Windows Update Trashes 2 Windows 8 PCs

I have never had this happen with any other operating system on any of my computers in any time of my computer experience, but this is what happened to me during the past 2 weeks.
I had one laptop with me while I was out of town. I allowed it to update, and suddenly found that Windows was reporting my system as an illegal system. In spite of hours of attempts to fix this with the assistance with Microsoft support, it could not be fixed. The only solution? "Refresh my system" mode, which basic comes down to a complete new install where you lose all the software that you have previously installed. A complete utter pain which I am still dealing with. "Refresh" might as well be replaced with "Your system is trashed, time to start all over again".
I got home and opened my other laptop with Windows 8 I went on line where Windows Update installed new updates. My 2nd laptop will now not restart. Windows lost all system restore information. Windows will not even allow me to refresh the drive, reporting it as locked. I still have another Windows 7 drive which I will now install so that I can recover my personal files before I completely wipe my hard drive and start again.
I do not think that this speaks very well of Windows 8 or of Windows Update. I do not consider this a failure on the part of Windows support as the technician did everything that he could do to assist me.
Both computers were virus and trojan free. The microsoft tech even managed to run his own in house virus scanner on my pc to verify this. I manage and upkeep all of my computer systems to much higher standards than just about anyone that I know.
I have Ubuntu Zorin on another computer. Even when some poorly designed software was installed it continued to boot and run and eventually completely repaired itself without my assistance. I am really a 'Windows' person so the robustness of Ubuntu Zorin can not be explained by my mastery of that system.
I have been able to save every other Windows operating system that had developed problems without having to wipe the system. Windows 8 is the first to force me to do this.


Microsoft MVP
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Well the deed is now done and there is little to be achieved in postmortems other than perhaps learning for the future. I am however surprised that a simple system restore would not help and, having just posted a statement that I do not use system restore but rely instead on a robust backup strategy using Acronis True Image, I would always recommend TI as insurance against this sort of happening and similar catastrophes.


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Too right. Acronis of course, costs hard cash. But there are several free backup programs on the web for download. First thing I do on an initial install is make an (Acronis) backup. Customise and make another. Install all my principal software and make another. Tedious? maybe, but not so tedious as, subsequently, running into problems which cannot be quickly resolved. whatever the problem, (I an experimenter so there are plenty of those! 9, Acronis Image takes about ten minutes to put it right again.


Senior Member
Do a clean install. Customize windows to your liking. Then install all the programs that you use all the time. Then download Macrium Reflect (free version) and keep an image back-up of your PCs so you can always come back to it when you have problems by doing a restore by image. It will save you a big deal of time than doing a system refresh.

True true. All I can say to the trem "Refresh" is, excuse me, BS. It's a polite term for your system will be reinstalled minus everything you personally wanted, Not to mention for people that installed Windows 8 by "Upgrading".. You also will have to completely reinstall your other operating system to start over again after Windows 8 bombs out.

On one of my laptops I reinstalled Windows 7. I am still trying to consider if I will reinstall Windows 8 on that laptop after this fiasco. And on either system... Do I dare let them update? Or will this crash both of those computers again?

Thanks for the feedback.


Essential Member
Microsoft Community Contributor

I use Paragon Backup, it's free works when you need it, (Acronis didn't for me!) I had to use Paragon recently and everything was back up and running in less than an hour.

It's very easy to use, and I run it from a DVD, with my backup on my second hard drive, just pop it in and restore your computer.

Which reminds me, I should make an up to date backup.

One other comment...

Buy an external hard drive and back up everything you don't want to lose to it.

You can use it for both computers, don't use a backup utility, just copy all of the important files to it.

That way the backup can't fail to read, (I've had that several times) and you don't have to have any other software to restore your stuff when Windows it back up and running.

Just copy it back to your computer.

Leave the drive off unless you actually need to use it, and it will get very little wear and tear, and last a long time.



Essential Member
Microsoft Community Contributor

I use Paragon free backup and it works great.
I had to use it recently and it came through like a champ.

Buy an external hard drive and back up everything you don't want to lose.
Don't use a backup utility just copy the files to it, less chance of something going wrong.
You can use the same drive for both computers.

I think one of the dumbest things they did with Windows 8 is not have a refresh option that retains your installed software.

There is a way to do, it but they keep it a secret.

It's the first thing I'm going to do after I update to 8.1.

I've had updates screw up my computers but never crash them completely.
Do the updates before you reinstall all your stuff.


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