11 of 13Image
Sometimes, you just want a fresh start. With Windows, a clean install offers instant relief from the strange ailments that can befall a system where you've been messing around with poorly written desktop applications.
Windows 8 offers two quick and easy alternatives to the traditional (and tedious) full install. The first is a Reset, which restores your system to its like-new condition, wiping out all your data files and settings in the process.
The second option, Refresh your PC, is much kinder and gentler. It restores your system like a clean install, but doesn't tamper with your data, your settings, or your Metro style apps. You need to reinstall any programs you installed from downloads or disks, a process made easier by the list that appears on your desktop.
To make the process even easier, you can create a custom refresh image using the command line tool I document in Save a custom refresh point .
Stuff happens. Stuff especially happens to hardware when it's running beta software. Which is why it's a good idea to have a way to repair Things That Go Wrong.
So here's what you do.
1. Get a USB flash drive, at least 256 MB in size, and plug it into an empty port on your Windows 8 PC.
2. Press Windows key + W and type recovery drive in the search box.
3. Click or tap Create a recovery drive and follow the on-screen instructions.
Keep that drive handy. When (not if) you need it, you can boot from it to get to the options shown here;.
After I installed the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, the first thing I looked for was a way to create s system image backup. That's the best way to recover from a true disaster, like a hard drive crash.
If you search Windows 8 for backup, as I did, you might conclude that this essential feature is gone. But it's not. Oddly, though, the only way to find it is to look for Windows 7 file recovery. That search turns up the familiar sequence of dialog boxes shown here. Follow the prompts to save a system image to an external hard drive or to a network location.