Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Restore Windows Services, Registry to factory settings

2:26 PM

RefreshPC is an simple application that claims to restore the Windows 8 registry entries, Windows Services, clear Temp files, clear the Prefetch files. It’s hard to say what exactly this program does it in background, since there is no log what so ever. We have to trust the developer with the process. The earlier version had lot of red flags from lot of trusted Antivirus programs. So I was very cautions about running this application. First I uploaded the application to Virus Total and did a full scan. No antivirus flagged it as malware or potentially dangerous. You can find its findings here.

The Refresh PC or Reset PC is a very useful feature in Windows 8. But before you try that you may want to try this freeware, RefreshPC. This tool will reset only the Windows OS Registry settings and the Windows Services settings to their default values.

So the big question is “When do I run this application?”

Under normal circumstances you don’t need to run the application – i.e. if you’re computer is running fine then leave it alone. But let’s say you messed up with the Windows Services or Windows Registry settings. On such occasions before a reinstall you can try this application as a last resort. The good thing is that the application will prompt to you to create a System Restore point. Please don’t not continue without it. The other scenario is, when you run some registry cleaner application and messed up your computer. If you don’t have a registry backup then you can run this as a last resort. Since it claims to restore Windows registry let’s hope this does the trick.

When I installed this application, it did not install any toolbar or any other application. But I did find a warning at Softpedia. Users are advised to pay attention while installing this ad-supported application:
  1. Offers to change the homepage for web browsers installed in the system
  2. Offers to change the default search engine for web browsers installed in the system
  3. Offers to download or install software or components that the program does not require to fully function
This happens when it’s a location-based install.

I decided to use this tool with the Process Explorer open so that I could find out where it goes and what it does. I didn’t find anything suspicious though it did access a lot of Registry keys, Access controls, etc. I believe they are using WMI based commands to reset everything back to stock settings. So in case if you have WMI disabled or not working, this tool will not work for you. Once you complete the scan you’ll get this window. Don’t worry about the numbers - it is the default for all Windows 8 machines.

After running the tool, I rebooted the system and something really strange had happened!

My classic Control Panel no longer opened. It gave me some ‘Could not find shortcut” error message. Then my laptop was not connecting to my network nor was it slowing my ‘list of available networks. I tried to use ‘netsh wlan show profile’ command so that I could rebuild the profile, but it was empty. Seems like it deleted my wlan profiles and it was not creating a new one.

I had created a System Restore point, but it failed to restore the system. So I ended up reformatting my system and installed Windows 8 from scratch.

The problem I have with this application is that there is no log.

In my opinion any application which make system changes should provide a log that tell us the changes it has made to your system.

Source : http://www.thewindowsclub.com/

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