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The intention of the Windows 8 RTM (released version) Refresh feature is to restore the system to the way it was when I first installed.

It didn't though. Almost everything that came in the start-screen (not a menu any more) is gone, not just third party apps I installed, but EVERYTHING other than the icon for internet explorer, and the icon for the store, and the desktop, were wiped.

Out of the box Windows 8 had a pretty large list of things installed, and it seems that the Refresh feature wipes all of them out. Is it possible to really get the system back to a fresh install state, or should I just re-install from the DVD I made? (I have access to Windows 8 RTM, legally through the MS Action Pack subscription.)

I suspect that if I create a new account, I might get a new desktop with a default set of icons, but I'm hoping it might be possible to do this without using a different login.

The second problem with Windows 8 refresh is it seems to trash the ACL's on my C: drive, taking all permissions away for access to the C: drive, making nothing on it visible or readable to my primary and only login account. I believe it might be possible to undo the damage done by the "refresh" with some judicious use of icacls from the command prompt.

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It also seems that the Windows store, while the icon remains, will not launch. I believe that the Windows 8 Refresh feature has torched the system completely. – Warren P Sep 27 '12 at 3:13
Awesome feature Microsoft! Might be Windows 8 is another Vista, not really ready for the public but being released anyway? – Moab Sep 27 '12 at 15:54
It turns out that critical windows store files from C:\Program Files are relocated to c:\Windows.old by the Refresh feature. Definitely not fully baked yet, and this is the real RTM, not a preview or pre-release build. – Warren P Sep 27 '12 at 18:22
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I guess you could try to reset instead of refresh to get back to the original state of the PC. Do make a good backup though as this erases everything.

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In the end, this is the same as saying "no" since Reset and Reinstall have the same result, which is a working Windows 8 installation but zero user data. nevertheless, No appears to be the only possible answer at this time, and this question may become Moot if Microsoft ever chooses to repair their repair features. +1 – Warren P Oct 26 '12 at 12:55
Sorry dude, at least reseting is quick... I think it makes a windows.old folder but don't try that out because I really don't know! – cmplieger Oct 26 '12 at 22:18

I think the only way to fix it is to find a copy of your registry and restore that, and all should be good.

I think Windows 8 must have made one before it wiped out the system, as I said above it made copies of everything else so why not the registry too. You may have to rename windows.old to windows and replace it.

But make sure you do a backup first to avoid going deeper in the rabbit hole.

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