Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm asking this question because I could only find non-technical, and non-specific, answers no more detailed than the options given by the OS. If you have an issue with your Windows 8 Pro machine and you want to restore it to a relatively clean slate, Microsoft provides you with two options:

a) "Restore Your PC" - Saving you the trouble of popping in a DVD, this takes the system to a new state (nothing installed on it but the base OS).

b) "Refresh Your PC" - This will save 'personal settings' but, and here's why I've posted this question, Apps you installed from discs or websites will be removed.

Now, in regards to (b): does this mean it will wipe all directories it finds that it didn't install from the Windows App Store?

Or does it mean it will go through uninstallation procedures of the various apps?

Or does it mean something else?

Why is this important? Well, this is critical from the perspective of knowing whether application data (which is what we care about) will be removed.


share|improve this question
This has been discussed before on this website. Your applications will be deleted but your user files will be saved. This means anything that isn't installed by default by Windows is removed. More information::… the reason for the downvote is for the lack of research and the fact there are 3 duplicates I found. – Ramhound Dec 3 '12 at 20:09
Great. Does any of this explain, at the directory and file level, what is preserved? "The apps you installed yourself" doesn't mean a lot - does that mean if I created a c:\foo and put stuff in there, it wipes that too? I don't know, Ramhound, there's gotta be a more technical (well, precise)explanation than the one you posted. – mattelism Dec 3 '12 at 23:50

Microsoft explained it in detail here:

Refresh functionality is fundamentally still a reinstall of Windows, just like resetting your PC as described above, but your data, settings, and Metro style apps are preserved. We have a solution to help you with your desktop apps, too, which I’ll talk about a little later.

So you must reinstall all your desktop applications.

share|improve this answer
Thanks. Does anyone know if arbitrary folders that were created, like C:\foo, would be wiped too, and also, what about Application Data? As a dumb example, Steam saved game data. As a more sophisticated example, Word Documents. Thanks. – mattelism Dec 3 '12 at 23:53
@mattelism - Application data is lost. I linked to a duplicate that explain each option in detail. Only data in user profiles are saved. – Ramhound Dec 4 '12 at 0:24

You can move some folders ( ex Steam folder ) to your My Documents folder and Win8 should not delete it while refreshing .

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

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