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Microsoft adds factory reset options to Windows 8

Posted at 06 January 2012 13:00 CEST by Justin_Massoud

To keep up with the Joneses (and the Apples), Microsoft will ship Windows 8 with two options that allow users to either reinstall the operating system while keeping key data intact (refresh), or revert it back to a bare factory default state (reset).

Image: Microsoft/Building Windows 8 blog

The fact that most new devices grant users the ability to wipe the slate clean and start over led the company to include similar options in Windows 8, said Desmond Lee, Fundamentals team program manager.

Inspired by the simple one-button push method, he revealed the four steps a PC running Windows 8 will go through during a reset:

1. The PC boots into the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE).

2. Windows RE erases and formats the hard drive partitions on which Windows and personal data reside.

3. Windows RE installs a fresh copy of Windows.

4. The PC restarts into the newly installed copy of Windows.

Obsessive users who fear sensitive information may still be recoverable post-reset can tweak the process to both reformat the hard drive and write in random patterns, explained Lee, making data retrieval difficult, if not impossible.

Refreshing a PC, on the other hand, will bypass the need for an external hard drive back-up and move downloaded apps, settings and personal data to the new copy of Windows 8, he said.

Lee promised the OS’ upcoming beta will let users retain the following, and more, after a refresh: Wireless network connections; Mobile broadband connections; BitLocker and BitLocker To Go settings; Drive letter assignments; Metro-style apps; and personalization settings such as lock screen background and desktop wallpaper. (via Building Windows 8)

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There are 7 comments

olddancer
MyCE Senior Member
Posted on: 06 Jan 12 17:19
    Unbelievable!
    Microsoft is actually giving us back a feature that was included in Win 95/98!
    The ability to repair/refresh the installation without starting from scratch!
    coolcolors
    MyCE Resident
    Posted on: 06 Jan 12 18:28
      Quote:
      Originally Posted by Justin_Massoud
      or revert it back to a bare factory default state (reset).
      How is that even going to be possible when end users buy stand alone W8 O/S products? That doesn't even make any sense when end users buy to install on their own machine which isn't a factory built machine or when the user changes the internals to better equipments. I think they need more after thought about when it is bought for standalone installation.
      blegs38552
      MyCE Member
      Posted on: 06 Jan 12 19:03
        I have had a habit for years when buying a new PC. The first thing that I do is create a data partition (D:) on my hard drive. I use this to store all of my files, changing the Windows "My Document, Pictures..etc". to use the new partition.

        This does a few things. First, it makes it easy to restore an Operating System without worrying about my critical files. Second, it makes backups a breeze - just back up the partition, either on a file by file basis or by imaging the partition. Third, it makes it easy to install an SSD as a boot/app drive - just cone the old C: drive to the new drive.I am sure that readers can think of other advantages as well.
        BradWright
        MyCE Member
        Posted on: 06 Jan 12 19:39
          With Windows XP you could actually reinstall (repair) Windows without losing ANYTHING. Including installed programs. I'll never understand why that ability wasn't/won't be included with Windows 7 and 8, because it's a lifesaver.
          _chef_
          MyCE Resident
          Posted on: 07 Jan 12 11:56
            Quote:
            Originally Posted by BradWright
            With Windows XP you could actually reinstall (repair) Windows without losing ANYTHING. Including installed programs. I'll never understand why that ability wasn't/won't be included with Windows 7 and 8, because it's a lifesaver.
            Exactly!
            I wonder about data security now.....really!
            olyteddy
            Senior Moderator
            Posted on: 07 Jan 12 19:27
              Now this will all come about when the 1 Petabyte (1000 Terabyte) drives star being more popular, as the Windows restore file will soon include an image of ever hard drive you've owned and the entire content of every website you've ever visited....
              Mr. Belvedere
              MyCE Resident
              Posted on: 10 Jan 12 08:53
                How about reproviding a total system (that means also every freaking file on your internal os disk) state freeze? Would be very nice for public systems.

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