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Reset Windows 8


Brink

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Reset Windows 8
This will show you how to use a new feature in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 to reset your PC to completely start over back to default to remove all personal data, apps, and settings from the PC, and reinstall Windows.
Published by Brink
#1
ByLine
How to Reset Windows 8 and Windows 8.1
Synopsis
This will show you how to use a new feature in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 to reset your PC to completely start over back to default to remove all personal data, apps, and settings from the PC, and reinstall Windows.
How to Reset Windows 8 and Windows 8.1

This will show you how to use a new feature in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 to reset your PC to completely start over back to default to remove all personal data, apps, and settings from the PC, and reinstall Windows. This is like doing a factory restore/recovery on a purchased computer or clean install, but a little faster.

Resetting your Windows 8 PC works like this:
  • The PC boots into the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE).
  • Windows RE erases and formats only the hard drive partition on which Windows 8 and your personal data (user folders) reside.
  • Windows RE installs a fresh copy of Windows 8.
  • The PC restarts into the newly installed copy of Windows 8.
You must have an administrator account on the computer to be able to reset Windows 8.

Note   Note

Which files will be affected?

When you reset your PC, the drive will be completely reset, and all your apps and files will be removed from it. Windows 8 will be reinstalled, and you'll need to change any settings and reinstall any apps that you want to get back after resetting. If you know if any files that you don't want to lose, then you should back those files up before starting the reset.

What if I have multiple drives?

You can choose whether to reset all hard drives or just the one with Windows 8 installed on it. Any drive that Windows 8 doesn't recognize, such as those with non-Windows operating systems, will not be affected.

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.






OPTION ONE
How to Reset Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 at Boot


1. Boot to the System Recovery Options using the same type of Windows 8 installation DVD or USB thumb drive, or ISO file if in a virtual machine that you currently have installed, and click/tap on the Reset your PC option. (see screenshot below)

Reset-A.jpg

2. Click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)

Reset-B.jpg

3. If prompted, select and click/tap on a listed administrator account to sign in to it. (see screenshot below)
NOTE: Standard user accounts and domain accounts on the computer will not be listed.

Reset-C.jpg

A) Type in the password for the selected administrator account, and click/tap on Continue. (see screenshot below)
NOTE: If you need to change the keyboard layout (language), then do so before entering your password so it will be the same language that the password was set in and match.

Reset-D.jpg

4. If prompted, select the OS (ex: Windows 8) you want to reset. (see screenshot below)

OS.jpg.jpg

5. If prompted, select if you would like to remove all files from all drives or only the Windows 8 drive. (see screenshot below)
NOTE: You will only see this if you have more than one HDD or partition with a drive letter.

HDDs-1.jpg

6. If prompted, select if you would like to repartition the drives (remove all files) or keep the existing partitions. (see screenshot below)
NOTE: You will only see this if you have more than one partition on your Surface.

Repartition.png


7. Select how you want to have your personal files deleted in this current installation of Windows 8. (see screenshot below)

Note   Note
Just remove my files = Quick, but your files might be recoverable by someone else since they are only marked as deleted.

Fully clean the drive = Thorough, but this can take several hours since it does a secure erase to overwrite your files so that they can't be easily recovered.




Delete-A.jpg


8. Click/tap on Reset. (see screenshot below)

Reset-E.jpg


9. Windows 8 will now start resetting. (see screenshot below)

Reset-7.jpg


10. Enter your Windows 8 or 8.1 product key number below, and click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)

Reset-8.jpg


11. Check the I accept the license terms for using Windows box, and click/tap on the Accept button. (see screenshot below)

Reset-9.jpg


12. From this point on, the steps are the same as doing a clean install. Go to and start at step 10 in the tutorial link below to finish resetting Windows 8.

Clean Install - Windows 8






OPTION TWO
Reset Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 from within Windows 8 and Windows 8.1


1. While logged in to an administrator account in Windows 8, insert or connect the same type of Windows 8 installation DVD or USB thumb drive, or ISO file if in a virtual machine that you currently have installed.

2. Do step 3 or 4 below depending on which option you would prefer to use.

3. 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 5 or 6 below. (see screenshot below)

Recovery.jpg

4. Open PC settings, and do step 5 or 6 below for the Windows 8 you have installed.

5. 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 Remove everything and reinstall Windowssection on the right side, and go to step 7 below. (see screenshot below)

Windows_8.1_PC_settings-2.jpg

6. 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 Remove everything and reinstall Windows section on the right side, and go to step 7 below. (see screenshot below)

General-reset.jpg


7. If prompted by UAC, then click/tap on Yes.


8. Click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)

Reset-5.jpg

9. If prompted, select if you would like to remove all files from all drives or only the Windows 8 drive. (see screenshot below)
NOTE: You will only see this if you have more than one HDD or partition with a drive letter. If you like, click/tap on the Show me the list of drives that will be affected link to see them.

HDDs2.jpg

10. Select how you want to have your personal files deleted in this current installation of Windows 8. (see screenshot below)

Note   Note
Just remove my files = Quick, but your files might be recoverable by someone else since they are only marked as deleted.

Fully clean the drive = Thorough, but this can take several hours since it does a secure erase to overwrite your files so that they can't be easily recovered.




