Excellent article by Fred Langa!
All great stuff in the article. Well worth the read. Be aware, that of course, you still need a source but as long as your hard drive is in good shape for a refresh, but it looks like Microsoft really did a cool thing and gives you the ability to create a recimg.exe - a recovery image.
Greatest take away for me is:
Some PCs come with a manufacturer’s recovery image installed on the hard drive or on DVD. Refresh can use that image to restore both the OS and the manufacturer’s software and drivers.
Better yet, Refresh can use custom system images created with recimg.exe, a command-line tool unique to Win8 (see MS Support article 2748351 for more info). If the custom image you created included third-party apps, Win8 will restore those apps as part of the refresh process.
I’ll cover recimg.exe and custom system images more fully in an upcoming article. For now, let’s complete our walk-through.
The other things Fred covered I already knew about, including the very cool feature of being able to make use of Windows 7 Create System image, create System Repair Disc, and standard Windows Backups features instead of the ones built into Windows 8. All very cool stuff.
But this recimg.exe intrigued me since it's new to Windows 8.
I found a great blog post about this recimag.exe at MSDN Blogs, Create a Windows 8 image with recimg.exe to preserve your Desktop apps after a refresh
mkdir C:\RefreshImage recimg /CreateImage C:\RefreshImage recimg /ShowCurrent
More about recimg at Microsoft Support - which also outlines that after a restore of this type, you may have to remove and install a new printer to get the printer to function right under Devices and Printers.