CAUTION: You May Lose Reset/Refresh if You Upgrade to Windows 8.1


Recommended Posts

Nazmus Shakib Khandaker

I have discovered a major problem in upgrading to Windows 8.1 from a retail install of Windows 8. To help as many users be aware of this problem, I am posting this topic in various places, solely to help the community. I have nothing to gain from this. I also spent hours trying to find a good solution, and Alhamdullillah, I found one! I posted this as s reply to this post. I hope you find this beneficial.

 

 

ready-to-refresh-windows-8-1.png?w=576&h

 

I am reporting to you with a very important precaution for anyone who has Windows 8 retail and is planning to upgrade to Window 8.1 for free through the Windows Store. This is serious because you may loose the ability to refresh or reset Windows once you do the upgrade, and there is no easy way to fix this, currently.This applies to every one who bought and installed a retail copy of Windows 8 (including those who took advantage of the $40 upgrade offer).

 

Here?s a quick background on what the reset and refresh functionality is. Basically, it is a ?push-button? reinstallation of Windows. The refresh option allows you to reinstall Windows while keeping your files and settings intact, and the reset option allows you to do a easy, once-click, clean install of Windows. This feature is very important, as you might need to reinstall your OS if you are experiencing slowdowns or are infected by a computer virus.

 

If you have purchased and installed a retail copy of Windows 8 and have upgraded to Windows 8.1, you have essentially lost this crucial feature, Please see below for details on this. Below, please refer to the scenario that applies to you. You either upgraded to Windows 8 electronically or used an upgrade DVD or ISO.

 

If You Installed Windows 8 Electronically from Windows.com

Many have installed Windows 8 electronically from Microsoft. This includes many who took advantage of the $40 upgrade offer. If you have done this, the web installer created an ESD file on your hard drive that allowed you to refresh or reset your Windows 8 PC.

The ESD file is located in a hidden ESD folder on your main drive (usually the C drive). It is a few gigabytes in size and provides all the necessary files needed to reset or refresh you PC at anytime you needed. See the image below:

windows-esd-files-to-refresh-and-reset-3

You were also given the option to delete the ESD file using Disk Cleanup if you wanted to free up some disk space, but that would mean you would loose the ability to refresh or reset.

windows-esd-installation-file-in-disk-cl

  After You Install Windows 8.1 Through the Windows Store

When you upgrade to Windows 8.1 through the Windows Store, you are not provided with an updated ESD file. Windows 8.1 cannot use the original Windows 8.0 ESD file to reset or refresh. As such, if you attempt to refresh or reset Windows 8.1, you will see this error message, asking you for the Install media. However, you were never provided the install media and you are stuck! Please see the image below:

how-to-reset-or-refresh-windows-8-withou

  If You Installed Windows 8 from a DVD or ISO Image

You might have purchased a Windows 8 upgrade DVD from a retailer. Alternatively, you might have purchased Windows 8 upgrade electronically from Microsoft, but, instead, you might have created an ISO image, burned it to disk and installed it from there. In either case, the following applies to you.

Windows 8 installations that were done through the DVD or ISO can only refresh or reset using the DVD or USB drive containing the installation files. When you need to reset or refresh Windows 8, you will first need to insert the Installation media in your drive and then reset or refresh your PC from PC settings.

  After You Install Windows 8.1 Through the Windows Store

When you upgrade to Windows 8.1 through the Windows Store, you essentially get a brand new OS. Therefore, you can?t use your original Windows 8.0 install media to reset or refresh Windows 8.1 if you ever need to. Even if you have your original Windows 8 install media in the drive, you will get an error message when you attempt to refresh or reset your PC, asking you to provide the install media. However, you were never provided the install media and you are stuck! Please see the image below:

how-to-reset-or-refresh-windows-8-withou

  Final Thoughts

Of course, one solution is to give Microsoft over a hundred dollars to get a Windows 8.1 DVD, with which you can refresh or reset, but that is not a pleasant solution. However, after digging through possible solutions, I have finally found one that actually works. Please see my reply post below for a possible solution to this problem that Microsoft (out of mere stupidity) created for its paying customers.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
Nazmus Shakib Khandaker

Edit on Dec. 09, 2013:

Warning. The following tutorial may result in your OS being converted to an Enterprise Evaluation upon a successful system reset/restore. The Enterprise edition cannot be activated with consumer licenses.

