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Refresh function broken since upgrade to 8.1


goatfish

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#1
HI guys

Long time lurker, first time poster. I’ve 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 “files are missing, insert your recovery drive or installation media” 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 won’t 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 don’t 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 If you use your original 8 installation media as windows directs you to, it will fail because the product key is no longer valid.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 – 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 I’d expect Microsoft to fix via Windows Update, however an interim solution would be much appreciated.
 

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#2

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theog

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#3
Is there a work around to this? It seems such a fundamental problem that I’d 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
[DEL]2a) Clean install with the OEM manufacturer's Recovery Disk.[/DEL]

2b) http://www.eightforums.com/tutorials/2299-clean-install-windows-8-a.html

2c) http://www.eightforums.com/tutorial...e-firmware-interface-install-windows-8-a.html


http://www.eightforums.com/installa...retail-windows-8-1-windows-8-product-key.html
 

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goatfish

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#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.....
 

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Stevegd007

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#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.
 

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#6
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.
 

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#7
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.
 

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#8
@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.
 

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#9
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.
 

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#10
+1 for Macrium
 

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#12

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Bkshiroma

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#13
Thanks. Got a new hard drive recently (needed it...how in the world did I ever think ASRock was my hard drive and not the motherboard?!), and am taking things slowly putting things on, especially things that seemed to cause problems before. As soon as I'm certain everything's good, I'll set it up.

By the way, related question. How is this different from setting up a system image backup or a clone? For that matter, are a system image backup and a clone the same?
 

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#14
How is this different from setting up a system image backup or a clone? For that matter, are a system image backup and a clone the same?
It's not the same as system image or clone, no. These copy everything (a clone is a physical copy of a drive so you could physically unplug a drive and replace it with a cloned one, an image is a big file containing the contents and you could have several images on a drive). This means OS, programs, page file, user data - everything is backed up at a certain point.

What a custom refresh does is copies the stuff shown below to a compressed archive called CustomRefresh.wim. As you can see it doesn't have the user directories - only default user etc.

When you do a refresh it overwrites your system with the contents of this CustomRefresh.wim. This means that your OS (windows directory) and programs (Program Files and Program files(x86) directories are replaced. So you keep any programs you had installed when you made the file. In my case - see below - I'll keep Office, Java, VLC and all the other things I had when the image was made. Because your user directory isn't in the .wim file it is not replaced and so you keep any files and documents.

If you restore from an image or cloned drive your documents are returned to the state they were in when the save was made so anything more recent would be lost unless you had it backed up elsewhere.

I use both. The advantage is the CustomRefresh is small (less than 8GB if you turn off hyberfil.sys and pagefile.sys before making it) and I keep it on my laptop C:\ drive. If something goes wrong (software not hardware) I can refresh fairly quickly and not lose anything. I make system images also to external drives which I don't tend to take with me but will be of far more use if my C:\ drive has a hardware fault. File History also helps save documents that are newer than the latest system backup (but only as long as the drive is connected).

You can't have too many different sorts of backups I figure.
 

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#16
@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.
I have been using Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 Pro Media Center for months and I don`t know where to find "CUSTOM REFRESH POINT".
I and thousands upon thousands of customers dont know it even exists either; nor do we know how to find it.

ALSO
After I got in touch with Microsoft about the issue of my Windows 8 Pro Disc not working in Windows 8.1 Pro Media Center, I was caused to do a re-install.
BUT
Although I knew that Upgrading(downgrading) to Windows 8.1 Pro would prevent my Windows 8 Pro disc from working, I then re-installed everything; and it worked for a while; but then MS Explorer stopped working after I installed FireFox, and then my SSD said my 12.7Gb? install of Windows 8 had turned into 54Gb, I decided to "REFRESH"; but only to find that my Windows 8 Pro disc STILL will not let me refresh my PC.
Because
I had added the Media Center after it. :mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad:
NOW
Microsoft tell me I have used up my license fixing the malfunction THEY CAUSED; with what seems to be another of their dirty little secrets.

I am stuck with a Windows 8 Disc I can no longer use; because now they say I cant use the same code. Now they tell me I have to pay them a bundle of money for customer support.

NOTE;
The previous Microsoft representative did confirm the Update to 8.1 will stop my disc from working. But he did not tell me that Windows Media Center will also stop my PC from being able to REFRESH.

Basically I sit with a Bricked system of a Haswell i5 rig with an SSD and no OS worth a p155.
Damn the shareholder.
 

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#17
OK, I think I have a variation of the problems discussed above. I'm helping a retired fellow who's kids bought him a Toshiba notebook with windows 8 installed. I got it updated to 8.1 via the start screen store, and it seemed to be working find. However, it crashed (wouldn't start) and the various screens led me to "recover" to the original configuration. Since he had no data or programs installed at the time, I wasn't worried about losing anything. At this point, I've updated it (40 - 50 updates), but I have no way to get back to 8.1, and the upgrade no longer appears in the store. It seems to be working, but I need to get him to the easier to use 8.1. Suggestions? Thanks for your help!
 

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#18
OK, I think I have a variation of the problems discussed above. I'm helping a retired fellow who's kids bought him a Toshiba notebook with windows 8 installed. I got it updated to 8.1 via the start screen store, and it seemed to be working find. However, it crashed (wouldn't start) and the various screens led me to "recover" to the original configuration. Since he had no data or programs installed at the time, I wasn't worried about losing anything. At this point, I've updated it (40 - 50 updates), but I have no way to get back to 8.1, and the upgrade no longer appears in the store. It seems to be working, but I need to get him to the easier to use 8.1. Suggestions? Thanks for your help!
Did you register the game yet?

Anyway; there are maybe three hundred or more updates aleready; and they have a particular sequence.

Leave it a few days...
 

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#19
There are no games, just the operating system. It had previously been registered, so I didn't repeat that.
Thanks for your help
 

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#20

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