Microsoft has introduced two interesting and very useful features in Windows 8. Refresh PC and Reset PC are the two new features that help you fix all Windows issues by refreshing settings or resetting everything. These features allow you to set your Windows 8 settings to their defaults, or reset Windows 8 to factory settings (original settings) by deleting data and installed apps.
If you are not familiar with these features, Refresh PC lets you restore all Windows settings to their defaults without deleting your documents, music and other files, and Reset PC reinstalls Windows and wipes out everything, including your files.
The only catch is that you may be asked to insert Windows installation or recovery media during Reset PC or Refresh PC operation. When you launch Reset or Refresh PC function, you may get “Insert media: Some files are missing. Your Windows installation or recovery media will provide these files” message.
Though most of us have the Windows 8 installation media, it’s always a good idea to make necessary changes to the default settings so that you can Reset Windows 8 without inserting the installation or recovery media.
Users who would like to perform Reset PC operation without using the bootable media can follow the given below instructions. Thanks, Alex.
Reset or refresh Windows 8 without DVD/USB
How to prepare your Windows 8 to start Reset PC operation without the installation media.
Step 1: You first need to create a folder named Win8 in the root of Windows 8 drive. That is, if your Windows 8 drive is “C”, then you need to create the folder under “C” drive.
Step 2: Now, insert your Windows 8 installation media, browse to the Source folder and then copy install.wim file to the previously created Win8 folder in your Windows 8 drive.
NOTE: If you have Windows 8 ISO file, simply right-click on the file and then select Mount option. You can then browse to the Source folder to copy the install.wim file.
Step 3: Launch elevated prompt. To do this, type CMD in Start screen and then simultaneously press Ctrl + Alt + Del keys to launch Command Prompt with admin rights. Refer to our how to run a program with admin rights for additional information.
Step 4: In the elevated prompt, execute the following command:
reagentc.exe /setosimage /path C:\Win8 /target c:\Windows /Index 1
Step 5: Close the Command Prompt. That’s it! Follow the instructions given below to start Reset PC or Refresh PC operation.
How to Reset or Refresh Windows 8 PC without the installation media.
Step 1: Launch Metro Control Panel or PC settings. To do this, you can simultaneously press Windows + I keys followed by Enter key.
Step 2: Here, in the left pane, click on General to see Reset your PC and Refresh your PC options. Click on Get Started button under Reset your PC or Refresh your PC. You won’t be asked to insert the installation or recovery media message this time around. You can follow our how to use Reset PC feature in Windows 8 guide for step-by-step procedure to Reset Windows 8 PC.
Prepare your PC to perform Refresh PC operation without installation media.
This procedure involves creating a custom Windows image to Refresh your PC. That is, we are going to create a system image backup of your current state of Windows, including installed apps and custom settings, so that this custom image can be used for Refresh PC operation.
Step 1: Create a folder named Win8Image anywhere on your HDD where you want to save the custom image. Make sure that the drive has enough free space before proceeding to the next step. The space required to save the image depends on all the applications and other files in the Windows drive.
Or, you can create the folder from the command line by entering mkdir D:\Win8Image command.
Step 2: Open Command Prompt as administrator and execute the following command:
recimg –CreateImage D:\Win8Image
D:\Win8Image refers to the location that has previously been created to save the image file.
That’s it! You can now visit PC settings (Metro Control Panel) to start Refresh PC operation. When you perform Refresh PC operation this newly created image will be used as a base image and will be used for the task.