Microsoft Confirms Surface Update Glitch Impacting Some RT Tablets


Microsoft has halted a Windows 8.1 RT update for its Surface RT tablet and is directing those impacted by a botched update to download Windows RT recovery media to restore their Surface RT tablets to a previous state.

Late Thursday, Microsoft issued a Windows 8.1 update to customers. Within hours of the update's release a minority of Surface RT users complained of a wide variety of problems ranging from having their devices "bricked" to seeing a "blue screen of death" on their tablets. At the time, Microsoft said it was "investigating the situation."

On Monday, Microsoft confirmed a "Windows update issue" impacting less than 1 percent of Surface RT owners. Four days into its botched rollout of the Windows 8.1 RT update, there is no clear indication when a new update will be available.

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Microsoft released the following statement to CRN:

"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."

The update hiccup appears to be isolated to Surface RT and is not impacting upgrades to Windows 8.1 for Surface Pro and desktop and laptop PCs.

Large direct market reseller PCM, one of a few commercial resellers of the Surface tablet, said it has not received any reported problems with Surface RT tablet upgrades. "I haven't heard any negative complaints about Surface 8.1 RT device upgrades we have sold," said Adam Shaffer, executive vice president of brand and product marketing at the El Segundo, Calif.-based national solution provider.

Reported problems are an embarrassment for Microsoft, which has faced a wide range of criticism over its Surface RT tablets since they began shipping in October 2012. Reviewers have blasted the tablet for its poor performance, short battery life and ability to only run a small number of Metro-style apps.

In its fiscal fourth-quarter 2013 earnings, Microsoft revealed a $900 million loss due to Surface RT "inventory adjustments."

PUBLISHED OCT. 21, 2013