Reader Question – How does System Recovery work on a PC upgraded to Windows 8.1?


The following question is from one of our long time readers John Campbell who was trying to wrestle with the issue of system recovery.

Recovery under Windows 8.0 was a useful option allowing you to:


Having used it to re-furbish an aberrant computer I was pleased to see it available in the upgraded Windows 8.1.

Wanting to start off on a clean slate I attempted to utilize the Refresh your PC . . . option and found to my annoyance I was locked out.


Having no-where to go I clicked the Cancel button and gave up in disgust. When I tried the other options – “Remove everything and Install . . .” and “Advanced start-up” another disappointment!

The big question is why does Recovery work with Surface RT tablets yet seems to not be available on a PC upgraded to Windows 8.1?

Despite an extensive search on the web trawling all Microsoft sources and asking this question:

“After installing Windows 8.1 over Windows 8.0 and attempted to perform a “Refresh” from Update and Recovery. I was unable to do this as a message box popped up stating” Insert media – some files are missing. Your Windows installation or recovery media will provide these files”.

Is there a solution apart from buying a full disk for Windows 8.1?

Seems to me the process of attempting to use “Refresh . . .”,” Remove everything .. .” and “Advanced Start-up” are useless options when you update to Windows 8.1!!!

Any ideas?

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  • John Campbell

    Came to the same conclusions about being locked out because of installation via Windows Store. Agree that Microsoft should fix this! Hope the Windows 8.1 Update will not cause similar problems.