Resetting Windows 8 – it’s this easy

It’s unavoidable, operating systems do slow down over time. There are many reasons for this, for example, installed programs and tools can affect a computer’s general performance after a while. Or perhaps you’d like to sell your computer and delete your personal files and data from the system before passing on the machine. In both cases, it can make sense to reset Windows 8.

There are two ways of doing this: you can factory-reset Windows 8, or perform a partial reset in which case pre-existing files are kept. In this article, we’ll show you how to do both. We will also explain how to download an ISO file for the reset and how you can create an installation disk with it.

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Partial or complete reset: what’s the best option for me?

First, consider what you’d like to achieve by resetting your computer. If you just want it to run more quickly, then a simple reset will suffice. Performing a “refresh” will set up the system anew, but all your files and settings are maintained. However, all the programs and apps from the Microsoft Store that came pre-installed on the PC will be reinstalled.

If you want to sell or give away your computer, though, you should opt for a full reinstall of Windows 8 so that none of your personal data is left on it. With this option, all programs will be deleted and all factory settings will be reset. Windows will then be reinstalled. However, bear in mind that doing so will delete all your data on the PC.

Once you have decided on the right option for you, you can get started with the reset. In the following section, we’ll guide you through a reset step-by-step.

Instructions for resetting Windows 8 without losing your data

  1. In desktop mode, press the key combination ‘Windows’ key + ‘i’ and then select the option “Change PC Settings” from the menu on the left-hand side.
  2. Click on “Update & Recovery” and then on “Recovery”.
  3. Now select the option “Refresh your PC without affecting your files” by clicking on the button “Get started”. The system will now first check whether there are any programs that can’t be restored. They will be shown on the desktop after the refresh.
  4. If the notification for missing files appears, insert the disk for the Windows installation.
  5. Follow the instructions on the screen.

If you have previously updated your PC from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 and your PC has a Windows 8 recovery partition, the original Windows 8 version will be restored. You will have to perform an upgrade to Windows 8.1 after the reset. The same applies to Windows upgrades from earlier versions. If you reset Windows 7, the original version will also be restored. Possible upgrades must be installed manually afterward.

Create a data carrier to reset Windows 8

If you don’t have an installation CD for Windows 8, you will have to create your own installation medium. To do this you will need the installation file for Windows 8 and the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool that, though its name appears to suggest otherwise, also works for Windows 8.

The installation file is an ISO file that functions as a copy of the operating system and contains all files relevant for the installation. You need to load this ISO file onto your PC and create a bootable USB stick or a DVD from it. You can then use this boot medium to reset Windows 8. Here’s how to do this:

  1. First, ensure that your internet connection is stable and that you have free storage space with at least four gigabytes of capacity available.
  2. Go to the Microsoft download website.
  3. Scroll down to the section “Select edition” and select your edition from the pop-up menu. Then, hit “Confirm”.
  4. The section “Select the product language” will become visible. Select your language from the pop-up menu and click “Confirm” again.
  5. The website has now created two links, valid for 24 hours, to download your ISO file. Select the right version (32-bit or 64-bit) and download the file.

Next, you need the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool in order to create a bootable data carrier.

  1. Download the tool from Microsoft. Select the language “English” and click on “Download”. From the list, select the file “Windows-7-USB-DVD-Download-Tool-Installer-en-US.exe”, click “Next” and save the file on your computer.
  2. Open the file to install the tool. To do this, simply follow the instructions in the installation manager.

You now have everything you need to create an installation/recovery medium for Windows 8.

  1. Open the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool.
  2. Select the ISO file you downloaded earlier and click on “Next”.
  3. Select the medium where you would like to save the file by clicking on “USB device” or “DVD".
  4. Connect the USB stick or insert the DVD and click “Begin copying”.
  5. The data carrier will now be formatted and prepared for installation.

You now have an installation medium that you can use to reset Windows 8 as described in the section “Instructions to reset Windows 8 without losing your data”.

Factory reset Windows 8

  1. The first step is to open the system settings using the Windows shortcut ‘Windows’ key + ‘i’.
  2. From there, select “Change PC settings”.
  3. Click on “Update & Recovery” and then on “Recovery”.
  4. Then select “Get started” under the heading “Remove everything and reinstall Windows”.
  5. The operating system will now be automatically reset to its factory settings. All of your data will be lost in the process.
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