| Windows of Technology



Windows 8′s Easy Reinstall

One of the best, but most underrated new features in Windows 8 is a mechanism that makes the reinstallation process relatively quick and completely painless.

There was a time when it seemed that almost every article about addressing problems in Windows suggested reinstalling Windows from scratch. Even today there are some problems that are easiest to fix by reinstalling Windows. The problem is that historically, reinstallation has been a time-consuming process. Depending on how the operating system is being reinstalled, there might also be a lot of work to do after the reinstallation, such as installing applications and rejoining the computer to a domain.

There are actually two different ways to reinstall Windows 8 (aside from applying a system image or breaking out the installation DVD and running Setup). You can perform a Refresh or a Reset. It is extremely important to understand the difference between the two operations before you attempt either one.

Resetting a PC is a way of removing the old operating system and starting completely from scratch. Resetting a PC functions similarly to formatting the hard disk. Everything is removed, including any personal data.

If you select a reset, you will see a warning message telling you that all of your personal files and apps will be removed and that Windows will be reset to its defaults. The thing that makes this process really interesting is the fact that after you click Next, Windows will ask you if you want to erase data quickly or thoroughly. Removing data thoroughly obviously takes longer, but it makes data much more difficult to recover.

The other option is to refresh the PC. When you refresh your PC, any apps from the Windows Store will be automatically reinstalled, but desktop apps will be removed. Windows will place a list of the apps that have been removed on the PCs desktop. The refresh process will not remove data that is stored on the PC.

As you can see, there are two good methods for reinstalling Windows 8. Sometimes though, you may not need to do anything quite that drastic. The vast majority of the Windows reinstallations that I have performed over the last few years were due to the fact that Internet Explorer had been damaged beyond repair by malware. However, Microsoft has given us a way to reset Internet Explorer without having to reinstall Windows.

In many cases, you will probably be able to return Windows to a functional state just by resetting Internet Explorer. When more drastic action is required, however, Microsoft provides some easy ways to reinstall the operating system. Obviously, this is not reason alone to migrate to Windows 8, but it is one of those small additions to an operating system that add up to make the decision to migrate an easier one.

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