Refresh, reset and restore Windows 8

Windows 8 recovery options

Restore your Windows 8 PC if your PC is slowing down or suffering problems, or use the Refresh your PC or Reset your PC options in Windows 8 with our guide to fixing a slow Windows 8 PC.

If your Windows 8 PC starts to slow down, develops software problems or suffers a bad crash, you may need to restore your system to an earlier state when everything was working fine or – in the worst-case scenario – reinstall your Windows 8 operating system.

Windows 8 has several recovery tools that can help when you’re faced with an unresponsive or slow computer. Not only can you try to solve problems by restoring your computer to a time when it worked fine, it’s now much easier to reinstall Windows 8, with two options  – refresh and reset – for different situations.

  • Restore your PC This restores your Windows 8 computer to an earlier point in time. So, for example, if you’ve install new software and then find that your PC isn’t working properly, you can use this option to set your system to a previous working state. You must first create system restore points for this tool to work. Read our step-by-step guiding to creating restore points and restoring your Windows 8 computer using a restore point.

  • Refresh your PC This option installs a fresh copy of Windows 8 onto your computer but keeps your personal files and custom settings intact. Any Windows 8 apps that you’ve downloaded from the Windows Store are kept but desktop applications are removed from the hard drive and so need to be installed again. Learn how to install a fresh copy of Windows 8 with step-by-step guiding to refreshing your Windows 8 computer.

  • Reset your PC This removes all your files, settings and software, then reinstalls Windows 8. Choose this option if you want to completely reset your PC or you intend to donate or sell it and want to thoroughly remove all personal data from it before doing so. Read how to wipe your computer clean and install a factory-fresh copy of Windows 8.

You can find these Windows 8 recovery tools on the PC Settings screen. Here’s how:

Step 1  Move your mouse cursor to the top left corner of the screen and from the Charms menu that appears, click Settings.

Step 2  Click Change PC Settings at the bottom of the menu bar.

Step 3  Click the General tab on the left and then scroll down to see the refresh and reset options. Choose Advanced option to use a system restore point.

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