I recently did an update of my machine from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1. The update process did not show any errors or warnings and by the time it finished I was under the impression that everything went smooth.

Due to some issues I need to refresh my PC.

Once I clicked Refresh My PC the verification process started and indeed it told my that some system files are missing.

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The Windows 8.0 install media does not work. Since I upgraded from the Store, I don't have the Windows 8.1 media.

I tried creating the Windows 8.1 media as instructed here. It downloads the WindowsSetupBox.exe program, and prompts for a product key. I entered my Windows 8 product key, but it does not work.

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How can I refresh my 8.1 machine? As a recap my situation is I was a Windows 8 owner and upgraded to Windows Blue. Because I upgraded from the Windows Store, I don't have an 8.1 product key or the installation media.


3 Answers 3


The article HOW TO: Download Windows 8.1 ISO Image describes how one can download the Windows 8.1 ISO using the Windows 8 serial. Windows will detect this ISO when you initiate a refresh, or you can attempt to repair your installation via a Repair Install.

This operation is dangerous and can leave you with a crippled installation. Before starting, backup all your data and create a system restore point, just in case. Create also a backup of all your drivers, using for example Driver Magician Lite. Copy the backups elsewhere than on your system disk.

Even better, create a system image of your entire hard disk using for example AOMEI Backupper. In case of serious problems, you may need to Create an AOMEI Bootable CD or USB Flash Drive

The procedure follows :

  1. Download the setups for both Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 from this page.
  2. Execute Windows8-Setup.exe. Enter your Windows 8 serial key and press Next whenever it asks. Once the download begins, pause it and close the window using the standard X close button.
  3. Execute WindowsSetupBox.exe now. The download will restart from scratch and you’ll have the Windows 8.1 ISO image instead of the Windows 8 ISO image

You could follow this with the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool to write the ISO to USB (works also for Windows 8) from which to boot.

  • This seems to be working. I just want to add that it wasn't clear when to cancel out. The screen immediately following this one said something like "Getting things ready" and had an option to pause. I paused it and closed the window using the standard X close button. Jan 14, 2014 at 19:51

Since the "Refresh" option doesn't work, you might have to reboot your computer into the UEFI's troubleshooter. Try going through this first, but if that doesn't work, the procedure below may help.

Most computers I've used have a recovery partition which is accessed by loading the troubleshooter at boot. To get there, you will need to shutdown completely (which can either be done by choosing "Restart," typing "shutdown /s /f /t 0" at the command prompt, or removing all power). After that, you should see something briefly upon boot that says, "Press for System Information..." or a similar message. If not, the buttons are likely F1, F2, F12, or ESC. Hopefully one of those brings you to some more options to revert to Windows 8.

  • I don't want to revert to 8. Thats the whole issue. I just need to fix my Windows 8.1 installation.
    – Zaid Amir
    Nov 28, 2013 at 11:07
  • Sorry, I must have misunderstood. Given that, I'm not entirely sure how to repair it without reverting to Windows 8, then re-upgrading to 8.1.
    – Hari
    Nov 28, 2013 at 19:21

So I was having the same trouble as you have. I had pre-installed OEM windows 8.1. But then I used my university key to make it a licensed windows 8. When I wanted to refresh my PC it also prompted me to insert a media (and had none). I searched so i found this:

  1. Open command prompt in administrator mode (by right clicking the windows logo on the bottom left of the screen.
  2. mkdir C:\RefreshImage and hit Enter.
  3. recimg -CreateImage C:\RefreshImage and hit Enter. (This thing will take some time(for me it took 6 hours). Also make sure you have around 40-50 GB free space.

And then try to refresh your PC again. It worked for me.

for further details follow this post : http://www.gizmag.com/how-to-windows-8-pc-refresh-reset/32801/

I hope it helps.

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