Sounds like a useful feature. Providing a list of desktop apps that were installed and allowing you to choose which ones to reinstall would be better than ditching all of them though.
Microsoft has revealed how the Windows 8 push-button reset feature should save dying PCs when it hits beta in the coming weeks and is delivered this year. Windows 8 will offer two options to recover a crashed machine: reset your PC or refresh your PC, Microsoft said on the Windows 8 blog here. Reset will remove all personal …
"Providing a list of desktop apps that were installed and allowing you to choose which ones to reinstall would be better than ditching all of them though."
Not if that list has "Windows Antivirus 2011" or other such malware in it....Users were fooled enough to think it was a good program when ransomed to pay for it, what makes you think they won't think it's a good app upon refresh?
Where would that come from? We already have a list of *well-behaved* installed applications that the user can remove if they wish. It's in whatever Control Panel calls itself these days. Presumably then, you want a list of installed malware, and if you could solve *that* problem you'd have a working antivirus system.
"Where would that come from? We already have a list of *well-behaved* installed applications that the user can remove if they wish. It's in whatever Control Panel calls itself these days."
That's pretty much the list I'm talking about. My idea would be to present the list in the refresh options, so that you can _put back_ everything you think is OK.
...but I'll bite.
95%+ of people who buy a computer swtich it on and use it, and run Windows. They save photos, and music, surf, and not much else. This feature will save a lot of pain and expense for that group when it all goes tits-up, which has to be a good thing (and it has the added bonus of desmuggifying people like you, with your fancy-pants partitions and OS's).
Other OS systems have had a logical separation of data and programs for ages. Hell, if you were of a mind to, you COULD implement one in DOS, although you could just as easily ignore it. You could do similar things with everything through Windows 3.1.11. BUT, when MS released Win 95 they so thoroughly integrated data and program file structure that there hasn't been a decent data preservation system you could run out of the box since. You had to grab stuff from documents, favorites, desktop, and maybe some local applications data directories. It sounds like for Win 8 they may be trying to do that. Of course, until we see the actual implementation we won't know.
>Of course Windows allows separation of data and programs - how would roaming profiles work if not?
Search the web, the general consensus is that roaming profiles don't work any more.
I've been running roaming profiles since WinNT and with each version of Windows (2k, XP, Server 2003, etc) it becomes more and more of a struggle. Profiles are now so bloated I've heard of people in other shops talk about logins taking 25 minutes - over 1Gb LAN. I've personally seen an XP+2003 combination take 5 minutes to login and that's with less than 50M payload. Adobe Reader (circa 7,8, haven't used it since) installs its 100M setup file into a roaming profile folder and then attempts to infect any computer you log in to.
The registry is the number one place MS screwed the pooch with regard to backup/restore, its monolithic (or dualistic?, tri...) nature and its inability to fail gracefully doom most attempts to restore software - settings are spewed all across HKLM, HKCR and HKLU and some .ini and .dat files in 3-4 different profile folders, some roaming some not.
I've seen some well written apps that, when started, will inform the user that settings have been lost and offer to recreate them. Far too many follow the MS Office example: "Tahoma Font not found, try reinstalling the application!"
Because Windows doesn't enforce separation of data and application installs many novice users I've seen quite happily save files from various application in the default directory it brings up - this is usually in "Program Files".
This is made worse by the fact that even those slightly more advanced users that understand what they've done and where they've saved files can then bring up Explorer and attempt to look for those files, only to have it tell them not to navigate to the "Program Files" directory.
"The registry is the number one place MS screwed the pooch"
Crap. Certain other OSes store this information under /etc or in dotted directories under ~/ in a host of tiny files all in different formats. Windows uses several instances (hives) of a strongly typed custom file system, allowing uniform access to the same data and fine-grain security. Both design choices have plus and minus points.
Registry corruption only happens if you let crapware or clueless users run amok on the data. The same would happen under any other design and the problem is letting crapware or clueless users run amok.