A Solution to this Problem

I am very excited to share with you guys that my efforts to find a solution to the frustrating refresh and reset problem in Windows 8.1 has not been fruitless. As you may now, [/size]we have blogged earlier that if you upgrade your retail copy of Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 using the Windows Store, you [/size]will loose the ability to refresh or reset. Well, I have good news for you, as I have discovered one way to regain the functionality in your Windows 8.1 install![/size]

As you may recall from the previous blog post, when you upgrade to Windows 8.1, you cannot refresh or reset your PC due to missing installation files. To make matters worse, Microsoft stubbornly refuses to provide any ISO image or recovery files to go along with the Windows Store upgrade. However, the good news is that Microsoft is providing an ISO of Windows 8.1 to any users for free. This ISO is the Windows 8.1 Enterprise Evaluation for IT professionals. And because all Windows 8 ISOs contains the files necessary to install any edition of Windows, you can use the Enterprise evaluation ISO to refresh or reset your Windows 8.1 PC!

Please follow the steps to restore the refresh and reset functionality to Windows 8.1

Tutorial Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Step 1: Download the Windows 8.1 Enterprise Evaluation ISO

Please go to the following link to download the Windows 8.1 Enterprise ISO. Remember, you MUST download the version (32-bits or 64-bits) that match your current install of Windows 8.1!

Download link: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-US/evalcenter/hh699156.aspx?CR_CC=200320080

If you are using 64-bit Windows 8.1, download the 64-bit version of the evaluation. If you are using 32-bit version of Windows 8.1, then download the 32-bit version of the evaluation. If you don?t do this, it will NOT work.

Step 2: Mount the ISO Image

Right-click on the ISO image you downloaded and click ?Mount?. Then, open ?My Computer? aka ?This PC? and double click on the ISO image you mounted.

mounting-iso.png?w=620&h=384

Step 3: Locate and Copy Install.wim

Once you have double clicked on the mounted ISO image from ?My Computer? aka ?This PC?, go to the ?Sources? folder. In that folder locate a file called ?install.wim?. Right-click on it and click ?Copy? to copy the file to the clipboard.

finding-install-wim.png?w=620&h=385

Step 4: Setup the Refresh Folder

Open ?This PC? and go to the C drive. There, create a new folder called Win8 (You can call it whatever you want, actually. Just remember to replace ?Win8? with the name you have given it in the steps below).

Paste the Install.wim file you copied earlier in this folder.

pasting-install-wim.png?w=620&h=385

Step 5: Some Command Prompt Magic

Open the search charm and type ?CMD.exe?. Do not press enter. Right-click on the first result you get below the search box and choose ?Run as Administrator?.

Once a Command Prompt window opens, type the following commands:

reagentc.exe /setosimage /path C:\Win8 /target c:\Windows /Index 1

That is all you have to type. Press enter.

It should say:

Directory set to: \\?\GLOBALROOT\device\hardisk0\partition2\Win8

REAGENTIC.EXE: Operation Successful.

C:\Windows\system32>

Please replace ?Win8? if you named that folder something else. Also, if your copy of Windows is installed on a different lettered drive, replace the letter c with the appropriate letter in ?C:\?.

Step 6: Refresh or reset your PC from PC settings

Now, whenever your PC is not running well, you can use the refresh and reset functionality in PC Settings.

For more information on how to do this, please see this Microsoft support article:http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/restore-refresh-reset-pc

screenshot-11.png?w=620&h=387

Concluding Thoughts

Since Microsoft failed to provide a proper solution to this problem, we as the community must help each other out. I really hope this helps you solve the refresh/reset problem in Windows 8.1. If you have any questions whatsoever, please leave a comment below. I will try to get back to you as soon as I can Inshallah (God Willing).

Edited by zhangm
Adding warning to potentially damaging tutorial.
  • Like 8
Link to post
Share on other sites
The Evil Overlord

slightly off topic, but 8.1 dvd?

Is it available as an 'off the shelf' retail copy?

Link to post
Share on other sites
chrisj1968

thanks for the heads up. I went from 8 to 8.1 preview to 8.1 RTM with the .ISO

 

I assume I'm ok. no issues at this point

Link to post
Share on other sites
chrisj1968

slightly off topic, but 8.1 dvd?

Is it available as an 'off the shelf' retail copy?

 

I think so

Link to post
Share on other sites
The Evil Overlord

I think so

Cool I didn't have the courage to try an eval copy, might just go into a store and buy one :)

Link to post
Share on other sites
Nazmus Shakib Khandaker

slightly off topic, but 8.1 dvd?

