Windows 8 'system reset' image leaks [Update]

Among the many new features that will be incorporated into Windows 8, one that had previously leaked was that the system could be reset to factory conditions in just a few minutes. On this front, an image has leaked that shows the reset button and that it will be located near the system restore option within Windows.

This leak comes courtesy of win7china.com who has posted up quite a few leaks in the past, so the image does have some weight behind it. It is stated that it will only take two minutes to restore the default Windows 8 instillation, although that does seem a bit optimistic and is hardware dependent. 

The source states that when you press the system reset button, it will remove all installed software and return the OS to default settings. The source also states that you can choose to keep you user account information and personal files. 

The rapid reset feature will come in handy for times when malware has infected your PC and all you want to do is wipe it and start over. Far too often is it hard to locate your original software, and this new feature could be a lifesaver for amateur tech support users too. Imagine being able to quickly restore a client (family members) PC in just a few minutes, rather than a couple of hours if doing a complete wipe and install. 

[Update] We have been sent another picture of the same feature but this one is a bit more clear. We have also confirmed that this feature is real by another source; thanks AngelWZR and Canouna. We should note that the source of the image below is unknown.

 

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Can we trust this to be as effective as a formatting to clean up our Windows from software installation/uninstallation garbage left? I'd bet no. Maybe it's not even its intention, but it is a good move nonetheless.

badsey said,
anyone noticed, the top of the window has aero and the bottom doesn't ? looks like a fake

I quite clearly see a full aero frame for the new image.

badsey said,
anyone noticed, the top of the window has aero and the bottom doesn't ? looks like a fake

As you can see, text from the window behind is transparent through the glass border on the window at the foreground. Aero is throughout the window.

DClark said,

As you can see, text from the window behind is transparent through the glass border on the window at the foreground. Aero is throughout the window.

i mean, the top is blue and has a blur the bottom is white with no blur

badsey said,
i mean, the top is blue and has a blur the bottom is white with no blur

Yup, looks like the image has been stitched together. You can see a line where the top section of the window meets the frame surrounding the content area.

It's a good addition, But I see issues on the horizon.

Example.
Mum calls: I've got an issue with my PC.
Me: restart your PC and see if its the same.
Mum: clicks start, types reset. Sees system reset.
Me: I guess I'm gonna have to come over and reinstall all of your software then...

The best addition! IE has it long time now! It will save us from many formats or other annoying things. I'm pretty sure it will be fast like "System Restore".

So i suppose this thing requires Restor Point to be enabled which will never work on SSD setup since people disable Restore on SSD drives.

This is good and must have feature right from the time when Windows 95 was introduced. So many times and at regular interval we have to reinstall Windows Os, this feature should reduce that pain. Surprisingly even Windows 7 also needs regular reinstall... just not that frequently like XP. (Only in case if you have lot of programs installed )

Isn't this technically the same feature as the 'Reinstall Windows' option in earlier NT6 releases (at least Windows 7), except for performing a different type of state migration?

I imagine that this feature will include storing the information on highly encrypted Microsoft servers and allow users to pull the restore from there (and 'no' I didn't say it would be a requirement either). If the user opts for it and is connected to the internet, it would simply pull the data from there. These servers would be far more secure than the average computer and you can bet that they would be highly protected from viruses. That is just my take on it though. : )

to all the people saying appearance doesn't matter...stop and think for a moment...isn't windows a wysiwyg type system.... appearance will especially matter when we start talking windows 8 and tablets

Windows7even said,
to all the people saying appearance doesn't matter...stop and think for a moment...isn't windows a wysiwyg type system.... appearance will especially matter when we start talking windows 8 and tablets

if it works without a problem (which even win7 doesnt - it slows down over time, no matter how many cleaners i use) i wouldnt care if its damn ugly, but its neither.. it looks normal for an OS from 2011 and it works... descent .. i think M$ dont even bother making a better product, i think they can make something more reliable than linux, but they just dont want to, maybe to continue making new ones, cuz if one version of windows is perfect, people will never buy the next one, fearing it might not be perfect or sometihng.....


