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How to fix “Insert media”: Some files are missing… in Windows 8

In Windows 8, Microsoft is introducing two new innovated and very helpful features to recover Windows: Remove everything (formerly known as Reset your PC) and Refresh your PC. They both offer a unique ways to restore and to fix most issues in a Windows 8 PC. This is what the software giants calls Push Button Reset.

On paper, these features are great, because they also allow you to recover without using the installation DVD or USB drive. I said “on paper”, because in my experience it doesn’t work as smoothly as you would expect, many users, including me, are seeing at the time to reset or refresh the messages: “Insert Media” — “Some files are missing. Your Windows installation or recovery media will provide these files.” or “Couldn’t find necessary files” and it also asks you insert an installation media.

Win 8 - Insert Media

For most of us this is not a big deal, because we created an installation media after purchasing the OS or because we just simply bought the physical installation DVD. But why you should have to supply the files when you shouldn’t have to? You should be able to reset or refresh your PC without DVD or USB drive, besides having everything automated makes everything so much easier.

This behavior occurs in most cases after upgrading Windows 7 to Windows 8, because either system files are corrupt in some way or simply the necessary files just aren’t there. To fix this issue there are three things you can do (I would recommend you to try them all):

Instructions

Method one

The first thing you should do is to run the System File Checker (SFC) scan. This utility will repair (replace) any damage file in the operating system:

1 Use the Windows 8 Key +X to bring the Power User menu and select Command Prompt (Admin).

2 Type the following command and press Enter:

sfc /scannow

SFC Scannow command prompt

The /scannow switch is to scan all protected system files and to replace any incorrect version. Depending on your system configuration this may take some time. Once the scan completes try again to restore your system.

Method two

One other thing you can do is to create a new user account, then try to reset or refresh and see if the problem continues. If neither of these options work, do the following.

Method three

This option should certainly solve the problem. Essentially what we do here is to provide Windows with all the files needed to successfully complete re-installation and we also tell the operating system where to find those files.

SEE ALSO: How to download the Windows 8 ISO again after upgrading your system

1 Go to Computer and create a folder at the root of C:\, you can name it almost anything, but try using WinRec. (If you use the name Recovery, you may get an error.)

Recovery folder on C drive

2 Insert the Windows 8 installation media, locate the Source folder, and copy the install.wim to the WinRec folder (FYI: the file is about 2GB). If you happen to have an ISO file, simply double-click it to mount the virtual disc, then browse and copy the wim file.

Win 8 Install.wim image file download

Info: The Install.wim is the Windows Imaging Format and it contains the necessary files to install Windows. Install.esd is the same but it is an encrypted version of the .WIM file.

Now, this part is a bit tricky, because depending on how you obtained the installation media, you’ll find an install.wim or an install.esd file in the Source folder. And you must register a recovery image that is a Windows image (.wim) format.

If you have an install.esd, you should try creating a custom refresh point (image) when you know your system is in a good working condition. This method will create an install.wim with your current system files that you can use to refresh your PC, but keep in mind that you cannot use this method “Remove everything”.

3 Use the Windows 8 Key +X to bring the Power User menu and select Command Prompt (Admin).

4 Type the following command to tell Windows where are those missing files that keeps asking:

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

Reagentc command

Finally, exit the Command Prompt and try once again to Reset or Refresh your PC. Now you should be able to reset or refresh your PC without a USB drive or DVD.

It’s worth noting that if you don’t have an installation media because, for example, you did the upgrade from the desktop using the “Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant”; it will also work if you ask a friend for a retail DVD  and make a copy of the install.wim.

Update: If you recently updated to Windows 8.1 from the Windows Store, here is a new approach to resolve the “missing files” problem.

Header image Flickr: Microsoft Sweden

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Clive-Baker/721418372 Clive Baker

    This did not work for me, and it wont let me format drive c:. any other suggestions.

    • Pit

      Hello Clive,
      Please tell me in which scenario it will not let you format C:.

      Do you get any error or message that could to troubleshoot?

      Thanks,

  • hai

    none is working for me

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1139237972 Josh Tucker

    my recovery media does not have a install.wim file. the sources folder is empty. also, nobody I know has a disk. everyone I know either upgraded with the upgrade assistant program or purchased a new pc with win 8 on it already.

  • Dani Boy

    hi, I have a tablet but don’t have de keyboard. What i can i do?

  • TagRed

    Spot on – the first two methods didn’t work for me sadly, but I was able to redownload the ISO and Option 3 worked well. Thanks for the info.

    • http://pureinfotech.com/ Mauro

      Hello TagRed, I am glad it worked. Thanks for comment.

  • Sixx

    so i tried all 3 options and it still wont work for me :-( On option 3 i still managed to get the Operation Successful message, yet it still gives me the same message when attempt to do the recovery. Guess ill have to send the PC back to get this taken care of.

    • http://pureinfotech.com/ Mauro

      Hello Sixx,
      Sorry to hear that. Did you try downloading the Windows 8 files again from Microsoft? Check the “SEE ALSO” link.

      Thanks,

      • Sixx

        No i haven’t. I actually fixed the problem i was having with another workaround without having to reset my OS, but i would still like to know why this is not working in case i do need it in the future. Ill give that a try. Thanks for your reply!

  • Vankush Sen

    I am also lost some media files from my windows 8 laptop but i have no any solution please help me, which information you have share to me is not complete for me please give another way.

    Thanks
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Windows-Data-Recovery/239926112792542

  • Marco Zingaro

    Caro Mauro,
    Moltissime grazie! I’ve just inherited an Asus laptop and wanted to return it to factory settings, but F9 wasn’t responding at all and this was the error I got when trying to reset from within Windows 8.

    After spending days scrounging the internet for a solution, and with absolutely no help from Asus which said “ship it to us we’ll fix it” without offering any real help, by a stroke of luck I come across your instructions, which I have no idea how you figured out!

    In any case – I now have a fresh copy of Windows and the peace-of-mind that I can reset my computer at any time.

    Thank you thank you thank you!

    Ciao,
    Marco

    • http://pureinfotech.com/ Mauro

      Thank you for sharing your experience!

  • Weiwei Zhang

    Hi

    Thanks so much for the information. As I failed on method 1 and 2, I was trying the third one. I only had an install.esd file in the source folder, and when I checked the creating a custom refresh point page, it doesn’t say anything about the esd file. Does that just mean this iso image wouldn’t be used at all? Thanks

    • http://pureinfotech.com/ Mauro

      Does correct, but only for refreshing…
      Thanks,

  • T Sains

    Hi,

    I have bought used laptop (ASUS S200E) and therefre I want to REMOVE EVERYTHING AND REINSTALL WINDOWS But when I try this I get a message COULD NOT FIND THE FILES NEEDED: If you have a Windows Installation or recovery media, insert it and restart the PC from the media.

    I do not have the RECOVERY folder in the C: or D: drives and the seller of machine machines says they don’t perform software repairs.

    Could you please help me, where I could download the Win8 again and where will I find the windows product key? as the machine came with preinstalled Win8.

    OR

    A friend of mine has a similar laptop and If I copy the RECOVERY partition from his computer to mine then will I still be required to enter the Windows product key?