Is it available as an 'off the shelf' retail copy?

 

Yes, this will work

 

But that is not the best solution because you have to pay over 100 dollars to get a copy. You already paid for Windows 8. Windows 8.1 is free from the store. If you want to pay for something that is already free for you, go ahead.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Nazmus Shakib Khandaker

thanks for the heads up. I went from 8 to 8.1 preview to 8.1 RTM with the .ISO

 

I assume I'm ok. no issues at this point

 

If you have an ISO (say from MSDN or TechNet, you are good to go). This is only an issue for those who upgrade through the Windows Store. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites
The Evil Overlord

Yes, this will work

 

But that is not the best solution because you have to pay over 100 dollars to get a copy. You already paid for Windows 8. Windows 8.1 is free from the store. If you want to pay for something that is already free for you, go ahead.

No I'm using windows 7,

8 never appealed to me, but from what I've seen in 8.1, I'm starting to be swayed

My question about the dvd was purely for a clean install option :)

Link to post
Share on other sites
Nazmus Shakib Khandaker

No I'm using windows 7,

8 never appealed to me, but from what I've seen in 8.1, I'm starting to be swayed

My question about the dvd was purely for a clean install option :)

 

Ah, I see! Well, the great thing about clean installs in Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.0 is that even though you will be doing a clean install, the setup can still keep your files intact. That is, your documents and pictures will stay in the appropriate folders. All you have to do is reinstall your desktop apps! This is not an upgrade, but a true clean install. The difference between this clean install and clean installs in previous OS is that the setup does the manual work of backing up your files, installing windows, and restoring your files without you having to do anything.

 

Of course, you still have the option to format your drive.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
chrisj1968

this really should be pinned I'd think

Link to post
Share on other sites
Yazoo

this is good to know, thank you for sharing

Link to post
Share on other sites
Wakers

But wait, surely everyone makes a recovery disc as soon as they get a new OS?

 

Or keep the original .iso file to make one with?

 

Common sense, no?

Link to post
Share on other sites
JaysonKayZee

But wait, surely everyone makes a recovery disc as soon as they get a new OS?

 

Or keep the original .iso file to make one with?

 

Common sense, no?

 

The point is, if you have followed the upgrade route in the first post, it is impossible to do this.

Link to post
Share on other sites
cork1958

No I'm using windows 7,

8 never appealed to me, but from what I've seen in 8.1, I'm starting to be swayed

My question about the dvd was purely for a clean install option :)

 

May I ask what you've seen in 8.1 that you didn't in 8, that has almost swayed you? Personally, I still see nothing in 8/8.1 that has even remotely swayed me to leave Windows 7.

 

Surely not the start button?! :)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
The Evil Overlord

May I ask what you've seen in 8.1 that you didn't in 8, that has almost swayed you? Personally, I still see nothing in 8/8.1 that has even remotely swayed me to leave Windows 7.

 

Surely not the start button?! :)

It's probably just more the fact that I'm either getting older, or I've gotten over myself about it and have begun to fall in line

To this point I haven't demoed 8.1, only seen screenshots and youtube videos, but for some reason I cannot explain, it's beginning to appeal to me.

Link to post
Share on other sites
ViperAFK

My clean install of windows 8.1 is missing that file too :/

Link to post
Share on other sites
trieste

Hi, after the entire procedure is done, can the folder with the install.wim be deleted (to save space)?

Link to post
Share on other sites
+warwagon

It's all good. I never used that feature anyway. I just keep drive images.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
Ice_Blue

Is it possible to use the enterprise 8.1 .iso with my purchased 8.0 key to make it a Win 8.1 install?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tews

Is it possible to use the enterprise 8.1 .iso with my purchased 8.0 key to make it a Win 8.1 install?

 

No, they are two different animals... Enterprise uses a MAK key/server to validate.  And your copy of 8.0 is a retail version, and requires a retail key.  But you can update it to 8.1 through Windows store...

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Ice_Blue

No, they are two different animals... Enterprise uses a MAK key/server to validate.  And your copy of 8.0 is a retail version, and requires a retail key.  But you can update it to 8.1 through Windows store...

 

I see.

 

In that case, given my crappy internet connection, and the fact that I have 4 PCs to update, I may as well stick to 8.0 until I get faster net access.

I really do not like the fact that Microsoft discontinued the .iso downloads.

Sucks.

