I bought an Windows 8 Upgrade License after it was released (April, 2012) and installed it in my computer. When Windows 8.1 was released, I received it through Windows Update. Now I'm facing the Black Screen of Death after Login. I need to perform a Refresh (without losing my files) and it asks for a Bootable Media.

  • The files I still have are from 2012 and I tried to put it in a Flash Drive and Refresh from it, but Windows says it's not a valid media.
  • If I boot said Flash Drive and try to perform a Refresh on Windows, it says the drive is locked (because it was booted from USB rather than C:).

Now I'm wondering:

  • If I download Windows 8.0 media from Microsoft Website and try to refresh Windows 8.1, will it work or will it be incompatible?
  • Can I use a Windows 8.1 media installer from another person to refresh my computer?

No; You cannot;

Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 kernel is different. Sadly Microsoft never communicated this and does not actually ever offer you a chance to create an .ISO of Windows 8.1 when the update is installed.

This means the installation disk you have won't allow you to refresh your computer. You will need a Windows 8.1 installation disk of the same type as your current installation to Refresh/Reset your computer.

Its also a good idea to update the Refresh image itself once you have your system in a state you want it. You should store this image on the system disk and on another disk as a backup.

  • After reading your answer I decided to download a "clean" windows 8.1 ISO from the pirate bay (without crack or key gen) and used Rufus.exe to create a bootable USB ISO. It worked perfectly. My original key is still in use since I didn't use the downloaded ISO for a clean install. – Marco Aurélio Deleu Oct 29 '14 at 1:29
  • That is very good news. – Ramhound Oct 29 '14 at 1:34

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