How to REFRESH the Windows RT on Surface tablet without losing apps [Tutorial]


Microsoft Surface RT runs on the Windows RT (Windows 8 on ARM) which comes with many restrictions like the no support for x86 legacy (desktop) apps and many more. Also, Windows RT can’t be installed from an external source like a USB/DVD or .ISO as Windows RT doesn’t come in external sources. It can only be installed by Microsoft in Surface so, you don’t have the option to re-install the Windows RT on your Surface.

But, you can refresh your Windows RT installation on the Surface tablet which would refresh the core installation files of Windows RT to original condition and your installed apps are also preserved along with your customizations. Refresh feature works like a re-installation of Windows 8/RT but, is less complicated and doesn’t remove the apps and customizations from your Windows PC. Refresh features is also much fast as compared to the complete fresh installation.

You can refresh your Surface with Windows RT by following the instructions below.

Disclaimer: Proceed with the refresh on your own risk. Windows8Core or its team won’t be held responsible if, you mess up with your Surface and Windows RT. We don’t have a gun to your head to follow the instructions.

Note: It’s always better to take backup of your important data before making any changes to the OS.


  • First of all, go to the Start Screen of Windows RT and swipe from right and then, select ‘Settings’.
  • You Settings Charm will open. Here select ‘Change PC Settings’.

  • PC Settings will open. Here navigate to ‘General’ tab and look for ‘Refresh your PC without affecting your files’. Press ‘Get Started’ button under that.

  • Now, the Windows will check your Surface for requirements and then, you would be told that you are ready to refresh your PC. Press ‘Refresh’ to start.

Note: If, Windows shows that the required files are missing then, you will have to refresh your Windows from recovery mode. Follow the instructions found here to go to recovery mode on your Surface tablet.

  • Your Windows RT on Surface should start the refresh process. Your Surface will restart few times so, don’t worry.
  • After about 10 – 20 minutes, your Surface should boot again into Windows and would be ready to use. The best thing is that your installed apps would also be there.
  • That’s all.

 If, you have any face any problem with the Surface during the refresh procedure, leave it in the comments and we would be happy to help you sort it out.

You may visit our Surface Tips & Tweaks section for more tips, tricks and tweaks about Surface tablet.


Ahmad Wahid

Being a University student of computer, has developed keen interest in technology and like to test out the new gadgets. His interests include Social Networking as well.