Windows 8 is a solid operating system. There is no doubt about it! Microsoft has really done a great job in virtually every aspect – be it design, stability or features. They even put a great amount of effort in improving the ‘Blue screen of death’. “Wait, even the mighty Windows 8 crashes with the blue screen of death?” – You ask me! Yes, it does – just with a pretty and looking message. Windows Refresh feature for the rescue!
While most of such issues can be solved by a bit of Googling and troubleshooting, it is not always the case. Sometimes, Windows just gets so much messed up that you feel that clean new install of the operating system is a way easier option than searching throughout the system to hunt the cause trouble down.
Until recently (i.e., till Windows 7) your only option was to format the partition and reinstall Windows, followed by installation of drivers and your favorite apps. Net result: frustration, a lot of frustration. Not anymore! Windows 8 provides some easy to use and painless alternatives to clean install. It is called ‘Windows 8 Refresh PC’.
This feature refreshes your PC without deleting any music, videos or documents. If your PC is giving lots of blue screen errors, this feature comes handy. While it will remove any apps you downloaded from anywhere other than Windows Store, (Well, that’s the point of refresh!) it will preserve your Windows Store apps. Also, it will save a list of removed apps on your desktop. So, when your PC is refreshed, you can check the list and download your apps again. Let’s get started!
Option to refresh the PC can be found under PC settings. Move your mouse pointer to right bottom of the screen (or swipe from left edge if you have a touchscreen) to open Windows Charms menu. Click on the settings charm and click on ‘Change PC Settings’ at bottom. This will take you to the PC Settings. Select ‘General’ on left pane and scroll down the right pane. There you will have the option to refresh your PC. Click on ‘Get started’ button and refresh process would start. You might be asked to insert Windows 8 install DVD (USB pen drive works too) if some files are needed. Just follow on screen instructions and you’re done.
After the refresh has been completed, you will have a PC as fresh as new. We still have a bit of housekeeping to do. First of all, check if any drivers are missing. Go to ‘Device Manager’ (just type ‘device manager’ on the start screen) and check if you see any question marks or exclamation marks. These marks mean that the drivers are missing. To install drivers, right click on an item with such a mark and click ‘Update Drive Software’. Windows will try to find the appropriate software for that device. If Windows fails to find drivers, check the device manufacturer’s website for drivers. If you don’t know the manufacturer, try to install the drivers from the driver DVD which came with your computer.
Now that drivers are done, we need to get back out apps. On the desktop, you will find a file called ‘Removed Apps’. This file contains the list of all the apps which were lost during Windows refresh. Go ahead and install the apps you need. It’s a good habit to keep number of apps to minimum. If you do not need an app, just don’t install it. It helps your computer keep itself clean and fast.
Got any other cool Windows features to share? Let us know via comments.