I speak as someone who has made typing errors in small files in the /etc hierarchy. :)
Roaming profiles work just fine when properly configured. Lots of people get problems with the size of roaming profiles because they've not put their data (music, docs, photos, etc) onto data servers, or are using their desktop to store gigs of data. This is not a "roaming profiles doesn't work" issue, it's a "administrators don't know how they work" issue. It's simple to make the basic changes to profiles required to make them work properly, indeed MS supply tools to help you do so.
... could be easily done on any windows system as far back as win2k - I've stored my user profiles on a separate partition for donkey's years using said OS.
However, there used to be many applications about that insisted on saving user data in their install dir - but it ain't fair to blame the OS for that.
Windows has always lied about how long an install takes so there's no way that figure is true. My bet would be roughly 30m and then you have a completely useless machine with no applications installed. The last time I installed Windows it took me something like 3 days by the time I had everything I need installed and updated.
Oh and how long does it take to re-install all the updates since RTM after you use this feature?
............not necessarily so ridiculous as it sounds to you. In addition to the specs of the tablet that Sammy handed out at the Build Conference mentioned in the article there was also the little matter of the 64 Gb SSD. Two of our Win 7 machines at home have identical specs as far as mobo, CPU and RAM are are concerned. The former needs about 60 min or so to run a drive image backup and the latter takes 18 min even though the amount and variety of data/programmes is roughly the same. The difference is simple. The former machine is equipped with a standard hard drive whilst the latter has a SSD as the system disk. The very large difference in sequential read speeds makes a big difference to how long a full system backup takes even though their sequential writes are about the same. The presence of an SSD on the system would have a considerable effect on how quickly these "refresh/reset" actions can be performed. It is perfectly possible that the genuine figure is significantly under your assumption of about 30 min. At any rate with an SSD on board that tablet their figures are not *necessarily* bogus.
Most of that time is spent copying OS data from one place on the drive to another, which is much faster than reading it from a CD or DVD. There's also a tool to create an image of the drive with apps etc. installed. The refresh/reset will take longer, but that's still faster than re-installing everything by hand.
If they're really clever, OS/security updates will be applied to the clean backup copy as well, so they won't need to be downloaded again after a reset.
At a very large UK financial company I used to work for, we had an automated build system, which would install and configure the corporate build in about 20mins from PXE boot and a library server in the datacentre. This included all required locally installed apps, bug fixes and site specific configurations, leaving the computer ready to logon by the user. We actually encouraged users to rebuild their own machines if they had a problem as the first port in trouble-shooting (if they couldn't do it, the helpdesk could do it remotely). There's no point investing time in a standardised build and then getting someone to go desk-side to hack around to find problems.
So you're suggesting that companies shouldn't invest in IT infrastructure that can be quickly fixed and easily maintained because that means that they don't have to employ as many support people and their users get a quicker better service and are therefore more productive?
Remind me not to invest in any company you're in charge of.
No, I am just anticipating the chaos for the 2 out of 10 cases where it doesn't work.
No, I am annoyed that the work previously done by IT support staff paid around £15 per hour will now be being done by sales force or design engineers paid £20 per hour or more and someone thinks they are saving money.
No, I anticipate real problems because of lost production while I re-install engineering apps that are not part of the core build.
No, I am worried that after every restore we will loose the machines while patches and updates are downloaded when we could have just fixed the real problem instead.
No, I am anticipating that any problems that persist through a restore will never be addressed.
The 2/10 cases will be dealt with by more highly skilled admins and, probably faster.
20mins to rebuild a workstation, and in the worst case, 5 to do a scripted rebuild of the profile plus another ten or so to reconfigure as desired, would not be as much time as sending someone desk-site to fix a problem, probably not even as much as getting a desk based admin to fix it, if possible.
By their very nature, persistent problems are dealt with by the 2nd line support guys not 1st line.
It's win-win, the company gets higher productivity and the IT staff are more highly skilled. Sure, in an individual company there will be a smaller amount of jobs in 1st line support, but some of these will be taken higher up the food chain and the others will picked up elsewhere in the economy - there is always need for IT support staff.
