Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Refresh function broken since upgrade to 8.1

  1. #1

    Refresh function broken since upgrade to 8.1


    HI guys

    Long time lurker, first time poster. Iíve been driven to post by an issue with the Refresh Windows option since the update to 8.1 I cannot find a viable solution.

    I am sorry if this has been covered elsewhere, but I cannot find it if so!

    It appears to me that the Refresh Windows function is broken for those of us who upgraded from 8 to 8.1 for free via the start screen Windows Store.

    When I tried to run Refresh on two of my 8.1 machines it failed, responding with the error message ďfiles are missing, insert your recovery drive or installation mediaĒ or similar.

    However, if you have upgraded via the Store, neither your original W8 installation disk NOR a newly created recovery drive will work. If you try to use either, windows will tell you the media is invalid.

    Research and fault finding indicates that the refresh function wonít work because of a product key conflict.
    From what I can tell this is because:


    • When you upgrade from 8 to 8.1 through the store you donít create an ISO or receive an updated product key.



    • If you have upgraded via the store, Refresh will tell you files are missing, as above. If you use your original 8 installation media as windows directs you to, it will fail because the product key is no longer valid.



    • If you create a new recovery drive on your updated 8.1 machine, again this will not work Ė Refresh will say the disk is invalid. Again I suspect this is a product key issue.



    • Trying to find and use a Windows product key on my machines since the upgrade is also a dead end. Control Panel/System and Security/System no longer displays a product key. Using a third party product key finder app may find another product key, however again this will be invalid.


    Refresh was such a handy feature of 8!

    Is there a work around to this? It seems such a fundamental problem that Iíd expect Microsoft to fix via Windows Update, however an interim solution would be much appreciated.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 1,875
    Windows 10 Pro Prieview x64


    It is a very handy feature indeed. Assuming that your PC is working now and when you want to refresh you want to refresh to 8.1 with whatever you have installed today then do this Refresh Windows 8 - Create and Use Custom Recovery Image

    This will refresh back to your current state which (assuming it is OK) is more useful than going back to 8.

    Is this what you are after or do you want refresh to (somehow) downgrade you to 8 again?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 5,592
    ME, XP,Vista,Win7,Win8,Win8.1


    Is there a work around to this? It seems such a fundamental problem that Iíd expect Microsoft to fix via Windows Update, however an interim solution would be much appreciated.
    One work round is a clean install.

    To clean install:
    1) Clean the HD Drive, using Step one in this tutorial:
    SSD / HDD : Optimize for Windows Reinstallation - Windows 7 Help Forums
    than
    2a) Clean install with the OEM manufacturer's Recovery Disk.

    2b) Clean Install - Windows 8

    2c) UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) - Install Windows 8 with


    Activate retail Windows 8.1 with Windows 8 Product key.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Hi adamf & theog

    Both of your suggestions are great, and work exactly as you posted. Very helpful work arounds.

    BUT

    Why oh why can't refresh just work as it did prior to the update to 8.1? It was such as handy way to spring clean my PC without having to do a clean install. I am still perplexed by the fact Microsoft hasn't fixed this. I have seen some less than helpful replies from their support pages to this very issue.....
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Agree...Microsoft should fix this with an update. But that said. IF the above suggestions work...YOU destroy all your 3rd party installations. THE purpose of doing a refresh is to keep your 3rd party stuff...not destroy it. An other complaint...if one does chose to fix MS 8.1 the above way...anyone notice SOME new laptops are now coming with NO DVD drive...uh to save money or space. So to reinstall one will need an external DVD drive to put your 3rd party software back after the 8.1 "refresh".
    Would really like to have an option of doing a 8.1 "refresh" without all the geek fixes and destroying my files.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 1,875
    Windows 10 Pro Prieview x64


    Quote Originally Posted by Stevegd007 View Post
    Agree...Microsoft should fix this with an update. But that said. IF the above suggestions work...YOU destroy all your 3rd party installations. THE purpose of doing a refresh is to keep your 3rd party stuff...not destroy it. An other complaint...if one does chose to fix MS 8.1 the above way...anyone notice SOME new laptops are now coming with NO DVD drive...uh to save money or space. So to reinstall one will need an external DVD drive to put your 3rd party software back after the 8.1 "refresh".
    Would really like to have an option of doing a 8.1 "refresh" without all the geek fixes and destroying my files.
    If you restore to a custom refresh point you don't loose your 3rd part installations. You keep all the ones you had when you made the image. You'd only have to reinstall the ones you installed AFTER you made the image. It works well and I use it fairly often.

