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

Win8 PC

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):


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.

Update: You can now easily fix this issue by download and creating your own Windows 8.1 installation media and simply insert the USB drive or DVD when you’re prompted “Insert Media” — “Some files are missing. Your Windows installation or recovery media will provide these files.” or “Couldn’t find necessary files”. All the instructions you need are in this how-to guide I have created.

Header image Flickr: Microsoft Sweden

Mauro is a technology writer at and He’s been recognized as a Microsoft MVP, he’s also a technology enthusiast and enjoys writing content about Microsoft, Google, Apple, and other interesting technologies. Got a hat tip? Send him an email with your rants, rumors, tips and tattles.

Email @Pureinfotech
  • 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?


  • hai

    none is working for me

  • 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.

    • 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.

    • Mauro

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


      • 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!

      • sandeep

        where is the “see also” link

  • 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.


  • 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!


    • Mauro

      Thank you for sharing your experience!

  • Weiwei Zhang


    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

    • Mauro

      Does correct, but only for refreshing…

  • T Sains


    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.


    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?

  • William

    I can’t find how to creat or get my install.wim, i’ve tried that thing you add on a USB key but my folder was empty… any help ?

  • Jack

    HI..I get this on Asus TF600T windows rt 8.1 (Some files are missing. Your Windows installation or recovery media will provide these files)… can not do any recovery…any help ?? thanks

  • sandeep

    i have tried even method 3 but same error is repeating when i am trying to refresh my pc

  • sandeep

    I have tried method 3 also…but it could not fix the problem…please help me with this


  • Mohammed

    thanks a lot !!!!!!!!!!!! i tried the third steps it worked well!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jonathan

    Hello, step one and two did not work for me, and I am trying step 3 right now. The problem that I have is that I do not know how to locate my source folder and I cant find it. Can someone help me locate the folder and the install file please?


  • Natan

    Finally found the right way to bring back the reset option !!! Thank you so much !!!!
    (Step 3 work for me, the 1 didn’t and the 2 I didn’t try cause I knew it won’t work..)

  • Amin Wahi

    This is what worked for me. Fresh install 8.1 Regular 64-bit from Microsoft’s mediacreationtool.exe for 8.1 – UEFI mode.

    Open up cmd prompt in elevated mode

    1) recimg /createimage C:Recovery

    2) Insert the usb win-8 usb drive

    3) copy D:sourcesinstall.esd C:Recovery

    4) reagentc.exe /setosimage /path C:Recovery /target c:Windows /Index 1

    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.. Hope it helps somebody.

  • Michael ‘Kunle Alabi

    Hello, I have tried all the steps you’ve listed here for windows 8 missing files during “Refresh” but it doesn’t work. I have to go get an installation disk but still doesn’t work. Please, is there anything else I can do? Thanks

  • Mauro

    Instead of using valuable time trying to refresh your PC, you can try making a backup of your data and trying a clean install.

    I personally always use a clean installation over anything else.

    Here is some additional help:


  • Matt Crosby

    Finally. After all of the searching, I find a solution that WORKS! It took step three to correct the issue, but it fixed it like champ.Thank you, Mauro.


    • Mauro

      I’m glad it worked. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  • Elvis Lees

    hi there. im trying to perform step 3 but cant seem to find my install.wim file. my lenovo laptop came with windows 8 n never got any recovery drive or cd. help!!

  • Dani Jones

    So problem is that I’ve lost my recovery drive. I made a new one but it’s not working and when I bought my PC windows 8 was already on it. Help?