Bricked Surface RT Fix Now Available from Microsoft

Only days after it began offering the free Windows 8.1 update to users through the Windows Store, Microsoft has pulled Windows RT 8.1 for Windows RT users and released a software download designed to recover Surface RTs that won’t start after being upgraded.

Microsoft informally announced that it’d pulled Windows 8.1 for Windows RT users over the weekend on its Microsoft Answers community. According to a forum moderator for the site, the company pulled the update saying “ [Microsoft] is investigating a situation affecting a limited number of users updating their Windows devices to Windows RT 8.1.”

While the Windows 8.1 update has gone pretty smoothly for users with devices running Windows 8, the results have been decidedly mixed for Windows RT users. Unlike Windows 8, Windows RT devices are powered by ARM processors and technology that makes those devices much more like an iPad than a typical Windows device. Although the two versions of Windows look the same, users can’t install desktop applications on Windows RT devices. It’s Windows RT that powers Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet.

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Read: Windows 8.1 Review

While Microsoft hasn’t provided anymore details about the situation in the Microsoft Answer’s post, it has added a Surface RT Recovery Image to its website. Its Microsoft’s hope that this image will fix the start up errors that many Windows RT users are reporting. While the download itself might be straight forward, getting it on a bricked Surface RT isn’t without its drawbacks. Microsoft says the process requires the user to create a bootable flash drive with at least 4GB of storage space.

All that being said, the new is decidedly mixed for owners of devices harmed by the Windows RT 8.1 update that aren’t made by Microsoft. Today’s download is specifically meant to address the issues of Surface RT users, not Windows RT in general. That means that other affected devices running Windows RT, like Dell’s XPS 10, will stay unusable in the short-term.

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Dell, Lenovo and other Windows RT device manufacturers have yet to detail how they’ll enable customers to fix the errors created by the software upgrade.

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