everything is conspiracy

Windows7even said,
to all the people saying appearance doesn't matter...stop and think for a moment...isn't windows a wysiwyg type system.... appearance will especially matter when we start talking windows 8 and tablets

if it works without a problem (which even win7 doesnt - it slows down over time, no matter how many cleaners i use) i wouldnt care if its damn ugly, but its neither.. it looks normal for an OS from 2011 and it works... descent .. i think M$ dont even bother making a better product, i think they can make something more reliable than linux, but they just dont want to, maybe to continue making new ones, cuz if one version of windows is perfect, people will never buy the next one, fearing it might not be perfect or sometihng.....


everything is conspiracy

I actually don't think they should of put the System Reset there. Because:

1. People might do it accidentally (well only fools really), especially if they have UAC off.
2. Like some people mentions above, people can create viruses that will initiate System Reset, which is bad.

I think that if Microsoft really wanted to have this feature, they shouldn't of but it there, they could maybe incorporate it into the boot up process?? But then again, some computers already have a system reset option in there boot sequence.

Vapourizer said,
I actually don't think they should of put the System Reset there. Because:

1. People might do it accidentally (well only fools really), especially if they have UAC off.
2. Like some people mentions above, people can create viruses that will initiate System Reset, which is bad.

I think that if Microsoft really wanted to have this feature, they shouldn't of but it there, they could maybe incorporate it into the boot up process?? But then again, some computers already have a system reset option in there boot sequence.

Shouldn't be a problem if they have a verification screen that asks "are you sure?" after you click that button. For something like this - a full system reset - they would have something to ensure you really mean it.

Vapourizer said,
I actually don't think they should of put the System Reset there. Because:

1. People might do it accidentally (well only fools really), especially if they have UAC off.
2. Like some people mentions above, people can create viruses that will initiate System Reset, which is bad.

I think that if Microsoft really wanted to have this feature, they shouldn't of but it there, they could maybe incorporate it into the boot up process?? But then again, some computers already have a system reset option in there boot sequence.

If a fool has the knowledge on how to turn off the UAC (which you do have to jump through some hoops to do). Then they should know at least what button to click to restore the machine the way they want.

I seriously have to express doubt about this, especially in the context of cleaning up malware. If the binaries to restore from are on an attached disk, they're vulnerable, period. If a virus is already running, all bets are off as far as the integrity of even those recovery files goes--this system will be a juicy target, and no new system is without flaw or vulnerability.

MS can build something like hash tables for all those files, but if virus code is already executing (and exploiting a vulnerability), I don't see why it couldn't be made to alter the content of those tables so any modified file can't be made to appear valid to the system doing the check before the recovery process is initiated.

Restore binaries from a read-only source, and do a complete wipe of the local system, starting with the master boot record--that's the only way to be sure.

Or, if all this button does is prompt the user to "Insert Recovery Disc 1", then I suppose that's fine...but not much of an "improvement" over the standard procedure.

_dandy_ said,
I seriously have to express doubt about this, especially in the context of cleaning up malware. If the binaries to restore from are on an attached disk, they're vulnerable, period. If a virus is already running, all bets are off as far as the integrity of even those recovery files goes--this system will be a juicy target, and no new system is without flaw or vulnerability.

MS can build something like hash tables for all those files, but if virus code is already executing (and exploiting a vulnerability), I don't see why it couldn't be made to alter the content of those tables so any modified file can't be made to appear valid to the system doing the check before the recovery process is initiated.

Restore binaries from a read-only source, and do a complete wipe of the local system, starting with the master boot record--that's the only way to be sure.

Or, if all this button does is prompt the user to "Insert Recovery Disc 1", then I suppose that's fine...but not much of an "improvement" over the standard procedure.


The malware bit was added by Brad - this will feature will not be used to remove malware and isn't a replacement for anti-virus software.

SoyoS said,

The malware bit was added by Brad - this will feature will not be used to remove malware and isn't a replacement for anti-virus software.

I wasn't suggesting this was any sort of replacement for a anti-virus. And you're right--I should've clued in...it would be unusual for MS to delude themselves into thinking that this was any sort of reliable method to clean a system after an infection.

Neowin editorialism strikes again.

As a PC support hobbyist, I'm looking forward to being able to charge people $100 to push that button.

As it stands now, people bring their PCs to me, and I do what teh big box stores do, format/re-install once confirming the system is munged up.

