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Possible Duplicate:
What do Windows 8 Refresh and Reset my PC really do?

I have heard about the new Windows 8 feature, the option to "refresh your PC."

Apparently, it lets you in essence reinstall Windows while keeping your applications. I was wondering how does that actually work? How can it do a clean install yet keep your applications installed? Wouldn't it need to have all the original setup.exe's etc. to reinstall your apps after it reinstalls Windows?

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marked as duplicate by Moab, soandos, 8088, avirk, Diogo Nov 5 '12 at 11:28

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Your apps are "archived" and kept in the Windows.old folder but they do not stay installed: – Vian Esterhuizen Nov 5 '12 at 2:18
Also, any softwares that were installed will not be restored. It's only the apps and system settings that will be maintained. – Jay Nov 5 '12 at 2:19
up vote 4 down vote accepted

When you use the Refresh feature, Windows is still technically starting over with a fresh install of the operating system. The main difference is that the Refresh process automatically sets aside your data, Windows settings, and Metro apps, then puts them back where they belong once the OS is reinstalled. The result is a clean slate for your OS, but with your configuration settings and data intact.

From MSDN Blog

Refreshing your PC goes like this:

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