By James M Fisher
“To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it the more fit for its prime function of looking forward.” Margaret Fairless Barber
I thought the above quote was very apropos for the subject of refreshing Windows itself. First of all, we need to look ‘backwards’ in that we are reverting to the very first day in a PC’s life, the state it would have been in when you brought it home (assuming a new PC). “Restore” is also appropriate because we are restoring our PC back in time, and hopefully, restoring its speed and rendering it more useful looking forward.
The reasons for reinstalling Windows can be varied. Perhaps your PC is slow and you think it may be time to start fresh to see if you can regain the ‘zip’ your computer had way back when. Or, you may have installed software that has caused problems which uninstalling it and/or trying system restore did not solve. Virus infestation is another reason many have had to reinstall Windows.
With that thought in mind let’s look at 3 ways you can refresh Windows.
Now, let’s examine each one in more detail.
Restore to Manufacturer’s settings
Sometimes this is called ‘system recovery’ and all the files needed to restore Windows reside on a (sometimes) hidden partition on the hard drive. This recovery partition, along with the recovery software which is manufacturer-dependent can be accessed either at boot-up by pressing one of the F keys (F1 for instance), or can usually be initiated within Windows itself. For instance, on my Lenovo ThinkPad, I can hit the ThinkVantage button on my keyboard at boot up or I can start the Rescue & Recovery software from Windows. It would be similar with HP, Toshiba or any other major brand.
Note that choosing this method of recovering/reinstalling Windows will result in all your installed programs and data being destroyed. You will definitely need to backup your data and have any program CDs (Microsoft Office, etc.) and downloaded installation files at hand on another media (like a USB stick or external hard drive).
One drawback to this type of recovery is that you will need to install tons of updates, both for Windows and for any other software that came installed on the PC. This is very time consuming, so be sure you set aside a large allotment of time to get your computer updated once the recovery is finished. You’ll need a working high speed Internet to accomplish this task!
This excerpt is shared with permission from Windows Talk.