Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

enter image description here

In Windows 8 I can reset everything and reinstall Windows. I assume this will clear my drive and start from scratch? Is that right? Does this create a Windows.old folder?

I see this dialog, but aren't my settings and preferences saved in the cloud? If I screw up my settings and reset like this, are my settings also refreshed back to defaults?

Since I use SkyDrive to sync my files, my personal files are safe, right?

enter image description here

Also, in Windows 8 I can refresh my PC without affecting files. Are my desktop and/or Windows store apps uninstalled when I refresh my PC?

I see this dialog, but I still am not sure. For example, when it says apps are "kept" does that mean I don't have to buy them again or are they installed after the refresh is over for me? I assume "from disk" means desktop apps? Or maybe corp apps?

enter image description here

What would motivate a user to choose between these two?

share|improve this question
1  
"All your personal files and apps will be removed" should say "All your personal files and apps will be DELETED FOREVER, Backup before Resetting your PC!" "removed" is the wrong word. I can see this in the forums in the next few months, "where are my files after I did a reset? blah blah blah, whaaaaaa. –  Moab Oct 25 '12 at 22:46
    
Hehe; okay, let's say "nuked"! –  Jerry Nixon Oct 30 '12 at 23:05
1  
Jerry Nixon: Perfect example –  Moab Nov 4 '12 at 1:32
add comment

2 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

When you remove everything and reinstall

  • The PC boots into the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE).
  • Windows RE erases and formats the hard drive partitions on which Windows and personal data reside.
  • Windows RE installs a fresh copy of Windows.
  • The PC restarts into the newly installed copy of Windows.

When you reinstall for fixing problems

  • The PC boots into Windows RE.
  • Windows RE scans the hard drive for your data, settings, and apps, and puts them aside (on the same drive).
  • Windows RE installs a fresh copy of Windows.
  • Windows RE restores the data, settings, and apps it has set aside into the newly installed copy of Windows.
  • The PC restarts into the newly installed copy of Windows.

Please note that you will loose the following settings

  1. File type associations
  2. Display settings
  3. Windows Firewall settings
  4. Your apps

What you choose depends upon the problem you face, if windows fails to boot up, then you can use refresh with fix, if you simply want every damn thing to be removed, use the former.

Also, your personal files will be safe on the cloud.

From the msdn blog.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Is your question really "should I trust these procedures without using a backup"? The answer is no, not if your files are not easily replaceable. If you don't have a backup, maybe you can at least use the Windows Migration tool to backup your current user settings and installed programs. User State Migration Tool (USMT) Overview

share|improve this answer
add comment

protected by Community Oct 20 '13 at 22:53

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.