With the introduction of two amazing new features in Windows 8, Microsoft has virtually made reinstalling obsolete.Literally with just the push of a button, well, of a Metro option in the revamped Control Panel, and no effort at all from users, Windows 8 can either be Refreshed or Reset entirely.
The two are different, and customers should not think of the old refresh option that came with the contextual menu when right clicking the desktop.
Refresh is about stripping down all changes that users introduced to Windows 8 in terms of settings, save for their personalization options. In this regard, Windows 8 Refresh can be thought of as a basic Reset.
“Your files and personalization will not change. Your PC settings will be restored to all their defaults, and all of your Metro style apps will be kept, and all the other apps like malware and extra toolbars will be removed,” explained Steven Sinofsky, president, Windows and Windows Live Division.
What’s exceptionally empowering about both Reset and Refresh in Windows 8 is that even end users with only the most basic of IT skills will be able to repair their computer from even a major failure.
Reset allows the Windows 8 slate to be wiped clean and gets the OS to the moment after it was initially deployed.
“Your personal files and apps will be removed, and your PC settings are restored to their defaults. It's just like your out-of-box experience,” the Windows boss added.
Developers present in the hall where Sinofsky delivered the opening keynote address for BUILD cheered and applauded when he revealed that Microsoft would allow them to actually control this process.
“Now, you probably immediately went, wait a minute, I do the clean install, and then I install more than Metro style apps. I'm going to install Visual Studio, I've got a bunch of tools. Well, it turns out what we've done to enable folks like you is, there's a super simple command line tool. You get everything set up, you run the command line tool, and that baseline becomes your refresh image. So, it's super easy,” Sinofsky said.
What this means is that more advanced users will have the tools necessary for them to control the level of customization and the moment in time where Windows 8 will return after a Reset.
They can always let the OS go back to the original state, but they can also personalize it with tools, apps, configure settings etc. and only return to a state they created and control.
Microsoft even provides the option to Reset Windows 8 from a USB key, which means that customers will have the option to save their custom image of the operating system to a thumb drive or an external drive.
What’s critical to underline is that both Reset and Refresh are extremely fast, with both processes completed in just a few minutes. Certainly a lot faster than the speed at which Windows 8 can be installed.
Windows 8 Developer Preview Build 8102 Milestone 3 (M3) is available for download here.