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How to Refresh Your Surface

Refreshing is a good option to try when you're having problems with your Surface. When your Surface isn’t working correctly, you can tell it to reinstall its operating system, but save your files. It’s a quick fix, as you can easily reinstall your apps from the Windows Store. But it poses a problem for owners of the Windows 8 Pro version.

On the Windows 8 Pro version of the Surface, the Refresh feature also removes all of the programs you’ve installed on your Desktop app. Before using the Refresh feature, make sure you have your program’s original installation discs handy because you need to reinstall them all.

To Refresh your Surface, follow these steps:

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.

  2. Tap the General section.

  3. In the Refresh Your PC Without Affecting Your Files section, tap the Get Started button.

  4. When your Surface wakes up, you’re left with a few tasks:

    • Visit the PC Settings screen’s Windows Update section and download any waiting updates.

    • Open the Windows Store app and reinstall your apps.

    • On the Surface with Windows 8 Pro, open the Windows desktop. There, you find a waiting list of your uninstalled desktop programs, along with links to where you can download and reinstall most of them.

Refreshing your Surface takes much less time on a Windows RT version because you needn’t worry about reinstalling desktop programs. (The Office programs will still be there, although you need to update them again with Windows Update.) But on a Surface with Windows 8 Pro, tracking down and reinstalling all those desktop programs can be a nightmare.

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