Bad Firmware Caused Windows RT Upgrade Woes

The Windows RT 8.1 update is now back online after Microsoft pulled the plug on the rollout last Friday, October 18, due to reports of "bricked" RT-based devices. Turns out the problem was limited to around 1 out of every 1,000 Surface RT 8.1 installs, leaving these devices incomplete in their update and unbootable. Microsoft released a recovery image on Monday to address the problem, and now the company is providing an explanation.

"This was due to a rare situation where firmware updates had not completed at the time of the update to RT 8.1," reads a statement from a Microsoft forum moderator. "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," the moderator adds. "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."

"We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused," the post concludes. "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."

Previously, the problem was believed to have affected many Windows RT-based tablets, but Microsoft dispelled that theory immediately, as stated above. For Surface RT customers in North America who still need the recovery image, head here and grab the 3.7 GB file. Customers will be required to make a FAT32-based bootable USB drive and dump the recovery image contents into the free space.

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  • alextheblue
    On every RT/8 device (including a few Surfaces) I updated (for friends and family), I made sure it had the current updates, including firmware, installed before installing 8.1. Zero issues. If you install a firmware update but don't reboot and finish the install, you're begging for trouble.
    6
  • sean1357
    CRC. Didn't do a good job flash firmware checking... that caused the problem failed... Hope someone didn't get an axe....
    -2
  • sean1357
    CRC. Didn't do a good job flash firmware checking... that caused the problem failed... Hope someone didn't get an axe....
    -3