surface2rt.bmp

Microsoft pulled a version of its Windows 8.1 update from the Microsoft Store over the weekend following complaints "from a limited number of users."

Some people who installed the Windows RT operating system (OS) update on their tablet computers experienced boot configuration data errors, which resulted in that infamous Blue Screen of Death.

Microsoft, which described the situation as "temporary,"  issued a Surface RT recovery image today to address some of the Windows RT 8.1 update issues.

UPDATE: Microsoft has now (22 October) fixed the issue and restored the update for downloading from the Windows Store. It blamed the issue on non-timely firmware updates that affected a "very small percentage of users."

Blue Screens of Death

Just last Thursday, Microsoft launched its massive Windows 8.1 update for both Intel and ARM machines. The Windows update for Pro users seems to have gone okay, with limited griping across social media. The closest we got to drama on one of our own machines was that we had to manually install an audio driver.

However, things did not go as well for some users updating their ARM-based devices to Windows 8.1 RT, an OS optimized for thin and light PCs. Some people got an ominous blue-screen message that their "PC needs to be repaired." Microsoft isn't estimating how many people are affected, but with relatively low sales and only a small number of RT models (Samsung's ATIV being the most memorable alternative) on the market it should represent a relatively small percentage of Windows users.

Microsoft pulled the update from its App store Saturday to prevent further issues. According to a company statement, it is "investigating a situation affecting a limited number of users updating their Windows RT devices to Windows RT 8.1. As a result, we have temporarily removed the Windows RT 8.1 update from the Windows Store."

This morning, the company released a recovery image that requires a USB drive with more than 4GB of storage and a PC running Windows 7 or later. The instructions indicate the fix will address startup errors associated with the update.

Users have been sharing advice all weekend about ways to get tablets working again and interest in the workaround fix seems pretty lively. 

Apps Running On All Your Hardware

The new Surface 2 tablets (dropping the RT name) come with the latest version of the Windows OS already installed and seem to be working fine. These beefed-up machines with high-definition screens, improved battery life, quad-core CPUs and refined keyboards and stands are Microsoft's main hope for selling Windows RT to consumers. It's anyone's guess whether the new OS and improvements in hardware will actually get that particular train moving. 

An interesting nugget of Windows-related information that cropped up over the weekend was a statement from Dell, which suggested Windows 8 apps should run fine on Microsoft's upcoming Xbox One console. Microsoft has never confirmed this, but since the XB1 runs Windows 8, it should be possible.

Perhaps Dell is getting ahead of itself, but Microsoft would benefit from having a single app store across phones, tablets, PCs and console. It might be a distant dream, but one it could actively be working toward. 

If you are one of the unlucky users who experienced problems with the Windows 8.1 RT update, we'd like to hear from you. Share your experiences below.