Problems in a Windows 8 computer can crop up with no prior warnings. While some issues can be fixed with a reboot, others recur and interfere with the functionality of your machine. If you are constantly experiencing issues on your PC, it is time that you start exploring the inbuilt system restore options in Windows 8.
The system restore tools in Windows 8 are a bit different compared to the previous Windows editions. Each of the major recovery tools in Windows 8 which include System Restore along with Refresh and Reset programs, operates differently and is used in specific scenarios. Here’s how these Windows 8 system restore options work. Let’s get to it.
Windows System Restore
System Restore is an inbuilt Windows utility that can revert your computer to a previous point in time. Ideally, this time is when the device was in its perfect working condition. This recovery program can create restore points at periodic intervals which are snapshots of your system files and settings, Windows Registry keys, and driver configuration taken at different times. When the device fails to perform as expected, you can revert it back to a Windows 8 restore point already created on your system and thereby, undo the recent changes that led to the problem. You can try running Windows System Restore if the latest system update or driver/software installation or change in system settings has made your computer unstable.
Remember that reverting to an earlier Windows 8 restore point will automatically delete apps that were installed after that point and restore those which were a part of the selected snapshot. However, the execution of Windows System Restore will not affect your personal files and documents.
Steps to Execute System Restore on Windows 8 Computer
- Go to the Charms Bar on your Windows 8 computer and type ‘Control Panel’ over the search box. When the control panel icon appears in the search result, select it.
- The Control Panel applet will open up on the screen. Locate and click the ‘System and Security’ button.
Note: You will not be able to see the ‘System and Security’ option if the screen view of your Control Panel is preset to display either large icons or small icons. In that case, you can click the System button and begin with step 4.
- On the System and Security windows, click on the ‘System’ button.
- Over the next window, you will find the ‘System Protection’ tab on the upper left side. Select it to go ahead.
- A new window called ‘System Properties’ will appear on the screen. Click the ‘System Protection’ tab.
- On the ‘System Protection’ section that is now open, locate and tap on the ‘System Restore’ button on the upper right side.
- This will take you to the System Restore Wizard window with the heading ‘Restore system file and settings.’ Click or tap on the ‘Next >’ button to proceed.
Note: If you have performed System Restore before on your system, you might see two different options on the welcome screen of the Wizard- ‘Choose a different restore point’ and ‘Undo system restore.’ Opt for the different restore point option if you don’t want to undo the restore.
- On the next window, you will find an exhaustive list of all the manually and automatically created restore points. Select one Restore Point of your choice and click the ‘Next >’ button.
- A confirmation window will appear on screen with all the details of the restore point chosen by you. Once you have finished reviewing it, click the ‘Finish’ button.
- Select ‘Yes’ on the next window that says ‘Once started, System Restore cannot be interrupted. Do you want to continue?’ This will initiate the restoration procedure. Note: It might take 10-30 minutes to restore your Windows 8 computer to the chosen point.
- Once the process is complete, the system will boot normally. When you log in to the Windows, you will get an alert that the restoration was performed successfully. Click ‘OK’ to exit the window.
The Refresh Feature in Windows 8
The Refresh program in Windows 8 can revert your computer settings back to their defaults without affecting your personal files and saved settings. If your computer has become sluggish with constant use, opting for the Refresh functionality can help you regain its speed and stability. However, it will delete all the applications that you have downloaded from third-party sources but will retain those installed from the Windows store.
How to Refresh any Windows 8 Computer
- Open the Windows 8 Charms Bar and select ‘Settings’ from the menu list.
- Select the ‘Change PC Settings’ button which is located at the bottom of the Settings pane.
- This will take you to the PC settings screen. At the left edge of the screen, you will see the ‘General’ button. Click on it.
- Start scrolling down the ‘General’ section of the PC settings till you find a title on the right-hand side which says ‘Refresh Your PC Without Affecting Your Files.’ Click the ‘Get Started’ button right below that heading.
- A pop-up window will appear with the details of what is likely to happen if you choose to refresh your PC. Click the ‘Next’ button to initiate the process. Note: If Windows find any important system files to be missing, it will ask you to insert the disc/flash drive you used to install Windows 8 on your computer. Inserting the required disc and clicking the ‘Refresh’ button will start the process.
- Windows might take up to an hour to complete refreshing your PC. The system might automatically restart a few times during the process. Once it finally wakes up, you should see it in a refreshed state with a list on your desktop which will have the list of all removed apps.
The Reset Feature in Windows 8
On the surface level, the Refresh and Reset programs seem to have the same functionality. However, there is a big difference. Running the Reset option will restore your Windows 8 computer to its factory default configuration. However, it will also delete all your personalized files and settings along with the apps that you did not download from the Windows Store. Thus, it will wipe your system clean and reset your PC to factory default. The Reset functionality can be quite helpful if your computer has any severe virus/malware infection or if the issue persists even after trying out the system restore and refresh options.
How to Reset Any Windows 8 Computer
- Go to the Charms bar and select ‘Settings’ from the menu items.
- Select ‘Change PC Settings’ at the bottom of the Settings pane. When the PC Settings screen opens, locate and select the ‘General’ section on the left.
- Scroll down the list of items in the General PC Settings section to find a heading that says ‘Remove everything and reinstall Windows.’ Click the ‘Get started’ button right below that heading to proceed.
- The ‘Reset Your PC’ screen will appear. Click on the ‘Next’ button to continue.
Note: Windows might ask for the recovery media you used at first to install Windows 8 on your computer. When the right media is inserted, you will be automatically redirected to the next window.
- On the next window, you will be provided with two options – quickly or thoroughly remove your files. We recommend using remove your files thoroughly. Click ‘Next.’
- A window will open with the statement that Windows is ready to reset your PC. Click the ‘Reset’ button to start the process.
- Resetting your computer might take up to an hour. Wait till the computer automatically restarts.
What is Reboot to Restore Technology?
Reboot to restore technology works on a simple-yet-powerful system restoration mechanism that restores systems to their original configuration on reboot. When enabled, reboot to restore software solution allows for the selection of the desired baseline configuration and preserves it. When the Windows machine is restarted, it rolls back the system to that predefined baseline and eliminates all user-induced changes and inputs. The reboot to restore capabilities of such solution can thus provide instant and guaranteed Windows system recovery after every restart.