Microsoft set out to explain the new ‘refresh and reset’ options of the upcoming Windows 8, offering the ability to reset back to a "good state" or the "factory state" when decommissioning or passing on a PC.
Describing the plans in a new post on the Building Windows 8 blog, Microsoft described how the "Reset your PC" version would remove all personal data, apps and settings while also reinstalling Windows 8.
A less nuclear option is the so-called "Refresh your PC" option which will retain personal data, OS/PC settings and Metro-style apps while also reinstalling Windows 8. It would seem that Microsoft will also remove traditional native Windows apps and not reinstall them.
"We do this for two reasons. First, in many cases there is a single desktop app that is causing the problems that lead to a need to perform this sort of maintenance, but identifying this root cause is not usually possible," wrote Windows team program manager Desmond Lee.
"And second, we do not want to inadvertently reinstall ‘bad’ apps that were installed unintentionally or that hitched a ride on something good but left no trace of how they were installed," Lee added.
The functionality can be accessed either from within Windows 8 or via Windows RE, the new recovery tool which is accessible prior to Windows loading. If even this fails to start, there’s also a tool to create a bootable USB flash drive which can be used to run the Windows RE tool.
Microsoft also talked up the speed that Windows 8 manages to accomplish the refresh and reset options with a refresh taking a little over eight minutes and a ‘quick’ reset taking just six minutes on the Samsung developer preview laptop.
There’s also a video at the end of the blog post.