Windows 8 – How to Refresh and Retain Desktop Applications

Windows 8 Logo

Windows 8 has two new features –  Reset and Refresh. Reset is like a factory restore – it reverts you back to a fresh Windows 8 installation without any user data or applications. Refresh retains user data, settings and Windows Store applications (but not desktop applications).

The reason that refresh does not retain desktop applications is that a refresh point is created when Windows 8 is first installed (before any desktop applications can be installed).

We can however create custom refresh points using the Administrator Command Prompt.

From the desktop press the Windows + X keys together and then select Command Prompt (Admin) from the pop-up menu.

The first thing that we want to do is create a new directory for our custom refresh point:

mkdir C:\CustomRefreshPoint

Use the following command to create a custom refresh point in the directory we just created:

recimg /createimage C:\CustomRefreshPoint

It will take quite a while for this process to complete.

Windows 8 will use the last created custom refresh point during a refresh – unless you tell it otherwise.

If you have created multiple directories that each contain a refresh point you can specify which one should be used during a refresh with the following command:

recimg /setcurrent <directory>

If you have a custom refresh point set and do not want to use it you should use this command:

recimg /deregister <directory>

If you need to check the directory of the current custom refresh point use this command:

recimg /showcurrent

A refresh can be initiated as follows – from the start screen open the charms menu by pressing the Windows + C keys together. Click on the Settings icon and then click Change PC Settings at the bottom right of the screen.

Change PC Settings

On the PC settings window click General and then click Get started under Refresh your PC without affecting your files and then follow the prompts.

Refresh your PC


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