Delete-B.jpg

11. Click/tap on Reset. (see screenshot below)

Reset-6.jpg

12. Windows 8 or 8.1 will now start resetting. (see screenshot below)

Reset-7.jpg

13. Enter your Windows 8 or 8.1 product key number below, and click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)

Reset-8.jpg

14. Check the I accept the license terms for using Windows box, and click/tap on the Accept button. (see screenshot below)

Reset-9.jpg


15. From this point on, the steps are the same as doing a clean install. Go to and start at step 10 in the tutorial link below to finish resetting Windows 8 or 8.1.

Clean Install - Windows 8


That's it,
Shawn


Related Tutorials


 
Last edited by a moderator:

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    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
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    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    256GB OCZ Vector,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
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    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB6190 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
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theog

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#2
Nice one, Shawn.
 

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Brink

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#3
Thank you Ray. :)
 

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System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
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    PC/Desktop
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    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS Maximus X Code Z370
    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
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
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    Hard Drives
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    256GB OCZ Vector,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
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    PSU
    OCZ Series Gold OCZZ1000M 1000W
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    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
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xxxdannyxxx

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#4
Thanks Shawn, some nice features in the repair console.

Danny
 

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#5
Nice tut Shawn, bookmarked.
 

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mikedl

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#6
That's what I love about this forum! Thanks, Shawn! :)
 

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Brink

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#7
You're welcome guys, and thank you. :)
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Computer type
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    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS Maximus X Code Z370
    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
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    256GB OCZ Vector,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
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    OCZ Series Gold OCZZ1000M 1000W
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    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
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    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
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engtianxi

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#8

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whs

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#9
It seems to work like a reinstallation under the covers - hopefully without Windows.old.
 

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Brink

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#10
Shawn,

If you have already reach the product key step, it may asked you to enter this product key that can used on all users:
See the link below for product key.

Windows 8 Product Key, When Resetting, Reinstalling

Hello Engtianxi,

There's no need to enter the product key number in Windows 8 Developer Preview since it's built in. I just did a reset again without entering a key number by clicking on Skip to double check, and it was still showed as activated afterwards.

activation.jpg
 
Last edited:

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
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    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS Maximus X Code Z370
    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
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    256GB OCZ Vector,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    OCZ Series Gold OCZZ1000M 1000W
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    Thermaltake Core P3
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    Corsair Hydro H115i
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    Logitech wireless K800
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    Logitech MX Master
    Internet Speed
    300 Mb/s Download and 30 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 SB6190 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone

Brink

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#11
It seems to work like a reinstallation under the covers - hopefully without Windows.old.
Hello Wolfgang,

It's basically just does a clean reinstall of Windows 8. There's not a Windows.old folder created with Reset, but there will be with Refresh.

Hopefully the RTM will not need the installation media to do it though.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS Maximus X Code Z370
    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
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    256GB OCZ Vector,
    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
    Internet Speed
    300 Mb/s Download and 30 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 SB6190 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone

Avalon

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#13
Shawn, sometimes it does ask for a key, I entered once. Dont know why.
I imagine with all their UEFI craziness they haven't quite got it working flawlessly yet. :p
 

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    Antec ATX TruePower 750W
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Brink

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#14
Shawn, sometimes it does ask for a key, I entered once. Dont know why.
Hello Bill,

Was that even after clicking on Skip at step 8?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS Maximus X Code Z370
    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
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    256GB OCZ Vector,
    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
    Internet Speed
    300 Mb/s Download and 30 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 SB6190 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone

Brink

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mvp
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#16
Ok, strange. I'll add the key numbers to the tutorial for those that it does this to then.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS Maximus X Code Z370
    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
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    256GB OCZ Vector,
    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
    Internet Speed
    300 Mb/s Download and 30 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 SB6190 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone

whs

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4,514
#17
It seems to work like a reinstallation under the covers - hopefully without Windows.old.
Hello Wolfgang,

It's basically just does a clean reinstall of Windows 8. There's not a Windows.old folder created with Reset, but there will be with Refresh.

Hopefully the RTM will not need the installation media to do it though.
I wonder how they would do that without the installation media - either the DVD or a recovery partition. Maybe a retail installation DVD will create a recovery partition too.
 

My Computer

System One

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

Brink

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mvp
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23,202
#18
My thought that it would hopefully be placed on a recovery partition as well with a option to have it or not. Maybe on the usual 100 MB System Reserved, but larger of course.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS Maximus X Code Z370
    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
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    256GB OCZ Vector,
    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
    Internet Speed
    300 Mb/s Download and 30 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 SB6190 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone

Avalon

Away for a bit
Member
Australia

Posts
584
#19
My thought that it would hopefully be placed on a recovery partition as well with a option to have it or not. Maybe on the usual 100 MB System Reserved, but larger of course.
It would be interesting to see whether it would be optional or not, though, because it would make sense to have it there regardless of whether the user wants it or not, in the case of critical system error. Imagine having an error reporting system that could instantly fix corrupt system files from a recovery partition! I think they could have a passive addition to the Reset/Refresh system, sort of like Repair, but a small service that is always active that detects unauthorised changes or critical errors to system files. :)
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8 Dev Preview x64
    CPU
    i7 950 3.06GHz
    Motherboard
    Asus Rampage III
    Memory
    G Skill 4GB DDR3 2000MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    Nvidia GTX570 1.25GB DDR5
    PSU
    Antec ATX TruePower 750W
    Case
    Antec Lanboy Air Red

Win8CP

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Posts
2
#20
I have successfully used the reset feature on a custom image I created and so far out of 5 resets none have failed, although U do need to reinstall my own desktop gadgets, other than that the reset function works like a dream. Pity Windows 7 did not have it.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8 CP