System reset is nice idea however this is not a solution to some poor security choices still present in Windows 7. Why is default user after installation still administrator? How many decaded will it take to finally change this nonsense? Default user MUST have standard user rights and Windows installation MUST ask user to create admininstrator password. Just look at Macs, Ubuntu or any other random distro which have it from begining. It's not a coincidence...

6205 said,
System reset is nice idea however this is not a solution to some poor security choices still present in Windows 7. Why is default user after installation still administrator? How many decaded will it take to finally change this nonsense? Default user MUST have standard user rights and Windows installation MUST ask user to create admininstrator password. Just look at Macs, Ubuntu or any other random distro which have it from begining. It's not a coincidence...

You're describing UAC.

This would be cool is for undoing a Malware infection. So sounds like they are planning for all the Malware infections to go on as usual... How about just a system restore option that works every time? Instead of the ol' 10% "sorry could not restore the system" message. Or the ability to somehow sandbox system restore so that Malware could not infect the process and you could run it from inside Windows every time instead of having to talk someone through the "system repair" option at boot up. Can someone tell me why when I try to remotely control someone they have to agree to about 3 of 4 separate prompts, but when Malware wants to get in all they need to do is click the wrong portion of a bad website? I'm still trying to figure out how all my customers manage to infect Windows 7 and I have a hard time doing it. I surf more rogue websites than all of them put together. Is it like "House" says? Everybody lies (about what they were doing when they got infected). Even Grandma? Sorry for the rant, I just can't contain myself sometimes.

jimmyfal said,
This would be cool is for undoing a Malware infection. So sounds like they are planning for all the Malware infections to go on as usual...

Because no matter how secure your system is there will always be Joe/Jane average who panicks when they get an internet pop up saying "OMG ur system is infected with wmplayer.exe stealyourinfo.win32!!! Scan now or the hackerz wiill take away ur life!!!" and click accept through avery security essentials/UAV prompt thinking they are keeping their PC safe.

Actually...it's a good idea MS has to have a button where it deletes all installed software and restores everything back to when it was first installed...

Cause if you wanted to sell your used computer.....just do the system reset...then just delete the cookies, browser history, and cache files..and it will make the computer easier to sell if you wanted to...and you wouldn't have to format the hard drive to take everything off.

It sounds like a great idea, but I really don't want this as a feature built into Windows. I would prefer they put this as a restore option on the Windows DVD instead, you know, away from malware...

Xinok said,
It sounds like a great idea, but I really don't want this as a feature built into Windows. I would prefer they put this as a restore option on the Windows DVD instead, you know, away from malware...
Sounds to reason that this would require elevated privileges, so malware shouldn't be an issue.

Singh400 said,
Sounds to reason that this would require elevated privileges, so malware shouldn't be an issue.
Yes, ALL that is needed is elevated privileges.

Microsoft stated themselves that UAC is not a security feature. I'm pretty sure there are known exploits to bypass UAC too. There are probably plenty of processes on your PC now running with elevated privileges, and malware just needs to exploit one of them to have the access necessary to "reset your system".

Building a "system reset" feature into Windows is just begging for trouble. Put it on the DVD where it can't be accessed by malware.

Xinok said,
Building a "system reset" feature into Windows is just begging for trouble. Put it on the DVD where it can't be accessed by malware.

Um the whole point of this is that you don't need the DVD anymore. I mean with the dvd you can already format + reinstall windows, or just upgrade and keep all your settings / files.

Why would you need to add a system reset to that when it's the exact same thing

/- Razorfold said,

Um the whole point of this is that you don't need the DVD anymore. I mean with the dvd you can already format + reinstall windows, or just upgrade and keep all your settings / files.

Why would you need to add a system reset to that when it's the exact same thing

It's not the same. The story claims it only takes a couple of minutes, and you can keep your user account information and personal files. The Windows DVD can either upgrade keeping all programs and settings (thereby resetting nothing), or do a fresh install and move everything to C:\Windows.old (you'll have to setup user accounts again and move your personal files out of that folder).

Another point I just thought of, if malware does infect your system, it can block this feature preventing you from resetting your system. What then?

