Using the Windows Store to upgrade Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 won’t allow you to create a USB/DVD installation media. Moreover, Microsoft has said that it won’t be making available Windows 8.1 in an ISO file format to the general public, only to new customers, TechNet and MSDN subscribers, everyone who previously upgraded to Windows 8 has install Windows 8.1 via the Windows Store.
This also means that in the future you to reinstall the operating system, you have to install Windows 8, go to the Store and download the update all over again.
The real problem comes after users is upgraded to 8.1 and try to use the Refresh your PC or Remove everything recovery features. They will get the message: “Insert Media: Some files are missing…” and because Windows 8.1 is a new operating system and you don’t have the installation files, users will practically hit a dead end.
Primarily users who upgraded to Windows 8 from Windows 7 or previous version will come across this issue. So, can you solve this? The best way would be for Microsoft to release an update to resolve this situation, but until that happens there are a few things you can do to prevent losing the ability to Refresh and Remove everything recovery features in Windows 8.1.
Before installing the update from the Windows Store, make absolutely sure you make a full backup of your system. I previously create a Windows guide to help you create a Windows 8 system image backup, this will help to recover your PC in case something goes wrong.
After you know you can go back to your previous installation, what you can do is to actually supply the necessary files that Windows is asking and you can tell the OS where to find these files.
1 Go to This PC and create a new folder in the C drive and name it: WinRec. (If you use the name Recovery, you may get an error.)
2 Because you obviously don’t have the Windows 8.1 installation files, our workaround is to manually create the installation image (or install.wim).
Couple of thing here, you want to do this when the system in new and clean. A custom “install.wim” file will contain all installation files, settings, and applications currently in your system, even personal files.
3 Open the Command Prompt as an administrator and type the following command:
4 Next, type the following command to tell Windows where those missing files are:
Finally, exit the Command Prompt and try once again to Remove everything or Refresh your PC.
If everything worked OK, you shouldn’t see “Insert Media: Some files are missing…” again and better yet, you’ll be able to reset your PC without a DVD or USB bootable media.
Here is another solution that is worth mentioning, if you happen to know a friend that bought the full version of Windows 8.1, you could ask this person for the media to copy the install.wim file located inside the SOURCE folder or just to get out of this situation.
Update: I also found a different way to solve this issue that involves downloading the Windows 8.1 Enterprise ISO file from Microsoft, you can find the instructions here.
Update: Problem solved! There is a new workaround that allows you download the Windows 8.1 ISO file using only your Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro product key that you can easily use to fix the “insert media” drama.