Tuesday, July 2, 2013

[Article] Refresh feature of Windows 8

Refresh is a new feature Windows 8 brought to the table. It allows you to revert your Windows installation to a fresh and clean state without losing any data. Of course, you will lose all the applications that your had installed before Refreshing, so hopefully you will have those setup files still in the hard disk. If not, you can use this method to install most commonly used apps easily. Windows Store Apps will be automatically downloaded and installed however. A file with all the applications that got removed will be saved on your desktop.

How do you Refresh your OS? There are two ways. First way is doing it from Windows itself. The second is doing is using your install media. (DVD or USB stick). But by default, you have to insert the install media for the Refresh to work. (Click here for a tutorial on how to make a bootable USB stick from a Windows 8 ISO file)

Doing it from Windows

This is how you do it from Windows. Refresh can be accessed from PC Settings -> General -> Refresh your PC without affecting your files. You will be asked to insert the install media and reboot.
Now, if you don't have a disc or USB stick that you had burned or prepared before, it will be a slight setback. But if you have the Windows 8 ISO file on your hard drive, you can actually use it as the source. You can find out how to do that by referring to this article.

Doing it from install media (DVD or USB stick)

If you cannot boot into Windows, you will have to use a bootable install media to Refresh your installation. 
However, if you can somehow manage to enter the recovery environment (repeatedly smashing F8 key just before Windows starts to boot), you can do it easily from there as well.

Things to do after a Refresh

There is one important thing that you need to do after a Refresh. The Windows Recovery Environment will leave behind the old Windows installation in a folder called Windows.Old. This folder will be in C drive and it is a huge folder. You cannot delete it the normal way. You have to do it via Disk Cleanup.

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