Xinok said,
if malware does infect your system, it can block this feature preventing you from resetting your system. What then?

Direct access is unnecessary thanks to the Windows Recovery Environment (aka System Recovery) introduced with Vista. This interface is separate from Windows (so works even if System Restore doesn't) and can be launched from the F8 startup menu, the OS install DVD or a [url=http://windows.microsoft.com/e...em-repair-disc]user-created system repair disc[/url]. It provides various recovery functions including System Restore and the OEM's factory reset, so the Windows 8 version will presumably offer the reset feature there as well. The external nature of this recovery environment means it would be difficult for malware to interfere with it, and even in the worst-case scenario of malware somehow infecting the reset image it will probably be able to detect that and offer to copy it from external media instead.

So how many IT people out there think they are going to respond to a call about someone thinking system reset is the same thing as system restart. "I just wanted to restart my computer and now my files are all gone... Fix this please!"

Veritas1 said,
So how many IT people out there think they are going to respond to a call about someone thinking system reset is the same thing as system restart. "I just wanted to restart my computer and now my files are all gone... Fix this please!"
I'd imagine they would have several steps (like system restore) that makes it pretty clear that it isn't a system restart. Then again end users are thick.

A superlative idea!! This is, truly, a wonderful feature. An excellent point was made that it eliminates searching for the installation media and doing a "clean install," what with the formatting, extracting, and finally installation. I presume this copy of the code would be compressed into a special folder.

It would be so good if i finally saw some leaks that showed an addition to windows file database system. We have so many files now days and cant even tag half of them or create some kind of structure. Im really happy that idiots will be able to restore their PC when they once again they muckup...

I wonder if system reset will make Windows 8 clean or will it just bring back all manufacturer pre-installed crapware?

LaXu said,
I wonder if system reset will make Windows 8 clean or will it just bring back all manufacturer pre-installed crapware?

This is not an OEM feature.

psreloaded said,
This is not an OEM feature.

I believe could be a way to replace the current fractured OEM restore processes we have today. In which case, yes it probably would set things back as LaXu fears.

LaXu said,
I wonder if system reset will make Windows 8 clean or will it just bring back all manufacturer pre-installed crapware?

OEM's will create their own images so yes it will include 'crapware'.

It is always a learning experience to come to Neowin to bow down to the all the great minds of our times. It sure is good to know that there are folks here that can tell us average computer users (stupid noobies) how smart they are, and how they already know, or believe they know the out come of a new OS long (about 2 years) before it's release. Oh thank you "Great ones for your insights."/s

Walkie/Talkie said,
You have basically posted this same ignorant rant 3 times now. We get it.

Its good to see that you are in the same ignorant position as though in the know. . .without. . .

Pam14160 said,

Its good to see that you are in the same ignorant position as though in the know. . .without. . .

I haven't claimed to be "in the know" about anything regarding this topic. Only thing I am "in the know" about, is you posting the 3 same pointless rants, looking like a troll.

This will never work, malware will always find a way unfortunately, unless MS verify every single file on the machine and deals with rootkits during this process and that's going to take a hell of a lot longer than 2 minutes.

TheBlueRaja said,
This will never work, malware will always find a way unfortunately, unless MS verify every single file on the machine and deals with rootkits during this process and that's going to take a hell of a lot longer than 2 minutes.

I think you are confusing this with a restore. This will replace the files blindly deleting everything that was not in the original install. Or probably even better, it might keep a image of its factory condition and put that in removing whatever is there now.

psreloaded said,

I think you are confusing this with a restore. This will replace the files blindly deleting everything that was not in the original install. Or probably even better, it might keep a image of its factory condition and put that in removing whatever is there now.

And just like a system restore, these can be infected too.

Its a very good idea. I cant say Im going to need it but it will make it so much easier to fix installations for others. Just hope it doesn't go wrong like early version of restore did back in XP.

I believe all these leaks like I believe in the tooth fairy. Until the final product is released. Leaks mean squat.

all the screenshots coming out now are worthless it will be nothing like this at the end or even 6 months from now

Dusco25 said,
all the screenshots coming out now are worthless it will be nothing like this at the end or even 6 months from now

Yeah they'll fix the casing on the button to match the rest of windows.

