If you haven’t upgraded to Windows 8.1 yet, and plan to do so by downloading it from the Windows app store, there’s something you should know before you do. Microsoft made a huge blunder that could leave you in a bind should you ever need to use the Refresh or Restore recovery tools after you upgrade.
Those tools rely on the Windows ESD file, which isn’t provided if you upgrade through the app store, and you need an ISO image to fix it that Microsoft announced it has no plans to ever make available to consumers.
The problem with that is that when you upgrade through the Windows store, it wipes out the recovery partition you got with Windows 8, and doesn’t rebuild it with the update. That means when you go to use the Refresh or Restore tools, they won’t work. Instead you’ll get an error telling you to “insert media”–media you don’t have and can’t get. Only folks who buy Windows 8.1 from a store or Microsoft, or are part of a developer’s network like Technet, are immune from the problem.
Amazingly, Microsoft is aware of the problem and doesn’t seem to care. IT did not apologize, nor does it have any plans to release the ISO, or seem to have any interest in fixing the problem. It’s a HUGE blunder on Redmond’s part and they should be very embarrassed. An OS update should not break a critical part of the OS!
There are workarounds to fix the issue but they are fairly complicated. If you want to upgrade to Windows 8.1 through the app store, create your own recovery media first, something that everyone should do anyway, or just hold off awhile and see if Microsoft will wake up and fix their blunder.