RefreshPC, Reset Registry And Services

Martin Brinkmann
May 23, 2011
Updated • Jun 25, 2018
Software, Windows software

If you are following the news on Microsoft's upcoming operating system Windows 8 you may know that the Redmond company is planning to add a restore to factory defaults option to the next version of the Windows OS.

When you press that button, the system is returned to its initial state; handy for public systems but also for users who encounter errors and problems that they cannot seem to fix.

You had to re-install the operating system from scratch previously if you ran into errors that you could not fix on the live system, or restore backups.

Refresh PC

Refresh PC is a free program for Windows that adds a similar restoration option to current Microsoft operating systems. The freeware does not restoring the whole system like Windows 8's feature but only select parts of it.

Refresh PC offers to restore all Registry settings and system services to their default state. Say you have used Windows tweakers or manually edited the Registry; later you found out that the settings caused problems that you cannot seem to fix anymore.

Another example would be a virus attack or other malicious code that changed system settings. And while you managed to clean the malware from your system, you may not know which Registry settings you need to change to restore the system to its previous state.

That's where RefreshPc offers to help as it can reset those settings when you run it.

You need to install the program after you have downloaded it. The program recommends to create a System Restore point when you run it which you should create unless you are using other means of backup. Just make sure you have a backup in reach in case you need to restore your system.

The program detects your operating system and version on startup, and displays the information in the program interface.

The interface itself has only one button; a click on the button restores the settings to their factory defaults when activated.

RefreshPC restores the Registry settings and system services, and cleans the temp folders and prefetch files at the same time. There is no option to select only some of the options. When you press the button all actions are carried out.

Refreshing the system services will restore the services to their initial values. The Registry refresh requires some explanation. The program will only reset Registry settings that ship with Windows. It will not reset keys that have been added by third party installations.

RefreshPC can be a handy tool if other means of restoration like using system restore or backups have not been successful. The program can only be used if it is possible to boot into the Windows installation, which limits its reach somewhat. An option to only select some of the refresh options in the interface would be handy as well.

The Registry refreshing requires some explanation as it is not really explained anywhere. The program does not create a log file that would provide you with a list of executed tasks which makes it quite problematic.

The program resets only some Registry entries and some Windows services. It won't replace the Registry with a pristine copy but will change core keys and values to default settings only.

What those are? Raymond has a full list but core values include several Internet Explorer settings, hardware settings, and other core operating system settings that are important.

The application is compatible with all 32-bit and 64-bit editions of the Windows operating system, from Windows XP to Windows 7. It can be downloaded from the developer website.

Closing Words

RefreshPC does not replace backups as it modifies only select Registry entries and executes some other tasks. While that may be all that is required to get the system back on track, it is not as thorough as restoring the system from a backup or using Windows' reset functionality if available.

Still, if you don't have backups but need to reset you may want to give it a try. Make sure you backup the system before you run the software though.

Update: Refresh PC 2.0 has been released. You can read the review here.

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  1. Carsten said on March 7, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    This tool seemed to be a brilliant idea. So I downloaded it. My rule no. one is I’m checking all downloads at VT. To my surprise – and I’m sorry to say, it showed a Detection ratio, 7 out of 43. The result was analyzed at Virus Total the 2012-03-07 15:53:38 UTC:

    DrWeb – Adware.Zugo.83
    Emsisoft – Riskware.Win32.Toolbar.Zugo.AMN!A2
    eSafe – Win32.Trojan
    NOD32 – a variant of Win32/Toolbar.Zugo
    PCTools – Trojan.ADH
    Symantec – Trojan.ADH.2
    VIPRE – Trojan.Win32.Generic!BT

    Link to Result:

    File name analyzed: refreshpcinstall.exe
    SHA256: 3049f5f14831bf0bbd5fd104a3a903de21e2e9bc5383148cf1f4370bb6f3e42f
    My Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 didn’t respond when I downloaded the tool. But any way, the VT Ratio – 7 out of 43 which are also respected Security Company’s… I therefore have to dump this tool – what a big shame

  2. Danny Wareham said on May 24, 2011 at 10:31 pm


    I have been noticing your postings all over the internet lately since RefreshPC came out. You seem to go around to websites and posting negative information above acting like you know what you are talking about.

    Superfast Shutdown is an very popular utility. Sometimes it gets false positives because of the API call used to shutdown the PC. However the program is harmless and does not contain any trojan at all.

    In addition, Superfast Shutdown has been downloaded from over 57,000 times from this site alone.

    RefreshPC is safe also. It does get a false positive right now from NOD32 and I am working with Eset to take care of this. In the software world, false positives happen more frequently than you know.

    I removed superfast shutdown because my host shutdown my website for about an hour or 2 one day. Once they investigated it, they put the site back up when they found that Superfast Shutdown was harmless. However, I voluntarily removed it because I didn’t want it to happen again.

    Thank you,

    Danny Wareham
    WareSoft Software

  3. Ruchir said on May 24, 2011 at 8:43 am

    2011/02/8_03:06 Trojan

    Different app same developer.Actually many AVs detected it and it had to be removed from its website to a third party site.Either AVs which forced it to remove it were wrong or at least in past developer was in trojan manufacturing business which I hope not but may not be impossible.I wish he is clean but a VT check with superfast.exe and/or by checking old installer at Wayback machine may fix the issue and clarify.

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