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Microsoft Windows IT Technology

Windows 8 To Include Built-in Reset, Refresh 441

Posted by timothy
from the control-z dept.
MrSeb writes "Microsoft, in its infinite wisdom, will provide push-button Reset and Refresh in Windows 8. Reset will restore a Windows 8 PC to its stock, fresh-from-the-factory state; Refresh will reinstall Windows 8, but keep your documents and installed Metro apps in tact. For the power users, Windows 8 will include a new tool called recimg.exe, which allows you to create a hard drive image that Refresh will use (you can install all of your Desktop apps, tweak all your settings, run recimg.exe... and then, when you Refresh, you'll be handed a clean, ready-to-go computer). Reset and Refresh are obviously tablety features that Windows 8 will need to compete against iOS and Android — but considering Windows' malware magnetism and the number of times I've had to schlep over to my mother's house with a Windows CD... these features should be very welcome on the desktop, too."
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Windows 8 To Include Built-in Reset, Refresh

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  • Just an excuse (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 05, 2012 @12:40PM (#38599072)

    It's just an excuse to trash grub ( linux) installations over and over.

  • by KazW (1136177) * on Thursday January 05, 2012 @12:40PM (#38599080)
    How long until viruses inject themselves into this recovery image and get "refreshed" onto the new install?
  • by NiteMair (309303) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @12:41PM (#38599100)

    Once malware developers get their hands on this, they'll be sure to find a way to infect the process such that their stuff gets "reset" and "refreshed" along with everything else.

    I doubt it will be that useful to evade the really nasty malware, but at least it will provide an easy way for someone to "go back to step 1" with their computer after they ruined it all by themselves... or even someone who wishes to give it to a friend/family member/goodwill for recycling.

    I suspect one of the main reason people throw away computers after they buy a new one, rather than recycle it, is because they're afraid someone else will see all their porn and/or "sensitive documents" that might still be hidden on the machine.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 05, 2012 @12:42PM (#38599118)

    ...about the innate instability of an OS, that they need buttons to reset everything back to bare metal

  • Re:Good luck! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @12:48PM (#38599246)

    Well, you can say that about any backup. With all due respect, your post is a bit of a karma whore...

  • by tmosley (996283) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @12:50PM (#38599302)
    disastrously destructive buttons? Yeah, that's what we all need, a button you can push that destroys all your data. Sort of like having the big red button to launch the nukes right next to the big red light switch button.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 05, 2012 @12:51PM (#38599312)

    ...about the innate instability of an OS, that they need buttons to reset everything back to bare metal

    Or perhaps it says something about incompetence of its users, being unable to fix problems they have caused? Many I've seen posts by users about "reinstalled (Linux distro) n-times and it's still not working!". Kind of reminds me of users that "reinstall windows applications" despite windows not having a problem with DLL hell for over a decade (SxS versioning) or even inability to write crap all over the OS directories for about half a decade.

    PS. Wasn't it apple that came up with their "timemachine" OS snapshots first? You may also want to read the last line of the summary.

  • It's a bad sign... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Theaetetus (590071) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .todhsals.suteteaeht.> on Thursday January 05, 2012 @12:53PM (#38599356) Homepage Journal
    ... when you design your OS to require frequent re-installation.
  • by tkrotchko (124118) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @12:58PM (#38599432) Homepage

    After all, the only reason people buy a new PC these days is when the old one runs so slow from bloatware, adware, and crapware the user usually installs?

    You might argue that Microsoft is set to destroy the entire tech industry if people won't buy new PC's.

  • Re:Next step... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MogNuts (97512) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @01:00PM (#38599462)

    I think your problem might be a case of simple PEBKAC.

    I have a Vista install since 2007 still running as fast as when I installed it, with no errors or problems. Want to know how I achieved this amazing feat?

    I didn't click on "punch the monkey" ads, blindly click through installers which would install 5,000 toolbars in my web browser, click on random emails, or install software from that nice russian/nigerian person in the email.

    Wow, that was so hard.

    As a side note, I wonder how the companies who install pre-loaded crapware will like this. I mean, one could always reformat from the manufacturers recovery cd, but how many people did that? Here, it's so gosh darn easy, EVERY tech site will recomend it to grandma and it'll be the first thing everyone does upon arrival.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @01:04PM (#38599550) Homepage Journal

    Then its subject to corruption/infection. Also when your drive dies, you are still up the creek without recovery disks.

  • Re:Next step... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 05, 2012 @01:05PM (#38599576)

    The companies that pre-load all that garbage will make sure that it all gets on the recovery image too. You'll still have to uninstall all that crap once.

  • Re:Next step... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @01:06PM (#38599586) Homepage

    Next step is to have Windows 8.5 just auto-refresh every few months since Microsoft seems to assume you'll be doing it any how.

    Good, because MS has been making it increasingly difficult to be able to do a reinstall even if you have a licensed copy.

    Between "upgrade" disks which only work if you have a working install, and the trend to get rid of recovery disks ... it's about time Microsoft realized that the only way to maintain a system over a period of time is to rebuild the OS periodically.

