Bare metal recovery is restoring an external system image containing OS/applications and data - Bare-metal restore - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia . In Windows it is taking the option in Recovery Environment (i.e booting from install media or recovery USB or similar) formatting and restoring either factory settings or to a system image you have defined.
Windows RE push-button reset features to fully recreate the partition structure of the hard drive. This procedure is also known as a bare-metal recovery. This procedure can be performed if a user needs to replace their hard drive or completely wipe it clean.
You can supply media with a recovery image instead of, or in addition to, including a recovery image on the PC
Bare Metal recovery is simply RESTORING a WORKABLE OS from your last backup - this is often done if the OS HDD is broken / replaced or the OS becomes in any way corrupted so you BOOT from an external device, and perform a system restore (usually an Image) from the image also restored on an external device.
The actual OS doesn't have to be the one you eventually use - but it gets the system back into a workable order from which you can possibly add updates, other programs etc.
The whole point of it is that the restore data and boot program are run entirely from external media.
Glad to know I'm not the only confused soul here... So many answers!
@Jimbo45 : I wanted to know 2 things, what Bare-Metal means, and what Bare-Metal Recovery, as an option along with Refresh and Reset means... In other words, does there exist a button, or an option or a setting that is called "Bare metal recovery". The documentation is mighty confusing on that aspect.
But I do know now what bare-metal means, thanks to the overlapping answers which form some kind of complete picture.
Some older External HDD's were sold with a "1-step recovery" which was activated by pressing a button on the external HDD -- all this essentially did was restore a system image from the image stored on the HDD -- it would run a special program that *might* or *might not* need a Boot.
Windows REFRESH / RESET essentially both mean a re-install of Windows (but an automatic one) from some sort of saved data within Windows itself - they have slightly different meanings but -- seriously though I've never bothered with that. I prefer to work with images I've taken myself.
Your best bet is to take TWO separate images -- one of the hidden OEM recovery partition if you have one -- then you can delete that from HDD and free up more space, and a second image of your current running Windows system (and the small boot partition). Keep the system OS + pgms separate from other partitions so you don't lose data (such as music / photos etc) when restoring.
If you want to get the computer back to the shop state - simply a) restore the OEM partition that you saved as I pointed out earlier, and then b) run the manufacturers recovery program / procedure.
The two items do not conflict. You can't, or should not, use a Custom Refresh Image to reset a PC because it does not contain the entire install and will not replace certain components. Microsoft recommends against using such a process.
The ResetConfig.xml is a configuration file normally read by the Reset utility to set something up in a certain way. This particular file is referenced in the link I supplied. Reagent.xml is another one which normally points to the Factory Image used in Resets.
There may be several .xml files involved in a reset or recovery. One will usually contain the partition structure for a bare metal recovery. These files can be read and edited in notepad.
A reset does require an image named Install.wim (.swm) to function. There may be some other file extensions that can be used also, I am just not that familiar.
One thing I learned in my testing was a Recovery Drive made in Windows does not use the current partition configuration on the hard drive. It reverts to the Windows basic configuration so a bare metal recovery may not have all the original partitions. The OEM version will probably have all the original partitions, such as the Dell 40 MB OEM partition on my system.