Windows 8 got its Refresh function triggered -- automatic trigger possible?

Discussion in 'Operating Systems' started by Cerulean, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. Cerulean

    Cerulean [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Greetings,

    We have a user at a remote location 4500 miles away from Corporate (and I happen to be there with him). According to the user, when he powered his laptop on last night it took like 30 minutes to boot, and then when he logged in everything on his Start Menu and Desktop was gone, and programs like Skype and VMware View Client were gone too.

    I took a look at it this morning when we met at a Company facility, and found a "Removed Apps.html" file on his Desktop as well as a couple folders and one DOCX that are his (he says he has not done anything on his laptop since powering on the laptop to find 'everything missing'). The "Removed Apps.html" appears to be generated by Windows, and only appears on the Desktop under the generic User account that exists on the laptop that this user uses. The header of this HTML file is "Apps removed while refreshing your PC".

    This is the list of "Apps removed while refreshing your PC":
    • Google Chrome
    • Google Earth
    • Java 7 Update 10 (64-bit)
    • Java 7 Update 11
    • Microsoft Silverlight
    • Microsoft SkyDrive
    • Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable - x64 9.0.30729.6161
    • Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable - x86 9.0.30729.6161
    • Mozilla Firefox 18.0.1 (x86 en-US)
    • Mozilla Maintenance Service
    • Skype Click to Call
    • Skype 6.1
    • VMware View Client

    According to some Googling I did on the keywords of the header, 'Refresh' is a function in Windows 8 that will basically reinstall the entire operating system while retaining user files. Is there any way possible that this 'Refresh' function might have been triggered automatically or accidentally?
     
  2. Tsumi

    Tsumi [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I don't think there's a way for it to function automatically, because I'm sure that will piss off a lot of users.

    It's easy to trigger accidentally. It's found in the Metro settings menu, under General. The description says:
    So it isn't clear right away that it will remove user installed programs.

    When you click get started, this dialog box shows up:
    If you skim through only the first lines, you won't know that refresh will remove all of the programs.

    The option can also be accessed if the computer is having trouble booting into the OS. It is one of 3 primary options in case of boot failure. The other two options are Remove everything and reinstall Windows, and Advanced Options, which will lead to the other normal bootup repair options like command prompt and safe mode menu.

    I'm not sure what other circumstances it can appear, those two methods are the only way I know how to access it. It may be possible that a piece of malware got into his computer and triggered it, but I have not heard of anything that can do that.
     
  3. MrCrispy

    MrCrispy 2[H]4U

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    Refresh is a useless and extremely dangerous operation for 99.99% of users, since it only makes sense for Windows RT users, and anyone else - desktop pc, hybrid, Surface Pro, will lose all their apps.

    It really is nothing more than a shortcut to run a manual install - all the settings which are preserved are synced to your MS account anyway.
     
  4. heatlesssun

    heatlesssun [H]ard as it Gets

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    Actually this is a pretty cool feature because it:

    1) KEEPS YOUR FILES
    2) Retains Windows Store Apps
    3) Creates a list of desktop apps that are removed. You can at least know what desktops apps were on the PC before it got wiped.

    Not really sure how this could have been triggered, maybe there is some wicked virus out there, but it doesn't look like he had much installed on the device and he still has his files and you know the desktop apps installed before this happened. Again, this is a much better situation than straight up reformat. Definitely do a virus scan of any files that are going to kept.
     
  5. Zinn

    Zinn Pronouns: ze, zis, zit

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    He's lying. It didn't automatically get triggered, he's just trying to save face.
     
  6. heatlesssun

    heatlesssun [H]ard as it Gets

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    Perhaps he's not lying but something happened and he just isn't certain. It's hard to believe that his is malware related though.
     
  7. LoStMaTt

    LoStMaTt 2[H]4U

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    The guy probably did it on accident while trying to figure out how to restart, reboot, "refresh". Its all the same to non-technical users.
     
  8. ThreeDee

    ThreeDee [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I have a computer out in my garage on a table top with the keyboard on top of the tower .. every time I go out there, there is all kinds of odd stuff up on my screen ... my cat likes to jump up on the table out there and prance on the keyboard (one of those usb "indestructable" flexible keyboards that lights up).

    ...maybe .... just maybe ... my cat was over at OP's house and ... well ... if you watch a lot of CSI, I'm sure you can connect the dots ...
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2013
  9. Domingo

    Domingo [H]ard as it Gets

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    I was hoping for a way to refresh things like your "all programs" icons and your music library. Seems like every time I move anything around I have to either reboot or wait for 5-10 minutes for anything to show up.
     
  10. sbabster

    sbabster n00b

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    Im fixing a windows8 toshiba laptop, and the user is certain that an auto refresh happened after a scheduled windows update. I can't seem to find much on a triggered refresh event aside from this post. Did you ever find out any more information as to how it happened?
     
  11. Fort_Major

    Fort_Major Limp Gawd

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    Google says it can't happen and [H] is saying it can't happen, therefore it can't happen.

    I say we take the cat into custody for questioning.
     
  12. FearXI

    FearXI Limp Gawd

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    Oh god I hoping (and guessing by posts thankful) this doesn't happen.
    I have a bunch of free software that I can never get back if this would happen.

    Guess I better export the registry and back up the programs on an external drive to be safe.

    So far I know I had the option to do it once when I first got Win 8 and screwed something up bad (heh learning) but I had to actually select the refresh.
     
  13. Tsumi

    Tsumi [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Given the amount of hate for Windows 8 on the internet, I'm pretty sure that if an unwanted automatic refresh was happening, it would be hyped up and all over the internet. The fact that it isn't seems more like an issue of PEBKAC.
     
  14. odoe

    odoe Madministrator Staff Member

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    Worst thing I had happen was it had me go through a "setup" again after an update, such as pick my colors and what not and it looked like a refresh, but after a reboot is went back to normal, except the color scheme. No apps removed or data lost.
     
  15. jimh425

    jimh425 Gawd

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    I was noticing the other day how easy it is to get to that "Refresh" menu. I'd probably look into removing the option if I was support for Windows 8 systems. My guess is that there should be more info on the Microsoft site about changing/removing the option.

    So far, my wife hasn't found the option though. :)
     
  16. Domingo

    Domingo [H]ard as it Gets

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    I could be as simple as someone sending him a batch file that triggers that function.
    I remember back in the 90's that viruses weren't half the problem that batch files were. People would just send deltree command batch files to random computer neophytes and "poof" - their computer started deleting everything.
     
  17. Cerulean

    Cerulean [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I tried doing it on purpose to one of our VDIs one day, but wasn't successful as it had asked for the Windows 8 disk to be inserted to actually go ahead with a Refresh.
     
  18. FearXI

    FearXI Limp Gawd

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    You could put all major programs on a secondary drive so if you need to refresh or somehow trigger one on your own you could create new shortcuts.

    I just did this after reading this post the other day.
    Also backed up my registry in case the refreshes also wipe that as well.

    Just an idea if this person happens to have these "sudden" refreshes happening more often.