Screenshots: The Windows 8 Reset your PC feature

When you are prompted to choose and option, select the Troubleshoot tile

This gallery is also available as a post in the Windows and Office Blog.

In a recent blog post, Refresh your Windows 8 system from a Recovery Drive, I showed you how to use Windows 8's Refresh your PC tool in order to revive a Windows 8 system that has become unstable. This allows you to start over with a fresh installation of Windows 8 while keeping all of your data and settings intact. However, Windows 8 also provides you with a tool called Reset your PC for rebuilding a Windows 8 system. Unlike its brethren, the Reset your PC tool removes all of your data and settings and then reinstalls Windows 8. The Reset your PC tool comes in handy if you really want to scrap everything and start over from scratch or if you are getting ready to decommission your PC and want to give it away.

In this edition of the Windows Desktop Report, I'll show you how to use the Reset your PC tool from the Recovery Drive. As I do, I'll explain how it works.

What you need

In order to run the Reset your PC tool as I'll describe in this article, you'll need to have created a Recovery Drive as I showed you in the article Create a Recovery Drive in Windows 8. You will also need to have your Windows 8 installation DVD.

In case you are wondering

As I mentioned in the introduction, I'm going to cover the use of the Reset your PC tool from the Recovery Drive. However, you should know that the Reset your PC tool can also be launched from within Windows. To do so, you would press [Windows]+W to bring up Search Settings and type Remove in the text box. You can then select the Remove everything and reinstall Windows command to launch the Refresh your PC tool.

Since you are going to wipe your drive anyway, I suppose that it doesn't matter how you launch the Reset your PC tool. However, for my example I'm going to show you how to run it from the Recovery Drive, which will perform a clean boot into Windows RE.

Launching Reset your PC

Running Reset your PC from the Recovery Drive is easy. While I am booting from a USB Recovery Drive you can just as easily boot the Recovery Drive from the optical disc. (As a part of my research for this article, I ran the Reset your PC operation after booting from an optical disc and the procedure is basically identical.)

After your system boots from the Recovery Drive and you are prompted to choose an option, as shown in Figure A, select the Troubleshoot tile.


Credit: Images by Greg Shultz for TechRepublic


Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.


On one screen it says "make sure your PC is plugged in." WELL DOH! How would it be on, otherwise? And will this work on the tablet devices that the damn OS is designed for, I imagine it might take all the battery power to do it and that's why it would need "plugged in?" Other than that, it also calls for recovery media. Most PC's don't ship with that, and no one ever makes their own, so this would be useless. What a joke!


First issue of Windows to admit how fragile it is. Rebuild built in. So your virus-riddled files get saved to re-infect you once you've rebuilt?


I've lost the recovery partition on an Asus ultrabook. Trying to work out how to properly reinstall Windows 8 on the combo.


After creating recovery disks on a new Windows 8 machine, my suggestion is to try running the reset. 1. make sure that it works (on my new laptop it didn't) 2. better to find out while there is nothing on the machine to lose and while it is under warranty than a year later when the warranty is done. In my case the machine had to be sent back to the manufacturer to be fixed. It took lots of calls to support and they even sent me new recovery disks. There was a hardware problem that prevented the recovery process from running.