There’s nothing worse than installing applications or getting viruses that force you to install your Windows operating system again.
Since Windows first rose to popularity with Windows 95, Microsoft, and its hardware partners like Dell, have received complaints from users for not making it easy for users to fix their computers should the need arise. Even in Windows 7, trying to recover or fix an installation involved a convoluted tree of different steps. Users running Windows 7 or earlier needed to back up their files, then either insert the Windows installation media that came installed on the device, or hope that their device came with a software restore option.
Now with Windows 8 users can delete their entire Windows installation and files to start over from scratch. It can also save their files but delete their Windows 8 installation and re-install it.
Here’s how to use the automated tools in Windows 8 to restore your Windows device to its factory state, and still keep your files should you prefer not to back up to a flash drive or hard drive.
Go to the Start Screen by pressing the Windows Key or by clicking the Start Hot Corner on the bottom left corner of your screen. You can also open the Start Screen by clicking the Windows Charm in the Charms Bar.
The Charms Bar is a group of symbols on the right side of the screen that always do the same function, no matter what app you are in.
Once in the Start Screen, click or touch the Settings Charm. Access the Charms Bar by swiping from the right on touchscreens or using the Charms Hot Corner on the top right corner of your display.
The Settings Menu will appear on the right hand side of the screen. Click on the ‘Change PC Settings’ button at the bottom of the settings menu. This will immediately take you to the PC settings application.
Now that you are in the settings menu, click on the menu ‘General’ menu button. The button is six menus down from the top of the screen on the left.
Reset Windows 8 to Factory Settings
If you would like to Reset Windows 8 and delete everything from the device in the General settings menu, look for the heading ‘remove everything and re-install Windows’. Once you are sure that you’ve already backed up all the things on your Windows 8 device that are important to you, click “Get Started” to begin the automated process.
Refresh Windows 8 to Get Rid of Troublesome Apps and Viruses
If you would like to keep the pictures, documents and music that are on the machine but re-install Windows, look for the heading ‘refresh your PC without affecting your files’. Click “Get Started”.
Depending on whether you’ve chosen to keep your files or not, this process can take a bit of time but it’s worth it. Once it’s done, your installation of Windows 8 will run the way it on day one.