If you're having problems with your PC, you can try to refresh, reset, or restore it. Refreshing your PC reinstalls Windows and keeps your personal files and settings. It also keeps the apps that came with your PC and the apps you installed from the Windows Store. Resetting your PC reinstalls Windows but deletes your files, settings, and apps—except for the apps that came with your PC. Restoring your PC is a way to undo recent system changes you've made.
If you're having trouble starting (booting) your PC, see Windows Startup Settings (including safe mode). You can refresh, reset, or restore your PC from the Windows Recovery Environment.
If you want to back up and restore your personal files using File History, see Set up a drive for File History.
If you upgraded your PC from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 and your PC has a Windows 8 recovery partition, refreshing your PC will restore Windows 8. You’ll need to upgrade to Windows 8.1 after the refresh has finished.
Apps you installed from websites and DVDs will be removed. Apps that came with your PC and apps you installed from the Windows Store will be reinstalled. Windows puts a list of removed apps on your desktop after refreshing your PC.
If you upgraded your PC from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 and your PC has a Windows 8 recovery partition, resetting your PC will restore Windows 8. You’ll need to upgrade to Windows 8.1 after the reset has finished.
All of your personal files will be deleted and your settings will be reset. All apps that you installed will be removed. Only apps that came with your PC will be reinstalled.
You'll be asked to choose whether you want to erase data quickly or thoroughly. If you choose to erase data quickly, some data might be recoverable using special software. If you choose to erase data thoroughly, this will take longer but it makes recovering data less likely.
System Restore isn't available for Windows RT 8.1.
Windows automatically creates a restore point when you install desktop apps and new Windows updates, if the last restore point is older than 7 days. You can also create a restore point manually at any time.
Article ID: 17085 - Last Review: May 11, 2016 - Revision: 27