It will take additional 8GB on HD to simply use this feature. For novice, it should not be a problem but for more seasoned users, formatting and clean install should not be a problem.

Auditor said,
It will take additional 8GB on HD to simply use this feature. For novice, it should not be a problem but for more seasoned users, formatting and clean install should not be a problem.

What, are you using a small 20GB hdd for your system drive or something? Even people who are on the bleeding edge and have a SSD as their system drive at least have a 60GB one (30GB is too small today). 8GB of extra free space needed isn't much anymore.

Auditor said,
It will take additional 8GB on HD to simply use this feature. For novice, it should not be a problem but for more seasoned users, formatting and clean install should not be a problem.

Eh, why would this take 8GB? The Windows image is only about 3GB, and it's not even needed. Microsoft can just restore the config data to default, and clean out some folders to only include files on some sort of list. Shouldn't take that much space at all.

Auditor said,
It will take additional 8GB on HD to simply use this feature. For novice, it should not be a problem but for more seasoned users, formatting and clean install should not be a problem.

ZzZz

Windows 8 PC would ship with something like 1TB+ HDD

Auditor said,
It will take additional 8GB on HD to simply use this feature. For novice, it should not be a problem but for more seasoned users, formatting and clean install should not be a problem.

But even for seasoned users, why should we have to waste time fiddling around with a re-install when a system reset might take a couple of minutes versus 60+ minutes for a full reinstall plus full format.

Auditor said,
It will take additional 8GB on HD to simply use this feature. For novice, it should not be a problem but for more seasoned users, formatting and clean install should not be a problem.

Where did you get that number. since MS themselves announced that this feature would work without using nearly any extra space.

or did you just assume, and assume that this worked like a disk image ...

System Reset means literally system reset. I assume Microsoft s serious about that. Great feature. Keep it up!

eagle06 said,
I hope it will also reset the winsxs folder

Considering winsxs is a folder that mainly contains hard links to shared libraries installed by patches and applications, I'd say yeah, it would be impossible to have the feature without 'cleaning' it.

eagle06 said,
I hope it will also reset the winsxs folder

on top of that, I'm not sure you understand how winsxs works and you probably think that it actually takes as much space as it reports.

Nimdock said,
I never use System Restore, in fact I always disable that... But this System Reset if real is quite interesting.

I used to too. TBH though I found it really quite useful. More so for other users computers who get them spyware programs which are a true **** to remove.

System restore has always been a fail IMO, it hasn't done much to return to a previous "un infected" state for many users when you have a malware infection which is mostly the reason why many would do a restore. I really would like to see Win8 pushed back a few more years to perfect how it works over Win7 as Win7 is already pretty stable but only needs a few more enhancements.

Again no capitalization on system reset, it has on System Restore. Also, I can't help noticing that screens like that could easily be recreated in a WinForms application (I know it isn't a fake as the source is trustworthy).

Mercy0001 said,
Again no capitalization on system reset, it has on System Restore. Also, I can't help noticing that screens like that could easily be recreated in a WinForms application (I know it isn't a fake as the source is trustworthy).

Here is another who, "Knows all, Sees all," and has come forth to educate us with their brilliant knowledge of things to come in the world of 'Windows 8.'

Mercy0001 said,
Again no capitalization on system reset, it has on System Restore. Also, I can't help noticing that screens like that could easily be recreated in a WinForms application (I know it isn't a fake as the source is trustworthy).

at this stage in development the copy is not yet finalized

Pam14160 said,

Here is another who, "Knows all, Sees all," and has come forth to educate us with their brilliant knowledge of things to come in the world of 'Windows 8.'

Someone **** in your corn flakes? Chill, the last two ppl were giving opinions... Lol

Mercy0001 said,
Again no capitalization on system reset, it has on System Restore. Also, I can't help noticing that screens like that could easily be recreated in a WinForms application (I know it isn't a fake as the source is trustworthy).

In the spanish version of Windows, it took from Windows 95 to Windows Vista to replace in the System Information's panel the word Display. In the spanish version it was wrongly translated Mostrar=Show. Now in Windows 7 it says Pantalla=Screen=Display.

