Microsoft Clarifies Surface RT Windows 8.1 Update Problems

Microsoft is finally clarifying its reasoning and motives for taking down the Windows 8.1 update for Windows RT users, and according to the company, the issues are specific to its Surface RT tablet.

In a statement sent to ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft says that the issue that forced it to remove Windows 8.1 from the Windows Store on devices running Windows RT, are specific to its Surface RT tablet.

However, the update will remain unavailable for Windows RT users while it investigates. Windows RT also runs on a variety of tablets and hybrid tablet/notebook devices from Dell, Lenovo and others.

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Over the weekend Microsoft silently pulled the update from the Windows Store after confirming that it was seeing reports of devices that were harmed by the update.

“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.”

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Read: Bricked Surface RT Fix Now Available from Microsoft

Microsoft made the recovery media described in the statement available to users this morning. It also added a new page to guide users through the process of restoring their Surface RT to Windows 8. As the problem is specific to the Surface RT, this statement does explain why no other Windows RT device manufacturers stepped forward to help users after the problem first surfaced.

Unfortunately, users will need to have at least a 4GB flash drive on-hand to get their affected Surface RT working again. They’ll also need to format that USB drive to make sure that there is nothing else on it per Microsoft’s instructions.

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