March 11, 2012, 8:40 AM —
One of the coolest features of Windows 8 is Refresh. Regardless of why you might want to start over, Refresh gives you a quick and easy way to start with a clean slate while also maintaining your apps, data, Windows settings, and user profile.
I've always been a proponent of Windows System Restore. If things start running wonky you don't need to bother troubleshooting--just go back in time to a known good state using Windows System Restore. Since its inception, though, Windows System Restore has had its issues, and for many people it seems to fail when they really need it most.
Many users simply resort to a periodic fresh install of Windows. Windows 8 also provides Reset--a simpler way to wipe the PC and start over with a completely clean Windows 8 OS. That's great if you're selling the PC, or passing it on to another user, but if you just want a fresh start the Refresh feature gives you the power to do so at the push of a button without having to reinstall everything or restore it from backup.
Refresh Windows 8
When you use the Refresh feature, Windows is still technically starting over with a fresh install of the operating system. The main difference is that the Refresh process automatically sets aside your data, Windows settings, and Metro apps, then puts them back where they belong once the OS is reinstalled. The result is a clean slate for your OS, but with your configuration settings and data intact.