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System Refresh is an Involved Process


I had a couple of minor issues with my Surface RT and as I was making my way through them I thought that I might try the 'Refresh' option. It indicates that it leaves all of your data and simply refreshes the OS. Sounded good. I have been using my Surface since its release date and a 'refresh' might be a good thing. I had no idea how involved and time consuming the process would be. First, I had to clear disk space. The refresh process needed just shy of 8GB. I incorrectly assumed that it needed that space to file swap with. It turns out that the refresh option simply re creates the OS in that unused space. When the process is done, the new OS is in that space you created and you have about 1.5GB remaining. As you know, you cannot do anything with the RT and less than 2GB. I had to fight my way to the control panel to get to the clean disk program and then delete old versions of Windows under the system files option. That cleared up 11GB right there. Once I had operating space and functionality returned to the Surface, I could get to the updating. It turns out that it refreshes to its originally installed state. So all of the subsequent updates needed to be downloaded and recompiled. All in all the process took several hours and lots of patience. I would not do it again unless there was some sort of performance issue. I did learn a lot though. I had no idea how many GB of old Windows system files were kept as restore point data. Getting rid of that has really cleared up drive space. Oh, and your data is all there right where you left it when the process is complete. Nice. :)
That does sound involved and classically Windows!:big smile:

Edit: Btw, did you notice whether your RT operates better? Smoother? Less issues etc.?
It feels pretty snappy now, however, I write most of that off to the freed up space. I like to have about 3GB available at all times. The system gets noticeably sluggish around 2GB. Anyway, I was at about 2.3GB when I started this whole endeavor. I had freed it up to about 5GB by deleting podcasts when I decided to try the refresh. I have not noticed anything different yet, though I'll note it down when/if I notice anything.
This is where the MicroSD card helps. I have moved all my music, documents and videos onto it. I also linked it up to the Libraries which allows for easy access. The only thing that I have not done as of now is to set the microSD card as a the target download destination. I would like to do this and instructions are freely available on the web, but I am holding off to see if MS enables this in a future update (which they probably won't). The other reason for my holding off is because if I do the necessary linking and MS changes something in any future update, then I will have to undo the entire process...and I am fundamentally lazy!
Absolutely, which is why I got myself a Class10 64GB card the day the RT arrived. Works well (touch wood!) and I am keeping the internal storage as free as possible though I am not really big into apps etc. But yeah... the SD expansion is a must!
<snip> The only thing that I have not done as of now is to set the microSD card as a the target download destination.<snip>

Easy, been doing this for years...

Open up the Properties for Favorites/Downloads and then manually change the Target to a folder on your micro SD card.
I reset mine out of boredom... and yes while it is a smooth process it is time consuming.
Yep, I was in the same situation and did a refresh. I couldn't figure out where all my hard drive space went, turns out I had 10GB taken up by past windows installations. Annoying.
I reset mine out of boredom... and yes while it is a smooth process it is time consuming.

But did you notice any improvement in how your system runs (assuming of course that there were no problems in the first place)? Did your system seem smoother?