Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Windows 8 Refresh and Reset Your PC Feature

Windows 8 Refresh and Reset Your PC Feature

The reset feature will take you back to your original factory settings, refresh allows you to reset the operating system while maintaining your apps, data, etc.  What are the key features of reset or refresh and what can you expect.  The Windows 8 refresh and reset features streamline the process of getting a PC back to a good state and providing a way for less of a chance of data loss.  Simplifying the process to save time and making it a one button operation.     The features in Windows 8 are:

Reset your PC: remove all personal data, apps and settings from the PC and reinstall Windows.

Refresh your PC:  keep all personal data, apps and important settings from the PC and reinstall Windows.

In some cases, you may want to remove all personal data, apps and setting, restoring it to the original out of the box state.   Either to recycle or decommission or the necessity to clear all data and start over.

If you choose the reset option:
   Step 1:  The PC boots into the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE).
   Step 2:  Windows RE erases and formats the hard drive partitions on which Windows                                             and personal data reside.
   Step 3:  Windows RE installs a fresh copy of Windows.
   Step 4:  The PC restarts into the newly installed copy of Windows.

If you are worried about data that can still be recovered, Windows has a option after the standard reset.  This is especially key for sensitive personal data.  Windows 8 provides additional steps for a thorough erasure of data.  The “Thorough” option will write random patterns to every sector of the drive, overwriting any existing data visible to the operating system.  According to Microsoft, if someone removes the drive from your PC, your data will still not be easily recoverable without special expensive equipment.  This eliminates hours or days of erasing data with multiple pass scrubbing operations which may be required for regulatory compliance with highly confidential business and government data.

Try refresh to fix your PC problems.

Could trying refresh first be a solution?  Yes.  Resetting is the heavyweight solution, refresh could resolve the problem.  Refresh reinstalls Windows but your data, settings and apps are preserved.  Microsoft has a solution to help desktop apps also.

With refresh Microsoft says there is no need to backup your data on an external hard drive to restore afterwards.

If you choose the refresh option:
   Step 1:  The PC boots into Windows RE.
   Step 2:  Windows RE scans the hard drive for your data, setting and apps then puts
                 them aside (on the same drive).
   Step 3:   Windows RE installs a fresh copy of Windows.
   Step 4:  Windows RE restores the data, settings and apps it has set aside into the newly
                 installed copy of Windows.
   Step 5:   The PC restarts into the newly installed copy of Windows.

The refresh eliminates the need of manually reinstalling Windows, no need to go through the Windows Welcome screens again and no need to reconfigure all the initial settings.  Same account and password sign in and all documents and data are in their same locations. 

Misconfigured settings could be a cause of problems leading to refresh their PCs.  The following settings are preserved in the Windows 8 Beta:

Wireless network connections
Mobile broadband connections
Bitlocker and Bitlocker to Go settings
Drive letter assignments
Personalization settings such as lock screen background and desktop wallpaper

In Windows 8, Microsoft has decided not to preserve the following settings, as they can cause problems if misconfigured:

File type associations
Display settings
Windows Firewall settings

Changes to enhance or fine tune both lists over time could occur in the Developer preview and Beta.  More on restoring apps in a future blog.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

What is new about Microsoft Windows 8?

What is new about Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system? The new touch optimized interface is one. A public beta version of Microsoft Windows 8 will roll out in February 2012, the official release for the operating system could arrive in Q4 or as early as Q3 of this year. Microsoft has a developer version of the pre-beta for developers software on their website at  Microsoft announced that Windows 8 would be adding support for ARM microprocessors in addition to the x86 microprocessors from Intel and AMD. ARM microprocessors are used in mobile devices. This next version of windows is designed to build on Windows 7, with enhanced security features, faster startup and longer battery life for running on a wide choice of devices and chipsets. Windows 8 is designed to run on screens smaller than 10” or big screens mounted on the wall.

Here is a glance at what’s new with Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system:

Windows To Go: IT professionals and users will be able to store a bootable operating system on a USB thumb drive along with their business apps, data, and settings.  
When users are finished and log off, they simply remove the USB device, leaving no data or information behind.  Take your personalized PC with you on the go in your pocket, briefcase or purse to use on a tablet, desktop or laptop whatever is available.

Ribbon Interface: Microsoft has replaced the traditional drop down menus and toolbars with a ribbon interface. Ribbons allow for a large amount of information in a small amount of space.

Tile Interface & Smart Screen: Microsoft has a metro-style tile interface which consists of rectangular boxes on the screen. The new Start Screen puts all of your applications in front of you for immediate access. Whether you type, click or swipe, it is optimized for easier navigation. The Windows Store will be your app store for metro-style apps and Microsoft said these apps have improved quality and reduces the risks of malware and bugs.

Internet Explorer 10: IE9 Microsoft's latest browser is only compatible with Windows Vista and 7. IE10 requires Windows 7 or later. When using IE10, swipe from the bottom or top bezels for the address bar and tabs. Bookmarks and frequently visited pages appear when you create a new tab. On the desktop IE9 has some tablet optimizations as well responding smoothly to scrolling and pinch to zoom gestures.

Tablets: Microsoft’s new tablet OS is on it’s way. With Windows 8, Microsoft desktop operating system will also work on ARM based hardware and will be able to run on tablets as well as desktops and laptops. Windows 8 has been designed for touchscreen devices, especially with the Metro Interface design.

More of what’s new to come on Windows 8 soon. Check back for further updates.