Microsoft: Windows RT 8.1 fix still in the works

Microsoft officials say a fix to Window RT 8.1 is still in the works two days after the company pulled the operating system update from the Windows Store. Updating issues are affecting Surface RT owners only, Microsoft says.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Two days after pulling its Windows RT 8.1 from the Windows Store, seemingly due to installation issues, Microsoft is still working to fix glitches in update to the Windows RT operating system and make it again downloadable from the Windows Store.

Microsoft made commercially available both Windows RT 8.1 (for ARM-based systems) and Windows 8.1 (for Intel-based ones) starting October 17. Microsoft made it so some users who already had the Core and Pro Windows 8 on their devices could get the update for free by downloading it from the Windows Store.


But from the get-go, a number of users were reporting problems finding the update and getting it to install on their Microsoft- and non-Microsoft hardware. There were reports of some Surface RT users having their machines bricked as a result of applying the update.

Microsoft pulled the update from the Store on October 19 without explaining exactly why. Company officials promised to update users about what was happening.

On October 21, the company quietly made available a Surface RT recovery image, allowing those with borked Surface RT 8.1 updates to more easily reinstall Windows RT. For those affected by the Surface RT 8.1 installation issue, here's Microsoft's guidance as to what you can do to try to recover your machine.

 On October 21, a spokesperson sent me this statement:

"Based on our investigations of a situation customers have encountered updating to Windows RT 8.1, we can confirm that as of now this is a Windows update issue only affecting Surface RT customers. While only less than 1 out of every 1,000 (or less than 0.1 percent) Surface RT customers who have installed Windows RT 8.1 have been impacted, improving their experience and ensuring their systems are fully operable as quickly as possible is our number one priority.

We have made recovery media available for download here along with actionable guidance for affected customers. We continue to work towards making the Windows RT 8.1 update available in the Windows Store again and apologize for any inconvenience. Further updates will be provided as they become available."

So even though the problem with Windows RT 8.1 seems to be particular to the Surface hardware, the 8.1 update is not available for anyone with any kind of ARM hardware at this point.

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