What Happens When You Refresh Windows 8

Windows 8 has come with a novel feature called Refresh. Until now, the only way to fix Windows problems which couldn’t be fixed was to reinstall Windows. Thanks to Windows 8 Refresh, you can save time spent on 1. Taking Backup, 2. Formatting Hard Drive, 3. Install Windows and 4. Restore.

When is Windows 8 Refresh Required? If Windows 8 PC isn’t running properly and facing issues while working, you should Refresh it. This is generally caused by inappropriate setting or misconfiguration.

What is Windows 8 Refresh

The Refresh Your PC option will allow you to revert the system back to its default configuration, the way it was when it came from the factory. However, here, you will not lose your personal pictures, videos, music, files, and any personalization that you’d have done.

Refresh is basically Reinstall of Windows 8. Only difference is that your data, settings, and Metro style apps are preserved.

what happens on windows 8 refresh

Windows 8 Refresh Procedure

  1. The PC boots into Windows Recovery Environment (RE).
  2. Windows RE scans the hard drive for your data, settings, and apps, and puts them aside (on the same drive).
  3. Windows RE installs a fresh copy of Windows.
  4. Windows RE restores the data, settings, and apps it has set aside into the newly installed copy of Windows.
  5. The PC restarts into the newly installed copy of Windows.

As I said, Windows 8 Refresh is time saving method, you don’t even have to reconfigure settings. This is because- All your user accounts and those settings are preserved. You can sign in with the same account and password, and all of your documents and data are preserved in the same locations they were before.

Which Settings are Preserved

  • Wireless network connections
  • Mobile broadband connections
  • BitLocker and BitLocker To Go settings
  • Drive letter assignments
  • Personalization settings such as lock screen background and desktop wallpaper

Which Settings aren’t Preserved

  • File type associations
  • Display settings
  • Windows Firewall settings

Do I get my Apps Back after Refresh?

All the Metro apps installed from Windows 8 Store will be restored as they were. But, if you have installed Windows 8 app via Sideloading, it would neither be backed up nor restored.

None of the Desktop apps (traditional ones) will be restored. If you want back desktop apps after refreshing PC, the list of software is saved in the form of HTML file on the desktop. So, you have a quick way to see what you might need to reinstall and where to find them.

It should be noted that this will only work if there’s an active Windows 8 recovery partition on your PC. Otherwise, you’ll need the Windows 8 installation media to proceed.


About the Author

Rohit Langde is Founder and Editor-in-chief of Blogsolute. Tech Blogger by Passion & Profession | Mechanical Engineer by Qualification | Introverted Geek by Choice

3 Enlightened Replies

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  1. pritam patil says:

    Its always great to come your site and get some amazing information..:) Frankly speaking reading your site make me motivated to keep writing on my site – softattop.com
    thanks Rohit ! 🙂

    • Rohit Langde says:

      I am glad to know that Pritam.
      Yup, I noticed that one of the regular commenter on Blogsolute. Such compliments will really help me to deliver better in each of my future posts 🙂

  2. yaso says:

    Amazing post, thanks for sharing this useful information,

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