How do I reinstall W8 on my Dell Venue 8 Pro (without a keyboard or external drive)?

To start off with, I'm kind of at a loss as to what the problem is. Ironically some Windows 8 apps just close immediately after clicking on them including Internet Explorer, yet Google's Chrome still works fine! The default Windows Mail app also crashes. No error message or anything, just looks like the apps opening, then the screen returns home. Ironically even using the search function in the "charms bar"? doesn't work as when I click on a suggestion to fix the problem, I think the answer is routed to Internet Explorer that simply disappears. So again, I'm using Chrome to try and fix Internet Explorer on a W8 tablet. 

So I figured why not just restore the tablet to factory settings. With my Android tablet that this replaced, you just hit a button in settings and after a couple minutes all your personal data is wiped and you start fresh. With Windows there are two appealing options: 1) Refresh your PC without affecting your files or 2) Remove everything and reinstall Windows. Ok great, however in either case I get the error "could not find the recovery environment". I think I did at some point set up a recovery disk (which is a bit akward to start with as the Dell 8 has no "normal" way to connect a drive. But the thumb drive that has a recovery folder appeared to be just an empty folder. 

One of the many suggestions I've read online, I tried running the Windows Update Diagnostic. It does find a few things that it can't fix. There's a red circle with a white x through it under "problems installing recent updates     Not fixed". And then there's a yellow triangle with an exclamation point though it under "Check for missing or corrupt files". When I hit the "view detailed information" line at the bottom WUD eventually comes up with the error "Windows Update: msdt.exe - Ordinal Not Found" and then The ordinal 294 could not be located in the dynamic link library .......

So the short question is there a way to simply reinstall or reset to factory defaults Windows on a tablet (like you would on my old Android tablet?) If so how do I do it (without any other premade disks or keyboard as I have neither)? If you can't, could somebody explain why not?

(ignore rant part below if you wish)

Windows 8 has been full of some exciting and cool features and visually looks great. However..... I just gave up on my WP8 phone and switched back to Android, I've switched back to Google Music All Access from Xbox Music, and I like my Surface tablet if only for word processing and light web browsing. I run into problems on a semi-regular basis on all of my Windows devices. And I often feel like I'm paying to be a beta tester. Simply put things a regular person needs aren't there when we need them. My Xbox music wouldn't play the offline songs once I tried using it out in the backcountry where I had no internet (I think it couldn't verify licensing?!) Now I'm getting ready for a three week trip abroad and not only can I not get my W8 tablet working properly, but it seems that Microsoft expects users to travel with a backup disk, keyboard and the usb adapter to connect the disk?! It seems kind of obvious that how users use mobile computers hasn't been fully thought through. Argh!


Hi Michael,

Glad to know that you have sorted out the issue and thank you for sharing the solution. This will help the users experiencing similar issue. Your efforts to resolve this problem is very much appreciated. Please feel free to reply, in case you face any other issues with Windows in future.

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Last updated May 25, 2020 Views 27,841 Applies to: