I've just freshly installed miktex 2.9 on windows 8. Plain tex seems to work but running latex on a simple file produces
This is pdfTeX, Version 3.1415926-2.4-1.40.13 (MiKTeX 2.9) (Fatal format file error; I'm stymied)
Searching for this error suggests that I should regenerate format files via miktex's options program, which I have done. Indeed I observe that miktex options->update formats touches the files
pdflatex.fmt (and others) in the following directory:
However the error still occurs. (I also tried miktex options->format->build, which seems to do the same thing but one file at a time).
I'm not sure how to verify that latex is looking in the right place for these files. In miktex options->roots I see the path
C:\Users\Jenny\AppData\Local\MiKTeX\2.9 with description "UserInstall, UserConfig". However I can't see any environment variables pointing to this directory. Following this answer I tried defining
to no avail. I also tried copying the .fmt files to both of these directories: