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Microsoft details its Windows 8 refresh and reset features

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Windows 8 refresh and reset features for Microsoft's new operating system.

Windows 8 refresh PC
Windows 8 refresh PC

Microsoft's first Windows 8 blog post of the year arrived on Wednesday. Steven Sinofsky, the company's Windows chief, detailed plans for two interesting new features of Windows 8, refresh and reset. Microsoft previously revealed both features at the BUILD conference last year but the technical deep dive provides some new insight into exactly how they work. Reset will remove all data, apps and settings from a PC, and then reinstall a fresh copy of Windows. Refresh, on the other hand, will simply reinstall Windows, but keep all data, apps and "important" settings.

Microsoft is positioning both features as an easy way for Windows 8 users to start over with a clean copy of Windows — handy if you're about to sell a laptop or just fancy a tidy up. App restore will only work with Metro style apps (Microsoft's new Windows 8 app platform), and desktop apps will need to be manually reinstalled. Microsoft claims refresh will take around eight minutes and reset around six regardless of data size, based on performance stats from the Samsung Developer Preview hardware that was handed out to attendees of BUILD. Both features are a welcome addition for less tech savvy PC owners, and might just prevent some traditional support queries.