This is not my own work but I think that it is important enough to put out..
What Windows 8 refresh does..
When you refresh the computer here is what it does.
a) Your files and personalization settings won’t change.
b) Your PC settings will be changed back to their defaults.
c) Apps from Windows Store will be kept.
d) Apps you installed from discs or websites will be removed.
e) A list of removed apps will be saved on your desktop.
Using Refresh will restore the system to the same condition as when it was first installed, before you installed all of your programs/apps. This cannot be undone. You will need to reinstall the programs that were removed.
On your desktop, you should see a file that lists all of the programs/apps that were removed.
When Windows 8 is installed it creates a baseline Refresh Image (install.wim). Since this image is created prior to installing any Desktop Apps, using that Refresh Image removes everything that was not part of the initial installation. This is why your programs/apps were removed.
It is recommended, after installing Windows 8 and all of your other Apps, that you create a Custom Refresh Image.
When you do this, the Custom Refresh Image will be used whenever you refresh the computer and you will not lose all of the software programs/apps that you have manually installed.
To create a Custom Refresh Image, perform the following steps.
Important: Exit all running programs. If you are using a portable computer, plug in the AC Adapter while you create the image.
1. On the Search box, type cmd
2. In the results, right click cmd and select Run As Administrator icon on the Apps Bar.
3. In the command window, type the following command.
recimg.exe /createimage C:\RecoveryImage
(Note the 2 spaces in the command)
The creation process will show 4 steps.
Initializing – 100%
Creating Snapshot – 100%
Writing Image – 100%
Registering Image – 100%
Note: The Writing step will not start immediately and will take approximately 30 – 45 minutes to complete, the other 3 steps are very quick.
After the command completes, open Windows Explorer and navigate to the C:\RecoveryImage folder. You should see a file namedCustomRefresh.wim.
It’s recommended that you create a custom refresh image occasionally to update any changes you have made to the computer.