Link to post
Share on other sites
mhweb

Hello everyone,

 

For those looking to be able to use "Refresh your PC" recovery feature in Windows 8.1 without having to resource downloading Windows 8.1 Enterprise. There is another way that involves creating a custom install.wim image file with your current installation files.

 

Though you want to make sure your system is clean when you do this.

Here are the instructions:

 

1. Create a folder in the C:\ drive called WinRec.

2. Open the command prompt and type this command: recimg /createimage C:\WinRec

3. Type the following command: reagentc.exe /setosimage /path C:\WinRec /target c:\Windows /Index 1 

Finally, exit the Command Prompt and try once again to Remove everything or Refresh your PC.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Nazmus Shakib Khandaker

Hi, after the entire procedure is done, can the folder with the install.wim be deleted (to save space)?

 

Once you finished refreshing or resetting your PC, you can delete the files. However, if you do delete this, you will need to copy the Install.wim file to that folder again in the future when you want to rese or refresh you OS.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Lirodon

This, along with every other major issue with the installation process of 8.1 (along with that stupid Secure Boot watermark that is absolutely unnecessary), is making me doubt whether Windows 8.1 was designed to be as anti-consumer as possible.

Link to post
Share on other sites
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Richard C.
      Windows Update essentially just says "checking for updates" forever even overnight and never finds any. While doing so the Windows Update Service is constantly eating 15-20% of my cpu resources.
       
      I am concerned I will no longer get updates as a result of this
       
      Things I have tried
      1. Malware / AV Scan (nothing found)
      2. Using Microsoft's Windows Update Troubleshooter
      3. Using System Restore to a time it last worked
      4. Re-installing the Windows Update Client
      5. Re-registering the DLL files for the BITS service
      6. Clearing out the Windows Update cache
       
      none of these solutions seem to have helped, can anyone think of anything else that might work?
       
      OS: x64 8.1 Pro
       
      Note: Upgrading the machine to Windows 10 is not an option, or I would of done so.
    • By drugo
      hi
      on my laptop i have w8.1 pro 64bit and on my desktop i have w7 64bit pro
      i don't want to upgrade them to w10
       
      i know GWX Control Panel ,i know the option in policy 
      Turn off the upgrade to the latest version of Windows through Windows Update &
      [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate] "DisableOSUpgrade"=dword:00000001  
      but is there a list of update important and optionals (mosty optional ) to hide ?
       
      i don't want to have nasty surprice
      i looking for a list of these updates to hide
      can you help me please?
       
      thanks
       
    • By DavidM
      I decided to move to from Windows 7 to 8.1 today on my laptop, and cannot figure out how to stop the Silverlight Update Express that keeps rolling in! There are 9 optional updates for Silverlight, and I keep hiding them, and hiding them, but they won't stop. Why do they have nine separate optional updates for the same damn thing? Are they trying to drive me crazy? I thought Microsoft was killing off Silverlight anyway?
       
      Oh, and you don't even want to know how many Office updates that keep showing up for the parts that didn't even get installed... well, ok since you asked nicely, 32 updates for the parts that didn't even get installed.
       
      On the plus side, wow, compared to the Windows 7 updates, this thing flew! So it wasn't all bad!
       
      Thanks for listening!
       
       
    • By Ian W
      Do you use the Libraries feature introduced in Windows 7 and / or the Saved Search (otherwise known as Virtual Folder) feature introduced in Windows Vista? If so, do you have a preference for either feature?

      While I like both features I, as you probably expected, prefer the Saved Search feature. Both Libraries and Saved Searches consolidate content from multiple locations in a single view, and both allow users to customize their viewing experience based on the content displayed. Libraries, however, only allow users to display content based on folder locations (e.g., they cannot reference content based solely on dates, file attributes, et cetera), and users must manually add folders to a library before their content will appear.

      In contrast, Saved Searches can reference multiple locations simultaneously—or an individual folder(s) if that is what a user desires—based on a user's criteria such as specific names, dates, metadata, types, and words or phrases within files themselves. Also unlike Libraries, users can refine their Saved Search results with Boolean operators, natural language search (in Windows Vista and Windows 7), query composition, and / or the options offered by the column headers in File Explorer.
    • By Gungel
      This week I updated a small business with 3 Windows 8.1 installations to Windows 10. Each of the Windows 8.1 systems had its own key, but all systems had the exact same hardware. After updating to Windows 10 pro the license keys for all 3 systems are now the same. All systems say that they are activated and have a valid license. Will I have a problem in the future with this client? and has anyone else seen this problem and if so how did you fix this?