System Restore functionality in Windows 8 - How it works

by Carla S. Marketing Manager

Refresh, Reset, and Restore are the inbuilt system restoration programs in Windows 8 for resolving various issues. It is important to understand how Windows 8 restoration functionalities work and how are they different than the instant restoration software solutions leveraging the Reboot to Restore technology.

Prolonged system downtime or performance issues can cause a ripple effect throughout an organization. The IT administrators responsible for maintaining multi-user computing environments face the challenge of troubleshooting system issues quickly to minimize downtime. System restoration is by far the most efficient way of maintaining a stable computer configuration. The technique involves reverting the system configuration to a previous stable state in order to resolve the issues that arose after it.

Windows offers inbuilt programs for redressal of various system issues. In this regard, the system restoration tools of Windows 8 need to be particularly mentioned as this version of Windows introduced a few new options.

Various System Restore options in Windows 8

Windows 8 offers three main system recovery options - Refresh, Reset and Restore. While they may sound very similar, there is a considerable difference in their functionality and application. Understanding what happens when one of these programs is executed is necessary to avoid any unexpected or undesirable outcome.


When the Refresh functionality is executed, the program re-installs Windows. As a result, the cause of system malfunction is eradicated and the clean state of the operating system is restored. The advantage of using the Refresh option in Windows 8 is that it does not delete the user’s personal files, the applications they installed from Windows Store, and the applications pre-installed by the manufacturer. It does not change the user-defined settings either. That is why Refresh program should be executed first to resolve system issues since it addresses the problem while retaining users’ personal files and customizations.

It must be noted that the Refresh program re-installs the Windows 8 version that was originally shipped with the device. So, if the system was upgraded from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1, then Refresh functionality will revert it to Windows 8. Users will have to upgrade to Windows 8.1 again. Also, applications installed from third-party websites or external disks and drives are also permanently removed. However, the Refresh program creates a list of the deleted applications and saves it on the Desktop for users’ reference.


As the term clearly indicates, the Reset program reverts the system back to factory defaults. It deletes all the user-generated applications, files, and settings and re-installs the operating system. Only the pre-installed applications with which the device was shipped are retained. Like Windows 8 Refresh functionality, the Reset tool also re-installs the original Windows version. So if the device was running on Windows 8.1 at the time when Reset was executed,  users or IT administrators have to upgrade it manually from Windows 8.

The Reset program asks users whether they want to perform a quick reset or a thorough one. The former option does delete all data but it can be recovered with the help of a sophisticated data recovery software. It is, therefore, not the suitable choice for multi-user computers that are not constantly monitored. Also, it is not the appropriate option if the device is to be resold or permanently handed to another organization or user. On the other hand, performing a thorough Reset takes a long time but ensures that all data is totally wiped clean from the disk without any trace. However, it necessitates regular data backup on an external drive.


The Restore program is completely different from Reset and Refresh. Windows System Restore rolls-back the system to an older configuration that was not affected by the current issue. If the problem occurred after the installation of an application or a driver, or due to a change in the system settings, then this is the suitable option to restore Windows 8 back to the functional state.

Windows System Restore keeps saving system files and settings at regular intervals and also when there is a modification in the configuration. These saved instances of system state are called Restore Points and can also be created manually. When Windows System Restore is executed, it reverts the system to the selected Restore Point. As a result, all the applications that were installed after the selected Restore Point are removed. Similarly, the applications that were uninstalled after the chosen Restore Point are reinstalled.

The advantage in Windows System Restore is that it does not have any effect on the personal files of the user stored on the system. The program rolls-back only the system configuration to the desired Restore Point, leaving user data intact.

Steps to create a Windows 8 Restore Point manually

1. Type ‘System Restore’ on the Start screen search bar.

2. Locate ‘Settings’ option and click on it. The search bar will list all the settings with ‘System Restore’ in the phrase.

3. Click ‘Create a Restore Point’ link that appears.

4. ‘System Properties’ window will appear with ‘System Protection’ tab already open.

5. Click ‘Create’ button.

6. ‘System Protection’ window opens up. Enter a name for Restore Point and click on ‘Create’ to save the desired restore point.

Windows will now save the current configuration as a Restore Point as named by the user or the IT admin for future reference.

Steps to perform a System Restore in Windows 8

Windows 8 has an intuitive System Restore wizard that easily guides users to execute the program. Following are the steps to access the Windows System Restore panel:

1. Type ‘Control Panel’ in the Start screen search box. Click the ‘Control Panel’ option as it appears. Locate and click on the ‘System’ link in Control Panel.

2. When the System window opens, locate and select the ‘System Protection’ button. The following window will contain the Windows System Restore button on the bottom right side. Select it to proceed further.

3. The window pertaining to System Restore will appear that contains intuitive instructions to help users execute the program. You will see two buttons here: ‘Recommended Restore’ and ‘Choose a Different Restore Point.’ If you want to browse and select a restore point of your choice, go for the second option.

4. The next windows will show all the restore points. Select the desired one and click the ‘Next’ button to proceed.

5. Another window will appear on screen with the details of the restore point (which drivers and programs will be affected) you have chosen. After reviewing, click ‘Finish’.

6. Click ‘Yes’ on the confirmation window that opens next which will initiate the restoration process.

7. After the process is complete, the Windows will boot normally. Login to your Windows.

8. One message will appear on screen stating that the System Restore was performed successfully. Click the ‘OK’ button to exit the Window.

The Reboot to Restore Technology and Its Advantages Over Windows 8 System Restore Options

The effectiveness of the Refresh, Reset, and Restore tools in Windows 8 cannot be undermined. However, the limitations of these programs are equally evident. For instance, none of these measures resolve the issue instantly. The process is quite complex and may take up anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours to complete depending upon which program has been executed. Besides, they require manual intervention from IT team to address each issue which leads to piling up of IT service tickets.

Consequently, the Reboot to Restore technology has become the preferred solution for maintaining systems in multi-user computing environments. It provides unbreachable protection for configuration integrity, preventing all kinds of malicious or unauthorized elements from affecting the system. If a device encounters an issue, the Reboot to Restore technology can instantly revert it back to the admin-defined configuration.

All the data generated during a user session is stored temporarily and is completely discarded when the device is restarted. As a result, cookies, extensions, and any type of malware that creeps in during online activities are totally removed from the system with just a press of the restart button. Similarly, any type of file brought into the system by means of external drives or downloaded are also wiped clean on a restart and the admin-defined clean state is restored.

The ease of use offered by Reboot to Restore technology empowers end-users to resolve system issues by simply rebooting the device. This ensures maximum system availability and increases the user productivity to a considerable extent. It also reduces the IT team’s burden significantly, enabling them to manage even larger computer networks efficiently.

The robust yet simple functionality of the Reboot to Restore technology gives it an edge over the Windows 8 system restore programs. Its compatibility with both Windows and macOS makes the technology even more feasible, preventing organizations from investing in multiple products. It is due to these advantages that Reboot to Restore software like Deep Freeze have been among the most preferred instant restoration solutions trusted by numerous global organizations across various industries.

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About Carla S. Advanced   Marketing Manager

41 connections, 2 recommendations, 110 honor points.
Joined APSense since, October 26th, 2017, From Dallas, United States.

Created on Aug 17th 2018 07:38. Viewed 375 times.


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