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Windows 8 Refresh and Reset

We are all so used to reformatting Windows boxes every couple of years, especially for not-so-technically-savvy relatives’ machines infested with malware. Refresh your PC is a refreshing feature of Windows 8 that maintains all the files and settings you have on your machine, but removes all applications (other than Windows Store apps).

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A couple of days ago I had to perform a refresh on my Samsung Developer Tablet, after connecting to it a ZTE USB modem caused all Metro apps to fail at the splash screen. And there’s really not so much to it – a refresh is simply an in-place Windows upgrade which preserves your files, and even stores the old Windows and Program Files directories in C:\Windows.old (which is kind of annoying, actually, considering the tiny 64GB hard drive this tablet has).

Still, it’s a cool feature that many of us “sysadmins not by choice” are going to enjoy*. Internet Explorer is loading too slowly? Refresh. You’re getting annoying popups when logging in? Refresh. Office complains that the installation is corrupt? Refresh. And so on.


* At least until malware figures out a way to stay alive after a refresh. But there’s always Reset your PC for that.

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