After a couple of years of good service, my trusty Surface Pro was starting to show signs of instability and sluggishness recently which is often the case with a Windows PC whose OS innards are a bit of a mess. In my case I think it was in part due to Visual Studio and SQL Server which both were regularly updated.
In any case, I decided now was a good time to start things from scratch and “refresh” my Surface Pro. In Windows 8/8.1 the process of “refreshing” your PC is effectively a reinstall of the operating system with the caveat that your own personal files on the machine are retained, unlike the traditional “reinstall” process. Any installed apps will be removed; it is an easy task to restore those that came from the Windows Store but the rest you need to do manually.
Though the Surface Pro has a recovery partition, it is for Windows 8 which was what the machine original came installed with. Once that initial process completes, the user is prompted to install additional updates which are required to get the machine up to the latest version (Windows 8.1 Update). All in all, that can take at least three to four hours from start to finish.
Though there is still plenty of things I need to do (Windows backs up some settings to the cloud but not all), it is already apparent that my Surface Pro is back to being a speedy little machine again. With the prospect of Windows 10 arriving later this year it bodes well for the continued viability of the hardware which is great news.