8.1 via the Store again.

8-1refresh.png






OPTION ONE

How to Refresh Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 at Boot


1. Boot to the System Recovery Options using your Windows 8 installation DVD or USB thumb drive, or ISO file if in a virtual machine, and click/tap on the Refresh your PC option. (see screenshot below}​
Refresh-1.jpg
2. Click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)​
Refresh-2.jpg
3. If prompted, select the Windows 8 or 8.1 that you want to refresh. (see screenshot below)​
Refresh-3.jpg
4. Click/tap on Refresh. (see screenshot below)​
Refresh-4.jpg
5. Windows 8 or 8.1 will now start to be refreshed.​
6. When it's finished, you can now log back on to a refreshed Windows 8 or 8.1. (see screenshots below)​
Refresh-8A.jpgRefresh-8B.jpg

Note   Note
If any apps were removed during the refresh, you will find a Removed Apps.html file on the desktop detailing what it removed and at what time.

Note   Note

You will also now have a Windows.old folder that has been placed in the root directory of the Windows 8 or 8.1 drive that contains a copy of the previous Windows 8 or 8.1 installation before it was refreshed. This folder can be quite large in size, so the tutorial below will show you how to delete it if you like.​









OPTION TWO

Refresh Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 from within Windows 8 and 8.1


1. While signed in as an administrator in Windows 8 or 8.1, do step 2 or 3 below depending on which option you would prefer to use.​
2. Open the Control Panel (icons view), click/tap on the Recovery icon, click/tap on the If you're experiencing problems with your PC, you can refresh it in PC settings link, and go to step 4 or 5 below. (see screenshot below)​
Recovery.jpg
3. Open PC settings, and do step 4 or 5 below for the Windows 8 you have installed.​
4. If you have Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1
A) On the left side in PC settings, click/tap on Update & Recovery. (see screenshot below)​
Windows_8.1_PC_settings-1.jpg
B) On the left side in Update & Recovery, click/tap on Recovery, click/tap on the Get started button under the Refresh your PC without affecting your files section on the right side, and go to step 6 below. (see screenshot below​
Windows_8.1_PC_settings-2.jpg
5. If you have Windows 8 or Windows RT
A) Click/tap on General on the left side, click/tap on the Get started button under the Refresh your PC without affecting your files section on the right side, and go to step 6 below. (see screenshot below)​
General-reset.jpg
6. If prompted by UAC, then click/tap on Yes.​
7. If prompted to Insert media, insert or connect your Windows installation DVD or USB, or ISO file if in a virtual machine.​
Refresh_Insert_Media.jpg
8. Click/tap on Next. (see screenshots below)​
Refresh-5.jpg
8-1refresh.png
9. Click/tap on Refresh. (see screenshot below)​
Refresh-6.jpg
10. Windows 8 or 8.1 will now start to be refreshed.​
11. When it's finished, you can now log back on to a refreshed Windows 8 or 8.1. (see screenshots below)​
Refresh-8A.jpgRefresh-8B.jpg



Note   Note
If any desktop apps (programs) were removed during the refresh, you will find a Removed Apps.html file on the desktop detailing what it removed and at what time.

You will also now have a Windows.old folder that has been placed in the root directory of the Windows 8 or 8.1 drive that contains a copy of the previous Windows 8 or 8.1 installation before it was refreshed. This folder can be quite large in size, so the tutorial below will show you how to delete it if you like.

How to Delete the "Windows.old" Folder in Windows 8




That's it,
Shawn


 

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Last edited:

Brink

Administrator
Administrator
mvp
I got a problem. My latest acquisition an Asus X205TA 1.0 laptop can only boot from the internal disk - not USB. How can I get the refresh recovery started if the thing is completely dead.

Hey Wolfgang,

If it's using UEFI, then you may need to disable Secure Boot and Fast/Ultra Fast Boot in UEFI settings before you'll be able to boot from a USB.
 
Last edited:

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 x Samsung Odyssey G7 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    OCZ Series Gold OCZZ1000M 1000W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Malwarebyte Anti-Malware Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone

whs

New Member
VIP Member
Guru
Hey Wolfgang,

If it's using UEFI, then you may need to disable Secure Boot and Fast/Ultra Fast Boot in UEFI settings before you'll be able to boot from a USB.

LOL, of course I tried that. But when I disabled secure boot, it hit me with a bitlocker key that was required to continue. I never got out of the BIOS - that bitlocker thing threw me off. There was a big saga associated with it. I quickly reset the secure boot - scared me.

Btw - the program I was trying to boot was the Uefi version of the Macrium WinPE
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Vista and Win7
    System Manufacturer/Model
    2xHP, 2xGateway, 1xDell, 1xSony
    Hard Drives
    5 SSDs and 12 HDs

Brink

Administrator
Administrator
mvp
LOL, I know, but I always have to ask to double check. ;)

Under your Boot tab in BIOS/UEFI. are you able to select to have USB flash drives listed first in the boot order?

If you haven't already, check in your Advanced tab in BIOS/UEFI to make sure that USB devices are enabled at boot.

http://dlcdnet.asus.com/pub/ASUS/EeeBook/X205TA/0409_E9564_D.pdf
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 x Samsung Odyssey G7 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    OCZ Series Gold OCZZ1000M 1000W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Malwarebyte Anti-Malware Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone

whs

New Member
VIP Member
Guru
Thanks Shawn for the suggestions. But there is none of that. With the secure boot on, I can only boot into Windows.

But I made some progress. See here. But now I am stuck with the keyboard disabled when I want to enter the bitlocker key.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Vista and Win7
    System Manufacturer/Model
    2xHP, 2xGateway, 1xDell, 1xSony
    Hard Drives
    5 SSDs and 12 HDs

Brink

Administrator
Administrator
mvp
That is one plain Jane BIOS/UEFI. :shock:
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 x Samsung Odyssey G7 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    OCZ Series Gold OCZZ1000M 1000W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Malwarebyte Anti-Malware Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone

whs

New Member
VIP Member
Guru
It sure is. But we will wrestle this one too.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Vista and Win7
    System Manufacturer/Model
    2xHP, 2xGateway, 1xDell, 1xSony
    Hard Drives
    5 SSDs and 12 HDs

avada

Member
Member
Windows RE restores the data, settings, and apps it has set aside into the newly installed copy of Windows.

Everything? Then what's the point?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    Ryzen 5 1600
    Motherboard
    Asus Prime B350-PLUS
    Memory
    G.SKILL Trident Z 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 3000MHz F4-3000C15D-16GTZB
    Graphics Card(s)
    nVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 (Asus ENGTS450)
    PSU
    500w FSP

Brink

Administrator
Administrator
mvp
Windows RE restores the data, settings, and apps it has set aside into the newly installed copy of Windows.

Everything? Then what's the point?

Hello avada, :)

The point is to refresh Windows without losing everything. The blue note box at the top of the tutorial will give more details on what will and will not be preserved when you refresh Windows.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 x Samsung Odyssey G7 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    OCZ Series Gold OCZZ1000M 1000W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Malwarebyte Anti-Malware Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone
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