You are rather assuming there will be 2nd level staff around. At the moment there aren't.
I notice you rather gloss over the problem of non-core applications, too. Last time I had a rebuild it took two days to re-install the non-core applications and their updates (backup/restore is not permitted because of fear of viruses) including getting new licence instances.
Those days are long since gone. Back in the Win 98 days really. Once 2000/XP was around, no real rebuild issues anymore, unless the user really really screwed up somehow.
I pre-ordered my copy of Win 7, for a home built desktop (mainly a gaming rig), so this was back in October 2009 (64bit version), I also installed Win XP 32bit on the same box, as dual-boot, for those older apps that didn't like either Win 7 or a 64bit OS.
Nether OS have been re-installed since then, both run perfectly fine, and I've never had any issues with drivers, slow down etc. etc.
I thought this too.... until about a month ago when the wifes laptop decided to randomly power off during updates, and upon rebooting it wasn't booting windows no matter what I tried.
Tried all the microsoft usual fixes and couldn't get anything running. Eventually remembered the restore partition was still enabled and activated that.
Thats just a good example of how much you use your PC then. Sure 8m22s is almost certainly a rubbish estimate, but once done the machine won't be useless.
every Computer is basic when box fresh, it's the apps you add that make it more usefull to you as an individual. If it takes you 3 days to reinstall all your apps then you obviously use your PC for lots and lots of things, well done.
As for re-installing updates since RTM, not long on a new OS, if your talking about XP then yeah ages, Vista quite a while, Win 7 not so long. Win 8 probably a couple of mins. Big whoop.
The factory reset and restore functionallity has been in since the Developers Preview was released. I've even done an instructional post about it last September! (http://www.edugeek.net/forums/windows-8/82530-how-refresh-reset-windows-8-a.html)
It is a good feature, but in it's current form still asks you to re-register (enter your serial number etc.) Windows for some strange reason. I look forwards to the beta cleaning up the process a bit though. I also couldn't comment on how long it would take an average desktop PC to retore itself as I was doing my trials on a relatively low powered Atom tablet. Still, it did exactly what it said on the tin, you just have to make sure you de-register any applications that require it (Photoshop Elements and the like) before you start.
Seeing as Metro / WinRT applications aren't compatible with windows 7 and earlier, that'll mean that all that get preserved (apps, settings, license keys) are a few lightweight apps in the near to mid future.
Bets on how long it'll take to release Metro versions of Photoshop / CS Studio / Visual Studio anyone?
Well a fully updated Windows 7 backup system image with a few extra apps takes up about 17GB and takes about 10 minutes to re-image a hard drive at which point I would usually update everything and do a new backup image which takes 15 to 20 minutes. Considerably less than the 3+ hours it takes the normal way). With drives the size they are nowadays, it's not exactly occupying all the space. There may be easier ways to do it with Acronis or something that take up less space but for me it works and it works well.
I imagine that Windows 8 will take up around the same give or take a GB or two.
I think this could easily be another step backwards instead of forwards. That is; if the article (blog post) is actually complete and these are all your options.
The reason for this is that any computer illiterate is already capable of (re-)installing Windows. You pop in the CD, you boot and follow the on-screen instructions. How hard can it be? Better yet; this can also preserve stuff like the registry and your installed system applications. Or simply wipe it all clean (format) and start over.
But if you can "reset" Windows with one push off a button, do I assume correct that this basically means that my Windows system drive will now always hold the contents of a full fledged Windows installation medium? Sorry to say but if that is the case then I really hope that this will be an opt-in feature, because I have much better use for all that disk space. For example reserving it for the system to keep restoration points (setting your PC back to an earlier restore point is a whole lot easier /and/ quicker than having to re-install several individual programs).
Not to mention that Windows 7 already provides these features. The main difference being that you'd need more separate steps; first (automatically) fixing the boot process, then using safe-boot (with logging perhaps) to check up on the OS to spot the bad software which gets in your way. However, having several individual options to fix these problems also gives us much more flexibility in the end.
