Windows 8 computers can be reset to their original factory settings in two ways. The first option, a refresh, allows users to keep their personalized settings and downloaded apps. Everything else is deleted and returned to factory settings. The second option, a full reset, deletes all of the computer's settings, apps and files and returns the settings to what they were when the computer was first purchased.
Before performing a refresh or a reset, Digital Trends strongly recommends first backing up the computer's data. All files, photos, documents and passwords can be backed up manually or by using either a software program or external hard drive.
To perform a refresh, open the Charms Bar and select "Change PC Settings." Go to the "Update and Recovery" tab and select "Recovery" from the left sidebar. The first option on the recovery page is "Refresh." After clicking on the "Get Started" button, windows open that serve as a guide through the refresh process. The Microsoft support website notes that once the refresh process starts, it finishes on its own, but users may be asked to insert recovery media, which could be located on a thumb drive or DVD, depending on the particular PC.
The button for the reset option is also located under the "Update and Recovery" tab. In this section, simply click on "Remove everything and reinstall Windows" to restore windows to its original, out-of-the-box state. Both the reset and refresh options work for Windows versions 8 and 8.1.