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How to Perform System and Data Recovery with Windows 8

If you’ve ever suffered a stability problem with a Windows computer, you will know that it’s not a welcome experience. At some point, many Windows users have found themselves in a situation where system recovery was the only option. In the worst cases, restoring Windows can mean sacrificing everything that exists on your computer and starting afresh. If you haven’t backed up your documents and files, data recovery will not be possible.

When a full system recovery is performed, all data that existed on your computer is deleted and overwritten by the refreshed installation. Even the best data recovery service in New Jersey would not be able to recover your documents from a restored Windows computer.

Another thing that complicates a Windows system and data recovery is the fact that computer manufacturers all provide different recovery solutions. There is no real standard. Some manufacturers require you to make a recovery CD. Others provide a bootable partition on the computer hard drive. All in all, system recovery in older versions of Windows can be tiresome.

Windows 8 Improved Data Recovery Process

With Windows 8, Microsoft has addressed some of these system and data recovery concerns. The new Windows version comes packaged with two simple utilities for use in the event of problems. If your Windows 8 computer ever becomes unstable, these utilities make it easier to restore your system, possibly without losing any of your stored documents and files.

These system and data recovery utilities can be found in Windows 8 PC settings.  To access the settings, open the “Charms” bar. Click “settings” and then click “change PC settings”. Now select the “general” tab and scroll down the list to the bottom. This is where you’ll find the two system and data recovery options.

Option 1 – Refresh Your PC

The first of these options is “Refresh your PC without affecting your files”. This is the first option to try as it allows you to restore a stable version of Windows 8 without sacrificing your personal files.  This option does have some consequences though.

1. All installed programs will be removed, so you will need to reinstall your applications after the restore.

2. All installed drivers will be deleted.

3. Your personal Windows 8 settings will be lost, unless you synchronized these to your Microsoft account.

4. Installed service packs and Windows updates will be lost.

On the plus side of things, your personal files will remain unaffected. Your Windows Store applications will also still be there after the refresh. If you synched your personal settings to your Microsoft account, these will be reapplied. After the refresh, you will also be able to view a list of all programs which were removed. This will save you from having to try and remember what you need to reinstall.

To go ahead with a Windows 8 refresh, click on the appropriate option and then on “Get started”. After displaying a warning about the loss of installed programs and settings, Windows may ask you to load your installation media. After you have done this, click on refresh and just follow any prompts that appear on your screen.

While this option is quite drastic, if it’s successful you will be able to start over with a stable version of Windows and all your personal documents intact. This is surely a better option than losing everything with no chance of data recovery.

Option 2 – Full Windows 8 Reinstallation

The second Windows 8 recovery option is “Remove everything and reinstall Windows”. Take this option only if you’ve exhausted all other attempts at data recovery without success. A full reinstallation does mean you lose everything that you have on your computer. If you click on “Get started”, the first thing you will see is a warning from Windows advising that you will lose your personal files and that the system will be restored to default settings.

If you choose to proceed with reinstallation, you will be given a choice of two ways in which to continue. The first of these options is “Just remove my files”. This is the faster of the two methods. Your personal files and your installed programs will be deleted. The system files will be reinstalled over the top of your existing installation. Although fast, this option does not reformat your hard drive, so it’s a little less secure than the other reinstallation option, “Fully clean the drive”.

If you select “Just remove my files”, your computer will shut down and restart with the Windows setup utility. From there, all you need to do is follow the on-screen prompts. At one point you will be asked “Where do you want to install Windows?” and here you should select the drive partition called “Primary”.

The second method, “Fully clean the drive”, is probably the best one to take. This method is the most secure as it completely formats your hard drive using default settings. After the drive has been formatted, the utility performs a full reinstallation of your Windows 8 operating system. If you’re at the point of drastic action, the extra time taken for this method is worthwhile and carries the advantage of being thorough.

Before You Choose, Check with a Professional

Before you take the drastic step of reinstalling Windows 8, you’d be wise to visit a computer repair shop. If you are reinstalling because of a stability issue that’s made your personal data inaccessible, an expert may be able to help you. Once you have performed the reinstallation, your data will not be recoverable. There are many New Jersey data recovery specialists who will help you, if you’re located in this state.

Apart from recovering your data, an expert may be able to resolve your issue without needing a Windows 8 reinstallation. Dave’s Computers has helped many people with data recovery for Windows in New Jersey. To find out more about Dave’s services, visit the Dave’s Computers website, or give the team a call on 908-428-9558.

by David Molnar