Now they're basically dumbing things down to "reinstall with or without preserving your data while /always/ losing your software" (unless you manually make an image up front).
That is going to work sooo well with programmers (Visual Studio?) who just finished setting up their libraries / manifests only to see their OS go haywire due to something weird. Happy re-installing!
Finally; I think the term "Resetting Windows" is very poorly chosen as most people will associate "reset" with reboot. When you 'reset' Windows you basically reboot the PC. Now all of a sudden it means you're reinstalling Windows without keeping any personal data; how long before people will lose data because they thought 'reset' meant something else? (granted; these people should know better than to quickly click "yes" without reading, but still... IMO this is waiting for a personal disaster to happen).
Sorry to say; but the more I learn about Win8 the lesser I like where things are going.
Maybe I'm just being picky here, but is it really a wise thing to tell consumers they don't need to back-up their data first? OK when it's running properly Refresh may not need it, but what if Refresh is borked for some reason.
We need to encourage people to backup more, not less.
Buggered if I'll change to telling my customers "Always backup, unless you're using Windows 8 Refresh!" in any case
Most end users don't RTFM, and so if they try to repair themselves and select Reset instead of Refresh all is lost. Personal data gone! And they can prompt people all they want, they will click Next, Next, Yes, Finish without even reading. Not all, but a lot of end users.
I used to nail some end users with this when I mentored in call center:
You want to format. Yes.
Do you have any data on your computer. No.
Do you know what data is. No
Then I would point out that they told me they have no data but don't know what data is. More often then not they had data and did not realize formatting was deleting everything and thought it was just Windows. Because some person at their work place told them, your PC is slow just format and reinstall Windows, bad advice! What if the PC is faulting and you run even a repair setup on a hardware faulting PC? Bye bye file system maybe? Final nail in coffin of a dying hard drive?
End users should be encouraged to call a real tech, get their stuff backed up off PC using bootable DVD and thumb drive. Then have the tech diagnose their PC and perform the appropriate operations. One of those, if the video card, cpu, or power suppy fan isn't spinning, then a reinstall is not going to fix it!
And that bit overwrite will (from my understanding) be ever so helpful when you go to recover the data after an accidental "reset".
At least now you can recover the users data when they tried to fix themselves by accidentally choosing "factory restore", with bog standard off-the-shelf data recovery software.
What's the chances of data recovery after one of these resets? Anyone?
if the reset is to before the bloat was added to the machine. That way you could get rid of all the crap the manufactures add.
But as this this from micro$oft, this feature is going to cause a lot of pain to the naive. So the advise should be: Always backup, especially if you're using Windows 8 Refresh!
I think OEMs will ensure that it is after. As a result, this feature will remove all your data and put back a pile of (now rather old and therefore unpatched) crapware.
As described, I can't think of any circumstances whatsoever in which pushing this button wouldn't be a cause of deep regret. It is quite stunning that MS are putting development time into it. Presumably Windows is now regarded by its developers as *so* feature complete and bug free that they are actually bored and looking for daft ideas to pass the time.
"...Microsoft said, is that it is often a single rogue app that has caused your machine to slow down or crash, and it's usually a virus scanner. So to save time, we remove any virus scanners, pretty much anything by Symantec or McAfee really, and keep the rest. Even the viruses."
There, I completed the quote for you.
I think some of you have missed the point and some clearly do not understand the current windows architecture.
This methodolgy of installation, replace and refesh is already available with Win7 albeit it doesn't exactly have a user 'button' and is currently for the IT dept. to configure (like magic).
Have a google for 'Win7 deployment scenario'. It is just further enhancing the WIM format (yes WIM) mode of deployment which was introduced with Vista.
LiteTouch deployment with answer files, upgrading, replacing, refresh. It has been around since Vista and is how your machine should be built when it is turned on from new. (not imaged / syspred as days of old)
The days of imaging windows (or flat installs) are gone ..... all hail the WIM ....
