OK, when you use preview software, particularly an OS, you have to expect some bits will not work correctly.
In my case I was upgrading from the first preview to the Release preview and it went a bit wrong (see previous post); as a general rule when I install a new OS I take the opportunity to do a complete wipe and start from a clean computer but I was a bit loath to do this with my laptop as it has an awful lot of programs I use regularly and I didn’t want to go through the process of re-installation. Doing a new install will always make the machine run better so, since I had to re-install all my programs anyway I decided to take the plunge.
Now Windows 8 has a few new features to make life easier (or harder depending on your viewpoint) for the IT literate who end up supporting the family. One such feature is the ability to reset your PC to factory settings; whilst not strictly new it is a lot easier to find and use. The rest of this post comes with a ‘DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME’ and make sure you have a copy of any data you do not want to lose warning.
As you can see on the screenshot there are two options; the first just refreshes the PC keeping all your files, whilst the second goes the whole hog and deletes everything. Now I could have just inserted an installation disk to get the same effect but I decided to see what happens when you use the clearly labelled ‘Remove everything and reinstall windows’ feature.
The first thing is a warning message telling you what to expect.
If you have more than one drive you get the opportunity to clear all or just the windows drive; now I keep a local copy of my data on the second drive so I only went for the Windows drive.
Lastly you get the option to just remove the files or to do a thorough clean up which will take longer; it seems to me if you are going to do this you probably want to go for broke anyway so I went for the full clean up.
As it says on the warning, the result, about 20 minutes later, was a nice new installation of Windows 8 with lots of free space on my primary drive.
Now here is the gotcha; I didn’t take a note of the product key that came with the original download so I was left with an OS that was not activated – not a good thing; fortunately I was able to get a key from the download site as it is a preview but when this goes live anyone using the feature better have the key written down somewhere they can find it.
I spent the rest of yesterday re-installing all my software and I now have a machine that is working well without all the rubbish accumulated over the last few years.
I wonder how many support calls will be generated by this feature.