System Restore Options in Windows 8 VS Reboot to Restore Technology

In the event of sudden system malfunctioning, certain inbuilt system recovery options in Windows OS might come handy. The three options in the Recovery suite of Windows 8 – Refresh, Reset and Restore – are intended to resolve system-level issues. However, effective third-party solutions based on reboot to restore technology have also gained immense popularity among end-users for ensuring quick system recovery and delivering instant results.

Even though Reboot to Restore functionality and system restore options in Windows 8 are often considered to have similar functionality, they actually work quite differently and yield different outcomes. Let’s quickly look at how both of these work to find out the quicker, easier and more flexible solution for optimal Windows 8 system recovery.

System Restore Windows 8

Windows 8 System Restore Options

  • Refresh
  • The Refresh option can resolve a wide range of system issues as it re-installs Windows 8 and reverts the PC settings to default. On the downside, this program discards Windows updates. So, if a user upgraded from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1, Refresh rolls-back the system to Windows 8. Users need to initiate the upgrade after the system is refreshed. Besides, the applications that were installed from external drives and third-party websites are also deleted from the system.

    The Refresh functionality in Windows 8 does not affect the personal files and settings of the users. It also retains the preinstalled applications as well as the applications that users installed from the Windows Store. However, for users’ convenience, Refresh creates an HTML file, listing down the applications that were removed as a result of executing the program. The file is saved on the desktop for quick accessibility.

    The Refresh option may ask users to insert recovery media if some of the Windows files are missing. The program may take up to 30 minutes to complete. Once the PC is refreshed, all the user profiles have to be regenerated as well.

  • Reset
  • At first, the Reset option may seem to be same as Refresh. Even the description on the Microsoft’s support page, if not read carefully, may cause readers to confuse between Refresh and Reset. However, there is a minor difference between the two.

    Reset also re-installs the operating system, but it does not save the personal files and user-defined settings. In other words, it reverts the system to the original factory settings.  This option may also ask users to insert a recovery drive in case of missing Windows files. There are two Reset options – one (‘Just remove my files’) is quicker and the other (‘Fully clean the drive’) takes a long time. The former may take up to 30 minutes while the latter may stretch beyond 2 hours. For new PC setup, Reset also asks users to agree to End User License Agreement (EULA), name their PC, set their profiles, select colors, and so on. In the quicker Reset option, some data may be recoverable with the help of some specific software. This is less likely to happen if users choose to fully clean the drive.

  • Restore
  • Like in Windows 7, Restore functionality in Windows 8 reverts the system configuration to a previous point in time. It means that when a user selects a Restore Point and executes the Restore functionality, the configuration that existed at the time of creating the Restore Point is rolled back. Thus, the changes made to the system settings and the software and applications installed after that time are discarded. Similarly, the software that was uninstalled after the Restore Point is restored as well. It is especially useful to resolve issues that occur as a result of a corrupt driver or application.

The Windows 8 Restore option affects only the system files and settings. It does not serve as a file or application recovery program. If a user deleted a file, System Restore cannot bring it back.

Reboot to Restore Technology

Reboot to Restore technology resolves system issues by shielding the configuration from all sorts of changes and rolling it back when the device is restarted.

How it Functions

When the software is being setup, it locks-in the desired system configuration as the baseline at that very instant. Post the deployment, the reboot to restore software rolls-back the baseline every time the device is restarted. The baseline is created at the time of installation and when the software is enabled after being temporarily disabled. Every time the solution creates a baseline, the previous one is overwritten. The point to be cautious about is that the system should be in the desired state when installing the software to ensure that only the desired system elements and settings are being frozen.

Since Reboot to Restore technology also affects user-defined files and settings, Deep Freeze, a solution built on patented reboot to restore technology has the provision of ThawSpace and Thawed State. ThawSpace allows users to save their files normally by creating a virtual storage space in the system drive as the data stored in ThawSpace is not deleted post reboot. Thawed State on the other hand is the state when Deep Freeze is disabled for making permanent changes manually or for performing automated maintenance tasks like installing scheduled updates.

Benefits it Offers

The ease-of-use is a major advantage with Reboot to Restore technology. Unlike the inbuilt Windows 8 restoration options, which require a fair bit of technical understanding, Reboot to Restore solutions can be executed even by the end-users. Irrespective of who executes it, simply restarting the device is reverts the pristine state of the system. The time-efficiency is another factor to consider as a reboot to restore software rolls-back the pristine system configuration in a fraction of the time required for Refresh, Reset or System Restore.

Robust Reboot to Restore software regularly upgrades to keep up with OS updates, ensuring constant protection for the devices. The software ensures that every user gets the device in the best state with virtually zero intervention from the IT team.