3 Ways to Repair Windows 8

Category: Windows-8

If your Windows 8 computer isn't working properly, there are three new tools built into the Windows 8 operating system that you can use to attempt repairs. Read on to learn about Restore, Refresh and Reset...

Windows 8: Restore, Refresh and Reset

Windows 8 offers the same System Restore feature found in earlier Windows systems. Think of System Restore as the “Undo” button for Windows. If things have gotten fouled up due to a software glitch, malware, or your own fumble-fingered attempts to fix a problem, System Restore can return you to a known good state.

It does this by rolling back all of the changes made to your Windows system, since a specific "restore point" in the past. It's important to note what System Restore will (and will not) do. System Restore only affects Windows settings, files that are part of the operating system, device drivers, the registry, and installed programs. Your personal files will not be lost. Documents, photos, spreadsheets, and other files stored in the My Documents folder, are off-limits to System Restore. System Restore won't bring back any deleted files, either.

Windows 8 Repair Options

To use System Restore, move your mouse to the upper-right corner of the screen, click Search, enter Control Panel in the search box, and then click Control Panel. Click on Recovery, then click "Open System Restore". On Windows 8.1 systems, you may see a message that System Restore is disabled. You can turn it back on by following the instructions to configure System Protection.

Now That's Refreshing!

I'm pretty sure System Restore has been around since Heisenberg discovered the Uncertainty Principle, or at least since Windows XP hit the streets in 2001. You can learn more about how it works in my related articles System Restore for Windows 7 (and Vista) and Time Travel With System Restore (for XP)

One nice surprise in Windows 8 is the Refresh function, which restores your computer to a designated state of your choosing. The System Restore function in earlier versions does much the same, but System Restore Points may be lost if your machine runs out of space in which to store them. The Refresh function creates a permanent Restore point that mirrors your ideal system configuration. By default, it's the factory installation of Windows 8 and OEM software.

But you can also get your system just the way you like it --remove crapware, install the apps you do want, make sure there's no malware, customize the settings, themes, wallpaper, etc. --then create the restore point for the Refresh feature. So if ever find that your computer is bogged down with unwanted software, toolbars, or malware, just click Refresh and you're back to good in about 8 minutes.

All of your documents and other personal files will be preserved in a Refresh operation. It's perfect for those computers that seem to get fouled up often by kids who will click on anything that moves, or less tech-savvy users who may be tricked by those rogue "Scan your PC now" messages.

To use the Refresh feature: move your mouse to the upper-right corner of the screen, click Settings, then click "Change PC Settings". Click Update and Recovery, then click Recovery. Click the "Get started" button under "Refresh your PC without affecting your files".

Apps that came with your PC and apps you installed from the Windows Store will be reinstalled when you do a Refresh. But any Apps you installed from a website or CD/DVD will not. Any apps that are removed during a Refresh will be listed on your desktop.

Hit the RESET Button

A related new feature in Windows 8 is Reset, which will return your system to its "factory fresh" state. Unlike Refresh, a Reset will wipe out your files and any software you've installed. Reset is more drastic, but it's just the ticket if you want to wipe the proverbial slate clean, if things are really fouled up, or before selling or donating your computer. (You'll have to buy your own pine-scented dashboard hanger, though.)

To use the Reset feature: move your mouse to the upper-right corner of the screen, click Settings, then click "Change PC Settings". Click Update and Recovery, then click Recovery. Click the "Get started" button under "Remove everything and reinstall Windows".

If you have questions about the Recovery options in Windows 8, see Microsoft’s How to restore, refresh, or reset your PC page.

Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "3 Ways to Repair Windows 8"

Posted by:

Greg Lewis
09 Sep 2014

Best way to fix Winblows 8, go back to Windows 7 and wait for Windows 9. Windows 8 is Microsoft's version of "New Coke!"

Posted by:

Frank Starr
09 Sep 2014

Method 4: Install Windows 7
Medhod 5: Install some version of Linux (Ubuntu for a newbie, Linux Mint once you've tried Linux for a while).
If you're scared to install linux on your PC, you can run it from a flash drive www.pendrivelinux.com
Once you've tried it for a while, you'll easily get to the point where you'll be ready to stay with linux. You can install linux and keep windows, too, if you'd prefer.

Posted by:

Smoky Lowe
09 Sep 2014

I have used the reset to factory state and it works great, did it on a couple machines, thanks for a great article.

Posted by:

10 Sep 2014

Be very, very, careful with 'Refresh.' From Microsoft: "Warning: Apps {desktop programs} you installed from websites and DVDs will be removed {deleted!} Apps that came with your PC and apps you installed from the Windows Store will be reinstalled." http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/restore-refresh-reset-pc
So, to repeat ... Windows 8 Refresh will delete any desktop programs you installed, including Microsoft Office if you bought that. I hope you saved your product key! Your Metro aps from the Microsoft store will be saved in a Refresh.
(System restore has been around since Windows ME - and I *liked* ME! I even liked Vista, but Windows 8 has been a bridge too far.)

Posted by:

10 Sep 2014

@Greg Lewis

I laughed out loud to your comment and it is definitely On POINT!


Posted by:

Veldon Sage
10 Sep 2014

I new there had to be at least one useful thing in Windows 8

Posted by:

11 Sep 2014

don't believe the hype. i tried to use all of these steps and windows couldn't open any of them so i had to go thru F12 to get pass it and into the points you explained, so everything isn't black and white here.


Posted by:

Brian R
15 Sep 2014

Great article! Thanks Bob!

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