Microsoft fixes Windows RT 8.1, update is back in Windows Store

Microsoft fixes Windows RT 8.1, update is back in Windows Store

Summary: Microsoft has fixed its Windows RT 8.1 update, which was causing installation issues for some Surface RT users, and made it available again for download from the Windows Store.


On October 22, Microsoft returned a fixed version of Windows RT 8.1 to the Windows Store for download.

Microsoft removed the operating system update from the Store on October 19, two days after launching it on October 17. The Windows RT 8.1 update was causing installation problems for a number of users.

On October 21, Microsoft officials said the installation woes were limited to Surface RT customers. According to Microsoft, one out of every 1,000 Surface RT 8.1 installs were experiencing problems that left updates incomplete and devices "unbootable"/bricked.

On October 22, Microsoft issued an updated statement about the Windows RT 8.1 situation. A spokesperson sent me the following:

"This was due to a rare situation where firmware updates had not completed at the time of the update to RT 8.1. In most cases, if a customer encountered this issue the result was simply an extra reboot. However, for a very small percentage, the boot configuration data was affected which prevented a successful boot. We worked to quickly resolve the issue and now encourage customers to update their Surface RT devices. Surface Pro and 8.1 customers were not impacted by this issue.

"As previously announced, there is a recovery solution available for download here for Surface RT customers who experienced the installation issue. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. If an issue occurs with our software or devices, we take immediate steps to ensure a quality experience for every single customer—that’s been our driving priority in this case, despite the very limited number of customers impacted. We are grateful to the customers who shared their Surface RT devices, assisting our efforts to determine the root cause quickly."

Microsoft began selling commercially its new Surface devices — the Surface 2 (running Windows RT 8.1) and Surface 2 Pro (running Windows 8.1) on October 22.

Topics: Windows 8, Microsoft, Mobility, Tablets, Microsoft Surface


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • 8.1 is a botched mess, Microsoft is a mess

    From what I hear, 8.1 on RT was a disaster for some unlock users. Oh Well.

    Here is a sample on the Win 8 Pro side:

    My Acer PC came with a Win 8 Pro key in the Bios, but obviously no COA sticker and sadly no Win 8 media because it came pre-loaded with Windows 7 Pro via downgrade rights. No problem, just download Win 8.1 and install, right?

    Surprise. Every tool on the Microsoft site requires a keycode to download Windows 8 (note not 8.1). Second surprise, rather than incorporating 8.1 into 8 like a slipstreamed service pack, you get to make two multi-gig downloads.

    Finally once I got my system running, I discovered that the Video card I wanted to add wasn't compatible with secure boot. Who the heck decided that it was a good idea to block even BIOS messages from secure-boot incompatible cards? All you get is a blank screen until you remove the video card and turn off secure boot.

    Finally, after sorting that out, I get the secure boot watermark on the desktop.

    Good job Microsoft, now that most people keep data in the cloud and the NSA is spying at the server farm level, you are saving your users from one rogue video card at a time.

    I have wasted enough time on this crap. Back to Win 7. Wake me up when you start listening to your customers.
    • Sounds like a personal problem.

      You do realize that getting your CD key isn't that hard, right?
    • nope

      Sounds like Acer botched this one, not Microsoft.
      diane wilson
      • and thats a fact Jack

        also Diane :-) spot on.
    • Reading that entire thing

      I'm really not seeing a single thing that can be blamed on Microsoft. Turn off secure boot. Seriously, it's simple. And if you can't.... I guess you have Acer to go whine to.

      Or maybe you can continue to blame Microsoft for everything, that works too I guess?
      Michael Alan Goff
      • Nothing to blame microsoft for?

        1) Letting OEMs embed the key into the BIOS and not let anyone get at it without 3rd party hacks. What average user will be able to overcome that?

        2) A secure boot spec that turns off video completely if the card isn't secure boot compatible. I could understand refusing to boot the PC, but refusing to even show BIOS messages? Seriously?
        • Interesting comments

          I look forward to LoveRock coping, replacing Microsoft with Linux and pasting it every time there is mention of Linux here.

          One difference between the Linux community and the Windows fans or shills or what ever they are on this site, is that you would have gotten lots of helpful replies in a Linux threads as opposed to being treated like a Windows hater (as it is called).
          • You keep telling yourself that at night.

            Generalizing Windows users?

            So much for "helpful replies"...
          • Right

            You are the one name calling and this is not a support site of any kind.
  • Microsoft fixes Windows RT 8.1, update is back in Windows Store

    That was a pretty quick turn around time for Microsoft. Now everyone can enjoy the Microsoft Windows RT 8.1 goodness.
  • Not hard, just too hard for a normal user - Here's how

    For those in the same situation, here is a link explaining how to extract the key from the BIOS.
    • Insightful :)

      Wow, I had no idea that it takes a third party app to know what the key is. Thanks for posting that info, as I am sure it will come in handy.

      The whole "hidden key" thing sounds like a Microsoft ploy to sell more licenses in the long haul. But that could backfire for on them if frustrated Windows PC owners think they will have to pay twice they may be more likely to turn secure boot off and install Ubuntu instead.
      • Sounds More Like

        A security feature so it is not easily hacked.
  • Ummm...

    I still can't get the RT8.1 update from the Store...

    Have they pulled it again?
    • Still not in the Store

      I too cannot get the 8.1 upgrade for my Surface RT from the store. Did it get pulled once again?
      • Use this link

  • Problems after install wins 8.1

    Problems after problem arises. One or 2 items fixed and then more arises...argh!! how annoying!
    I don't understand why my Firefox & Chrome doesn't function properly. Facebook is fine and searching is fine. But when I go ahead & play videos from Youtube or other video websites it doesn't work. Nor when I try to search up Java or Adobe it doesn't allow me to do so. It's fine in I.E...but not in Firefox or Chrome! any solutions to these ongoing annoyances? I am so tempted to go back to win 8 jux bcos at least my Firefox and Chrome browser function except the window media player doesn't function or work suddenly nor YT either. Videos uploaded on Facebook works in both web-browsers (Firefox & Chrome). Just not the latter part of it. Why?!? @.@ Plus why should I pay for all those new apps that goes with Wins 8.1 --- rip-off. Normally it's all included or free!! >.