    It is unreasonable to expect Microsoft NOT to remove 3rd party applications as this the point of refreshing. If refreshing kept all your 3rd part applications and personal data it wouldn't in fact do anything. MS can't know which one is causing the issue so it is up to you to make your image at a stable point. If you don't it will remove them all.

    Not sure about your point about DVD drive. If you need to re-install some application you'd use the same method you did the first time. Unless you installed it from DVD originally, don't have a copy of the ISO and don't have a DVD player any more there is no issue. If you mean the windows software you could get the 8.1 iso and put it on USB but then when you refreshed, if you hadn't made a custom refresh point THEN you would loose your 3rd party applications.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Japan
    Posts : 43
    Windows 8.1 Build 9431


    Quote Originally Posted by adamf View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Stevegd007 View Post
    Agree...Microsoft should fix this with an update. But that said. IF the above suggestions work...YOU destroy all your 3rd party installations. THE purpose of doing a refresh is to keep your 3rd party stuff...not destroy it. An other complaint...if one does chose to fix MS 8.1 the above way...anyone notice SOME new laptops are now coming with NO DVD drive...uh to save money or space. So to reinstall one will need an external DVD drive to put your 3rd party software back after the 8.1 "refresh".
    Would really like to have an option of doing a 8.1 "refresh" without all the geek fixes and destroying my files.
    If you restore to a custom refresh point you don't loose your 3rd part installations. You keep all the ones you had when you made the image. You'd only have to reinstall the ones you installed AFTER you made the image. It works well and I use it fairly often.

    It is unreasonable to expect Microsoft NOT to remove 3rd party applications as this the point of refreshing. If refreshing kept all your 3rd part applications and personal data it wouldn't in fact do anything. MS can't know which one is causing the issue so it is up to you to make your image at a stable point. If you don't it will remove them all.
    Most customers would entirely disagree with you about a feature that Microsoft broke on our purchased disc of Windows 8 (Pro x64). The "REFRESH Without losing any of your files or folders" part.

    Microsoft should tell every customer (in advance) and who was advised by Microsoft to update to Windows 8.1 that the customers Windows 8 install discs would no longer REFRESH their updated PC; but which is a feature which is part of what customers paid for via the license.

    Most Windows 8 customers would say that Microsoft know how TIME-Consuming and complicated it is for many customers to re-install everything from scratch and hundreds of updates (of which W8.1 was only one of them); and it may appear to most customers forced into a predicament by Microsoft that Microsoft may have done it to get existing customers to be forced into a corner where the public are coerced into buying yet another copy of Windows 8 changed by Microsoft to Windows 8.1 to have an easier and less time-consuming way to do what should be a simple REFRESH (or where Microsoft should provide a free alternative).

    Don`t forget. Most Windows 8 customers do not know or did not know about this problem Microsoft kept secret from every customer who installed the 8.1 update via the System Update feature.
    Microsoft should have advertised their plan to cause a malfunction with our REFRESH DVD disc when it came to the UPDATE on the Windows System Update process; rather than being shifty and keeping it a secret from the majority of installers.

    An UPDATE should be exactly that. An update; not a degradation of your existing facility to REFRESH your PC WITHOUT Losing Files or Folders.
    The method Microsoft employed seems to be to many people a typical example of how spivs operate.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 1,875
    Windows 10 Pro Prieview x64


    @rogerthat1945 - I have some sympathy for your comments but they have nothing to do with my response to Stevegd007 who was trying to say refresh shouldn't remove third party applications when the whole point of it is that it does (while maintaining your files). If you make a custom refresh point you will not have to refresh back to windows 8.

    Exactly for the reason that it is time consuming I make a custom refresh point every month or so that I'll not have to re-install updates and programs if I need to refresh.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Harrisonburg, Va.
    Posts : 10,488
    Windows 8.1.1 Pro with Media Center


    I don't mean to intrude.

    I make regular backup images with Macrium Reflect & restore points.

    I keep all my program exe's on usb with their serial #'s in txt files.

    This is a good practice.

    Just thought I would relate it.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Posts : 1,875
    Windows 10 Pro Prieview x64


    +1 for Macrium
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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