Reset Windows 8

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


 

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Last edited by a moderator:

kyleseeman

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I have a Hp Envy 6 with Windows 8. I have been trying to do a Refresh or a Reset and neither will work, no matter what method I follow to do this. I get the same message each time, saying, There's a problem trying to Refresh or Reset your computer, and it must restart then try again. I have received an error code, 80070490. Any ideas what to do for this?
 

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Brink

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Computer0304

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What would happen if the hard drive failed or I got really bad malware which prevents Windows RE from being used on a OEM PC? Is there a way to clean install Windows 8.1? I know it might be different from Win7 because of the new UEFI implementations.
 

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Brink

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Hello Computer0304,

That would be a bad situation to be in.

If you created a recovery drive (USB) with the Copy contents from the recovery partition to the recovery drive box checked, then you could use it to do a factory reset with.

Sometimes, you may not be able to if the recovery partition is not available or corrupted, so it would also be a good idea to create a system image and save it to separate hard drive to have available if needed in the future.

If all else fails, you should be able to order replacement installation media for a low price directly from the manufacturer of the OEM computer.
 
Last edited:

My Computer

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    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
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    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
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xraiderv1

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I have absolutely no bloody idea...
if that fails or for some reason you're unable or unwilling..and assuming the machine's still under warranty, you should be able to arrainge to have it sent in for a repair
 

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Computer0304

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Hello Computer0304,

That would be a bad situation to be in.

If you created a recovery drive (USB) with the Copy contents from the recovery partition to the recovery drive box checked, then you could use it to do a factory reset with.

Sometimes, you may not be able to if the recovery partition is not available or corrupted, so it would also be a good idea to create a system image and save it to separate hard drive to have available if needed in the future.

If all else fails, you should be able to order replacement installation media for a low price directly from the manufacturer of the OEM computer.
Thanks Brink, I'll make that on my new PC.
 

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You're welcome. :)
 

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    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
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    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
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    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
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Grefus

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I upgraded my Windows 8 computer to Windows 8.1 for free from the windows app store, and I'm currently planning to reset my computer using the inbuilt feature. I'm wondering if it's possible to reset using the Windows 8 product key or am I going to need to do a clean install of Windows 8 instead?

Forgot to mention that I did create a windows 8.1 install on my USB flash drive, but I'm worried that would be a moot point if the product key doesn't work.
 

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Hello Grefus, and welcome to Eight Forums. :)

If it will not accept your Windows 8 key, then you should be able to enter a generic key to be able to only install, then change the key to your Windows 8 key after installation has finished to activate with it.

See the blue note box under step 4 in the tutorial below for more about generic keys.

http://www.eightforums.com/tutorials/2299-clean-install-windows-8-a.html
 

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Grefus

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Thanks for the advice! However it turns out that I needn't activate the windows again after the reset which is weird... It was already activated when I checked.
 

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Yes, it's normal for it to still be activated after a reset. That step is mostly just there to double check and make sure. :)
 

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HeyDontSlip

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Is this basically like clean install just quicker? I'm switching from AMD to Nvidia and want to make sure all traces of AMD are gone
 

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Hello HeyDontSlip,

Yep. :)
 

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avada

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Important question: Will the user accounts remain?
 

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My Computer

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    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
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    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
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    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
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avada

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Last edited:

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Oops. :eek:
 

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    Sound Card
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    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
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    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
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    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
    State/Region Flag
    us oklahoma

xraiderv1

pixel artist
Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2012
Messages
269
Location
I have absolutely no bloody idea...
well, its easy enough to get that back, assuming you noted down the email and password, again assuming you made an internet connected account. just sign back in.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    windows 8 64 bit
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Sony US-SVE141290X-LBOM
    CPU
    3rd gen Intel® Core™ i3-3110M processor (2.40GHz)
    Motherboard
    unknown.
    Memory
    6gb
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel® HD Graphics 4000
    Sound Card
    integrated
    Monitor(s) Displays
    integrated
    Screen Resolution
    1366x768
    Hard Drives
    1x @500gb
    Occupation
    professional sufferer of murphy's law
    Internet Speed
    fios 15/5
    Country Flag
    USA
    State/Region Flag
    us new jersey

avada

Member
Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2012
Messages
162
well, its easy enough to get that back, assuming you noted down the email and password, again assuming you made an internet connected account. just sign back in.

Actually I was using an offline account, as I always did.
 

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

xraiderv1

pixel artist
Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2012
Messages
269
Location
I have absolutely no bloody idea...
then you're gonna be redoing alot of settings.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    windows 8 64 bit
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Sony US-SVE141290X-LBOM
    CPU
    3rd gen Intel® Core™ i3-3110M processor (2.40GHz)
    Motherboard
    unknown.
    Memory
    6gb
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel® HD Graphics 4000
    Sound Card
    integrated
    Monitor(s) Displays
    integrated
    Screen Resolution
    1366x768
    Hard Drives
    1x @500gb
    Occupation
    professional sufferer of murphy's law
    Internet Speed
    fios 15/5
    Country Flag
    USA
    State/Region Flag
    us new jersey

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