Refreshing Windows 8

Written by AboKevin on . Posted in Software, Tips, Windows 8

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In my previous post I described the process I went through in order to upgrade both my laptop and desktop computers from Windows 7 to Windows 8. Both apparent success stories, except that it really was not on my laptop. After using it for some hours and few days I discovered a bug related to the desktop version of MetroTwit. When I tried to open up the application the process would start up, consuming up to anywhere between 15 and 20 MBs of RAM, and then just freeze up. There was no splash screen, and the application itself never showed up on the desktop. I tried uninstalling both the desktop and Metro-version, then reinstalling the desktop application to no avail. I searched online to see whether anyone else had encountered similar problems, without finding anything. The problem probably had nothing to do with MetroTwit itself, as it ran just fine on my upgraded desktop PC.

I took a hard look at what I had on my laptop, and contemplated formatting the C drive and doing a clean install, but decided against it since I have too much data on that drive that then needed to be moved off it before proceeding (I have back-ups of everything – both on and off site). Lets just say that the sheer size of the workload put me off. I know that Windows 8 comes with some new features allowing you to refresh your operating system, while keeping your files and settings. This meant blowing away all applications, but still not as daunting a task as a complete reinstall would entail. So, as I mentioned in the previous post, after some short contemplation I decided to try this out on the laptop.

In order to start this process you navigate to the Charms bar by either moving the mouse to the lower right corner of the start screen, or by hitting Winkey + C.

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You choose Settings which brings up the following;

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Here you choose Change PC settings, which brings you onto this full-screen environment

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Click on General and scroll down until you see these options:

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As you can see, you can choose between refreshing your PC without affecting your files or reinstall Windows while removing everything. I chose the first of the two.

The screen then dims down and you are presented with the consequences of your actions. What to do…

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The OS then starts preparing for the operation

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As it found it my case, it needed some of the files I have on my Windows 8 USB key

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After popping in the USB-key and restarting the preparation face, I was notified that it was now ready to refresh my PC

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Then it is just to sit back and relax while the system refreshes itself. It will reboot the system, and you will eventually have to go through the intro and setup of your fresh Windows 8 install (as described in my previous post).

The outcome? A fresh copy of Windows 8 on your machine, with no other applications other than your Metro-style apps (eh Windows 8 modern UI apps – whatever). But, all my files and settings were still there. To give an example: After installing a fresh copy of iTunes onto the laptop, my whole library was there, and I was able to sync both my iPhone and iPad without having to wipe them and start over, which I would have had to had I done a complete reinstall of my system. Sweet!

And Windows 8 had also done me the service of putting an html file on my desktop with a list of all the applications I had installed previously. Let’s just say that I have not reinstalled every single one of them, neither will I. But what about MetroTwit you ask? I headed over to the website, downloaded the desktop version, installed it and it is just running as beautiful as it always has. Success!

All in all a perfect way of making sure your system is running like its new, without loosing any of your data. A total win for Windows 8. Killer feature!

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