KnightWolf said,

Someone **** in your corn flakes? Chill, the last two ppl were giving opinions... Lol

. . . so was I. I get tired of people who just have to say something silly like they are in the know of what Microsoft is going to do.

Pam14160 said,

. . . so was I. I get tired of people who just have to say something silly like they are in the know of what Microsoft is going to do.

Yeah but the thing is the Mercy dude wasn't even doing that, the previous guy maybe made an unsubstantiated comment yeah but Mercy was just pondering a lack of capitalization and the possibility of a fraudulent image. In fact he didn't mention Microsoft at all, so what the hell is your beef?

I get tired of people who are on some mad internet crusade to just be obnoxious of offensive, you fall into the very category of people who you claim to hate so much.

Insig said,
I doubt this does a full total-restore though.

You must bring forth your great knowledge of this subject matter, so we can learn from a master who is able to see that far into the future. In other words is there a source or just you blowing BS to the unlearned masses.

Insig said,
I doubt this does a full total-restore though.

I believe this will in fact do just that. When we first heard of this feature it was coupled with the idea that Windows would be reinstalled within 8 minutes or something. Correct me if I'm wrong. However, from the description, it looks as tho there will be a partition that will restore the system to factory settings and restore user accounts, settings, and files.

Pam14160 said,

You must bring forth your great knowledge of this subject matter, so we can learn from a master who is able to see that far into the future. In other words is there a source or just you blowing BS to the unlearned masses.

And you must bring forth your great reading skills.

If you'd had properly read my comment you'd have noticed 'doubt' which implies I was unsure.

Aethec said,
This + Ninite.com == WIN.

Ninite.com, Teamviewer and Dropbox are best inventions since Coca Cola and democracy!

Aethec said,
This + Ninite.com == WIN.

I just got a new computer, and what should happen but you post this! Thanks for making my life a bit easier =)

Sumi said,

Ninite.com, Teamviewer and Dropbox are best inventions since Coca Cola and democracy!


since when the democracy is a good invention? national socialism had a better concept

It's confirmation that the feature already exists. The appearance is the least important thing at this stage.

warwagon said,
This is neat and everything, but how many of these images will still look the same by the time Windows 8 Beta 2 arrives?

Wow all you care about is a user interface... Depressing. This is probably from M1 or M2, what makes you think that this is the latest Microsoft has or that everything Microsoft has done is in one branch that everybody working on Microsoft sees? They split everything up into several branches and have several people work on several different part of Windows 8.

The UI is critical and will stay hidden until Microsoft really wants to show it.

warwagon said,
This is neat and everything, but how many of these images will still look the same by the time Windows 8 Beta 2 arrives?


first of all, who the hell, people, told you its gonne be called windows _8_ ? or maybe they are really getting dumb and might as well call it like that for real

and second, its its such an early stage, the visuals worry them the least, they are now implementing the new features, does my answer satisfy you?

allwynd said,


first of all, who the hell, people, told you its gonne be called windows _8_ ? or maybe they are really getting dumb and might as well call it like that for real

and second, its its such an early stage, the visuals worry them the least, they are now implementing the new features, does my answer satisfy you?

No

warwagon said,
This is neat and everything, but how many of these images will still look the same by the time Windows 8 Beta 2 arrives?

It is a button with words next to it....the picture doesn't even show to full dialog box. What will people worry about next? The font used by the Start menu? If it actually works as expected and can remove malware durring a reset then this feature is great for those who don't know how to reinstall an OS or don't want to take the time.

sphbecker said,

It is a button with words next to it....the picture doesn't even show to full dialog box. What will people worry about next? The font used by the Start menu? If it actually works as expected and can remove malware during a reset then this feature is great for those who don't know how to reinstall an OS or don't want to take the time.

In other news "Nokia Changes it's font"

http://www.neowin.net/news/nokia-changes-its-font

allwynd said,


first of all, who the hell, people, told you its gonne be called windows _8_ ? or maybe they are really getting dumb and might as well call it like that for real

and second, its its such an early stage, the visuals worry them the least, they are now implementing the new features, does my answer satisfy you?

You just need to do a quick search of this and many other sites that explain fully where their fully explicit sources are.

In a press release, a Microsoft employee mentioned that, perhaps you ought to Google things before swearing at people for saying something you're not sure of.