    Microsoft recently sued [computerworld.com] a computer reseller for piracy because they made recovery disks available to users.

    In my experience, the recovery software installed by OEMs is complete shit .. the process for creating it on my wife's HP laptop failed, and then said you were only allowed to do it once, leaving us without one. So, Microsoft hopes when your system crashes you'll go buy a new copy ... but if you've already paid for a copy, you might as well pirate it.

    I know the last few PCs I've bought I've insisted I receive a full boxed install media ... not the OEM, but the retail one, and I pay for it. Because if you don't have this, when your Windows system needs to be rebuilt, you're probably hosed.

    The trend to not give people install media (in order to prevent piracy) has largely left people with systems they can't repair, and an incentive to pirate what they've already bought.

    If a crashed/hosed computer means you lose your data and you'll have to spend as much money as a new computer costs ... something has gone seriously wrong.

  • Re:Next step... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rsborg (111459) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @01:12PM (#38599686) Homepage

    I think your problem might be a case of simple PEBKAC.

    It's attitudes like yours that explain why Android and iOS are the future for many computer users. Blaming the user for an easily exploitable system will drive them fully into the arms of walled gardens and locked bootloaders. Perhaps that's where they want to be - and maybe that's good for the sanity of geeks like you and me. However, I think in the long run, defaulting users to locked systems is a bad thing for software freedom and the availability of general purpose computing devices.

  • Re:Next step... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LocalH (28506) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @01:22PM (#38599876) Homepage

    You can bet that MS will provide a way for that crap to be pre-installed even on the Reset image.

  • Re:Next step... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SpryGuy (206254) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @01:57PM (#38600418)

    OEMs can set up the 'reset' to include their crapware. And most likely will.

    However, users like yourself can uninstall all that crapware once, then take a new snaphot just the way you like it, with just the tweaks and apps you like, and THAT will become the new 'fresh' install image. So at least it's just pain once, and not every single time.

    And after SPs and tons of updates, you can re-snapshot so you don't have to re-apply all those as well.

  • Re:Next step... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @02:35PM (#38601086) Homepage

    You can reinstall on the same hardware as many times as you like. You can change everything but the motherboard freely.

    If they don't give you the disc, and the recovery feature in the OEM crap doesn't work ... none of what you say is true. And I've seen far too many computers which came with absolutely no media for the OS.

    Besides, the amount of shit that is usually in an OEM install often makes it almost unusable. On my mother-in-law's Toshiba laptop I had to strip out all of their crap to make the machine usable. It was full of wizards, and other tools designed to hand hold you so much that the computer had no CPU and memory left to actually do anything ... the retail copy has none of that shit.

    In short, the retail versions are for suckers with too much money to burn, they're priced so that no rational person would buy them.

    *shrug* That's your opinion and experience. I bought a single machine, which I intended to run Vista on. If the machine became corrupted, I intended to install Vista back onto it. I did the same with my previous XP box, and I'll do the same with my next box for whatever version of Windows is de-rigeur by then.

    For me, paying the retail price for the OS means I don't have to go through some of the bullshit I have had to go through by not having the install media, which has left me stranded without being able to reinstall unless I was going to get a pirated copy.

    As I said, my wife's shitty HP laptop came with no install media for Win 7, and the process of creating the restore disk failed and couldn't be retried. So, if anything goes wrong, it's cheaper to buy a new laptop than to try to fix it. Or, just say fuck it and pirate Windows.

    From what I've experienced, only the full retail copy lets me do a reinstall from scratch -- anything else leaves you with a half assed solution that takes far more of my time than I'm willing to invest.

  • Re:Next step... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by microbee (682094) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @03:09PM (#38601700)

    So your point is...

    Yes I want freedom and install whatever I want. No I don't want those malware! No I don't really understand what it is when I click 'install now'. But yes I really want to install whatever I want, freedom remember? No, I don't want to get a virus or something like that. When I say install, I mean install! No, I don't want to be locked in a walled garden. No I am not an idiot, you idiot!

  • Re:Next step... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shiftless (410350) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @05:20PM (#38603800) Homepage

    Yes, that's basically it.

    And the person who learns to satisfy this user will make billions.

    Good luck!

  • Re:Next step... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EdIII (1114411) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @11:54PM (#38606748)

    This refresh supposedly preserves not just documents, but installed metro apps.

    The purpose of re-installing the OS (after wiping the drive) is usually to get rid of malware, not as a solution to performance problems.

    Crapware is the least of my worries. How is Microsoft going to convince me that the refresh itself cannot be compromised? More specifically, how long will it take before somebody demonstrates an exploit that preserves the malware (rootkit) regardless of how many times the user clicks the "button"?

    The only way to ever be sure is to "nuke it from orbit". Rootkits that can survive in equipment firmware are pretty damn rare, so I am fairly confident that wiping the drive completely is a sure way to get a clean install.

    Data is just data. The most worrisome to me is of course PDF, but generally, data and documents can be cleaned pretty well. Programs always have to be re-installed.

    I question the entire methodology of this "refresh" idea and whether or not it can even accomplish its purpose.

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