Yes you definitely still need backups -> send them to the cloud or wherever just make sure they are backed up
And yes MS will put more than one 'are you really sure ?' you want to continue.
WIM is good technology. The WIM images will still be need to be tweaked by the manufacture to ensure you have all the drivers, but that is no different from a repair disk shipped with the current machine.
Like most corporates, it can be a case of...... problem takes more than so many minutes..... then rebuild it.
It is a major step in the right direction for home users. Not so sure about about windows support people of which I am one....... hmmmm, get me coat.
Just because a metro app uses a different UI and API layer than the desktop interface doesn't mean trojans, viruses, rootkits and other malware can't hitch a ride too, it's only a matter of time until security flaws are exposed in Metro. So why not just dump all the Metro apps the same as desktop apps during the reset/reinstall process, that way users get used to reloading everything.
In fact, why not just dump Metro all together, it is ugly and unintuitive and opens a whole new attack surface for malware. Better the devil you know and all of that.
I'm a tech in a computer repair shop - I'm seriously not looking forward to Windows 8 appearing.
On the topic of this article, I'm really not looking forward to the number of "my data disappeared" type of calls... We already get enough "I used the recovery disk" calls as it is. We don't really need a button as easily accessible as it is in Win8.
Windows? Poo? Yes
I tried to hep install PowerAgent 7.5 on a 32 bit vista computer. MS was managing it and not an IT department and not a computer guru. It took 90 minutes to install it and get the two serial/usb drivers working.
On my Mac less than 5 minutes and that is the same OS upgraded from 2006....
Most users are dumb and there is a good reason for this: It is in the interest of the industry to keep them that way. I tell people (whether they ask or not).
1.The internet is not safe unsupervised for children (or idiots).
2. No computer is 'future proof'. The more you pay the quicker it devalues
3. Always create the restore disk before you do any thing else.
4. At the very least take back up copies of things you don't would try and save from a house fire.
Do they listen? Do they buggery. It's all 'The guy in the shop said...' or 'well, on the advert they showed...' or worst of all 'I know what you said but I thought...' Quickly followed by can you pop round and see why it's not working properly.
One of the options should be to reset just enough that you or tech support can access a lightweight web enabled basic interface for system wide checksum / virus scan / file check.
You hit "Reset to Cloud" and the thing makes itself accessible by teamviewer / secure-remote-protocol of some kind that allows your support tech/ vendor/ grand-kids to run the "check for nasties script" and to a phased restore.
MS have a habit of changing the hammer or the nail but never quite questioning the need to make things go bang by hitting them.
This is almost useful but I bet the original idea has been crippled by muddle management.
The basics of an OS and the hierarchy of support capabilities are more subtle than "It borken make same agane, but no screnesava"
Help is out there and if you could get it working to level 3 (basic web browsing - read only files system + file sandbox) you could contact support and maybe even finish your holiday before trying to work out why a full reset fails after an hour every time.
Reset To Cloud would even work as an acronym for techies "We've had multi unit RTC in sales"
I'm rambling now aren't I.
"One benefit of refresh is, according to Lee, that you don't have to back up your machine first."
Oh yes. Because Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny already did the backup for you, no worries there.
Let's just hope that Refresh and Reset are not placed side-by-side, on buttons with same colors and fonts, with the same amount or "Are you sure?"'s on the click-through. And that neat explanation of each one will do be *very* clear and *very* visible, BEFORE clicking.
just need to sell home users some sort of home server to store their stuff and then you'll have a neato solution.
bonus points if oem's/support can add applications to the reset somewhat similar to MDT, and offers users a screen with these apps, just tick the checkboxes. Personally I see it being really popular with small business types, you know, the ones that don't need SBS but with a samba box in the corner and a bit of setup work they'd be much better off then how they are now.
its nice to see more features from corporate land tumble down into the home/small biz market. while I wouldn't want the complexities of SCCM for small biz, MDT without a server would be great, and I hope this has some options like it
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