Along with many other cool new features, Windows 8 provides useful tools to get a PC back to factory condition. Windows 8 users who wish to roll back to an earlier state can make use of Reset and Refresh, two new tools that lets you get a PC back on track when something goes out of hand. Reset feature basically reinstalls Windows 8 to remove all apps, data and settings to take it back to factory condition. But if you wish not to lose your personal data, PC settings and apps (Metro style apps only) on Windows 8, Microsoft provides a Refresh feature to recover Windows by preserving data. In most of the cases Refresh on Windows 8 OS will be enough to get PC back to working condition when you don’t encounter major problems and only few apps are misbehaving. But there is a catch if you opt for PC Refresh feature. Read on.
Windows 8 Reset and Refresh PC settings can be found under PC Settings> General which can be accessed via Charms bar towards right side of your computer screen
Windows 8 ‘Refresh’ doesn’t restore Desktop apps:
As stated above the Refresh option available under Windows 8 PC settings once selected just backs up Metro style apps and doesn’t reinstall desktop apps. Though Microsoft does this for a reason there can be situations where you want to quickly recover Windows 8 with all apps on it. According to Microsoft,
We do this for two reasons. First, in many cases there is a single desktop app that is causing the problems that lead to a need to perform this sort of maintenance, but identifying this root cause is not usually possible. And second, we do not want to inadvertently reinstall “bad” apps that were installed unintentionally or that hitched a ride on something good but left no trace of how they were installed.
So if you are quite sure that all your desktop apps are intact and won’t pose a threat once if you reinstall then go ahead with the following command line tool included in Windows 8.
How to create Windows 8 recovery image to ‘Refresh’ your PC with Desktop apps:
Microsoft features a recimg.exe command-line tool that lets you to capture and set your custom image of the Windows 8 system. Once after you setup Windows 8 for the first time it is advised to create a custom recovery image so that whenever you refresh your PC, not only you’ll be able to keep your personal data, settings, and Metro style apps, but also restore all the desktop apps.
To get started launch command line window in administrator mode (search ‘cmd’ via Charms bar and right-click on app to ‘Run as administrator’. Now carefully punch in the following commands one by one for backing up and creating a custom recovery image.
recimg -CreateImage C:\RefreshImage
This Windows 8 tool creates the image under C:\RefreshImage and will register it so that it will be called upon when you refresh your PC.
Watch the video demo of Windows 8 Reset and Refresh recovery options: