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My computer has been acting strange lately, so I want to refresh it. While I understand that things such as stuff in my Program Files folder is nuked, I want to keep some of it. Is it possible to do this without doing a backup of the things I want to keep?

When I say that my computer is "acting strange", I mean that it won't open any executables (that require administrative privileges). Additionally, when attempting to uninstall Norton Internet Security, it got stuck because the installer needed to be elevated. It's not that these applications don't open, and it's not that they don't elevate correctly too; its that the tasks are visible in Task Manager, and are not hanging, but don't show up (visual-wise). Therefore, since System Restore needs to be elevated, that is not an option. I was thinking of using the Refresh option in the metro Control Panel, but need to back up my stuff first. I know that I can do this by Creating a Backup Image, but it appears to be stuck at 10% in Creating Image. The folder created in C: is empty.

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Can you clarify what "acting strange" and "refresh" mean? You can do a system restore which will return your computer to a previous working state while leaving your documents intact. Or you can back up and do a fresh install ( I'm assuming we're talking about Windows). Other meanings of "refresh" could mean using a product such as CCLeaner ( ) to clean your temp files and registry. You can also defragment your drive but if you're using Windows 7 you shouldn't need to often. – Bryan Jan 16 '13 at 23:48
Are you talking about doing a repair install of Windows? That will keep all your programs and documents - just Windows itself is reinstalled. – ChrisN Jan 17 '13 at 0:01
Unless this is virus related, and a clean slate would be better. THen you would transfer certain files being careful not to transfer the problem to your backup and then restored on your clean system. – Logman Jan 17 '13 at 0:09
As @salaros said below, I want to refresh Windows, but am to lazy to back up my stuff. – Jeffrey Lin Jan 17 '13 at 0:32

If you click "Get started" to under the "refresh" heading, the first bullet point says "Your files and personalization settings won't change", so yes, you can keep all your stuff while refreshing Windows. It will uninstall your non-Windows Store apps, which might be what you need in this situation.

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Yes, the stuff in the 'Program Files' folder is what I want. – Jeffrey Lin Jan 17 '13 at 20:29
You can manually back it up, but the "refresh" function will wipe it out. There isn't any way around that. – K.A Jan 17 '13 at 21:34
Not if you back it up to a different drive. – Jeffrey Lin Feb 19 '13 at 18:34
up vote 0 down vote accepted

I solved it! If you move all your stuff that you want to keep to a different drive (such as D:), then Windows will not erase it with the refresh.

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