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Windows 8.1 problems and how to beat them

Windows 8.1

By Barry Collins

Posted on 21 Oct 2013 at 15:36

As with the release of any new operating system, some users have experienced problems installing and running Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1.

On this page we'll report the most serious bugs or upgrade problems and offer potential solutions. Help us and fellow readers identify and fix other problems using the comments facility at the foot of the article.

Windows RT 8.1 BSOD

The most serious bug reported so far affects Windows RT 8.1, with some users experiencing the dreaded Blue Screen of Death or Boot Configuration Data File errors after installation.

The problem is so severe that Microsoft has decided to pull the Windows RT 8.1 update from the Windows Store.

Many users have been unable to repair devices affected by the Windows RT 8.1 update, so Microsoft has released a Surface RT recovery image to help restore tablets to working order. Beware that clicking on that link will immediately instigate the 3.8GB download.

It's not yet clear when Microsoft will release a patched version of the update. (Update 23 October: Microsoft has re-released Windows RT 8.1 in the Windows Store.)

Windows 8.1 installation snags on drivers

The upgrade installation of Windows 8.1 stalled on one of our office machines because of a driver issue. Windows demanded that we uninstall "Sentinel Runtime Drivers" before the installation could proceed, but there was no obvious means of removing them via the Add/Remove Programs facility.

We found that following the instructions published by SuperUser.com solved the problem.

Remember that if you're copying the address of the downloaded file into the Command Prompt, you can't use the normal cut and paste keyboard shortcuts. Instead, use the Paste facility in the dropdown File menu of the Command Prompt.

SkyDrive files available "online only"

If you'd synchronised desktop files on your PC with SkyDrive before installing the 8.1 update, you may have been shocked when you first looked into your SkyDrive folder to discover folders now marked as available "online only".

On our test office PC, this label proved misleading. Files stored inside folders that were ostensibly "online only" were still available even when we disconnected from the internet, and the local file storage afforded to SkyDrive suggests those files are indeed still saved locally.

Microsoft's support site claims that: "The SkyDrive files you've saved or previously opened on your PC are automatically available offline on that PC. Any files you create on SkyDrive.com or another computer are online-only to save space on your PC."

To avoid any confusion, open Windows Explorer, right click on "SkyDrive" in the left-hand pane and click "Make available offline". All your files should now be synchronised locally, if they weren't already.

Limited upgrade path from Windows 8.1 Preview

This issue is not a bug: it's a pre-announced problem for those who jumped early and installed the Windows 8.1 Preview on their PC. Although you can upgrade in-place from the Preview to the final code, you may have to reinstall all your desktop and Windows Store apps.

Unofficially, our very own Darien Graham-Smith has written a blog post explaining how you can upgrade in-place from the Windows 8.1 Preview to final code and keep all your data, settings and programs intact. Several readers have reported on the comments below the blog that the method has worked for them, but we offer no guarantees, nor technical support if it goes wrong.

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User comments

Can't find System Backup?

Also for people who didn't try the preview looking for System Backup to save a Full System Image post upgrade of their computer it has been moved.

You now have to go through the File History Control Panel entry. There is a link in the bottom left corner of the File History window to access the old Windows 7 System Backup utility.

By mr_chips on 21 Oct 2013

Another Skydrive issue

Previously I'd shunned logging in with my Live account but it seems you can't use Skydrive in 8.1 unless you do this. I gave in and connected my login to my live account in the end, but I'd be curious to know if there's a work around.

By jgwilliams on 21 Oct 2013

Network Driver issues...

I'd been running 8 on an old Acer Travelmate 6292 with no problem...upgraded to 8.1 and suddenly my network devices (both hard and wifi) said not enough resources available. plugging in a usb dongle works fine though.

By MDSmith71 on 21 Oct 2013

What about the watermark for if UEFI is disabled?

Also, can anyone confirm if a 'generic key' is a good way to install W8.1 if you want to do a clean install using a W8 key?

I want to clean install 8.1 as I have other compatibility issues which really needs a clean install and I don't want to p*** about with two/three different OSs.

By tech3475 on 21 Oct 2013

* secureboot, not UEFI.

By tech3475 on 21 Oct 2013

Fuzzy Text

Since installing 8.1 the text in Explorer and MS Office 2013 windows has become fuzzy. Googling, I can see reports of problems (but no solution) in Win 8.0 relating to Clear Typre -- but I had no issues until 8.1. It is pretty horrd so I'd be grateful if anyone has found a work around.

By speedykit on 21 Oct 2013

Fuzzy Text Fixed

Having failed to find the solution last night I found it straight after the above post. If anyone else needs the fix it's at: http://www.askvg.com/fix-bold-blurry-or-hard-to-re
ad-font-problem-in-windows-8-1/

By speedykit on 21 Oct 2013

US Recovery Image?

The link you posted appears to be for a North American Recovery Image; have they not released a specific UK version?

By nrmsmith on 21 Oct 2013

Skydrive

@jgwilliams
I've ben using a utility called syncDriver that supports using Skydrive logging in with a local account

By MikeC2 on 21 Oct 2013

European Surface RT

http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/confirmati
on.aspx?id=40810# Downloads the European version of the recovery image

By DALT42 on 22 Oct 2013

Start screen not coming up after update

I have upgraded my HP Pavilion laptop to Windows 8.1 yesterday. Now the start screen is not visible. Only a black screen is visible with cursor continuously blinking. This is the same after several restarts. While upgrading to 8.1, I have gone past all steps including the verification code. Please help how to resolve this?

By Jithesh on 22 Oct 2013

Windows Transfer Wizard issue

In parallel with upgrading a bunch of 5 machines to 8.1 (all of which went without a hitch), I also bought a new desktop with a plan to move my account from an older machine.
It turns out that the Windows Transfer Wizard is only partly functional under Win8.1 - there is no option to declare a machine as the 'Old' one, so you can't create the transfer file on a PC that has been upgraded.
Equally, when importing an existing file (from Win7) it will re-establish the files but not any of the user settings.

Moral of the story - migrate files and settings before doing the upgrade - and tell MS the tool is currently broken.

By gt6man on 22 Oct 2013

Skydrive Issue

This link shows how to change to a Local Account and ignore Skydrive:
http://www.tweakhound.com/2013/10/07/windows-8-1-a
ccount-settings/

By tonyetherington on 22 Oct 2013

Slowing to a crawl

My daugher's laptop, since upgraded to 8.1, has slowed to a crawl with games, working fine before, regularly crashing. I've not had a chance to look but I've directed her to the latest graphics driver to install.

Anybody else had similiar problems?

By DArtiss on 22 Oct 2013

@Jithesh

it sounds like the system is hanging or the video driver is not being loaded.

Have you tried booting in Safe Mode?

By big_D on 22 Oct 2013

@DArtiss

No, my Atom tablet is much faster than before the upgrade.

I have read of problems with AMD graphics, but I don't know how widespread it is.

There also seems to be a random wait when waking Atom tablets from sleep. When the sensor wakes the tablet up, it seems to spring to life immediately, if I press the button it can be from immediate to about 3 seconds, before the logon screen appears.

By big_D on 22 Oct 2013

@tonyetherington

Thanks for the link but I'm actually an avid Skydrive user - particularly as I have a Windows Phone as well. I just don't see why I should have to log my PC in to a live account in order to use Skydrive. With Windows 8 you could log all the services in separately.

@MikeC2 - that looks like a useful utility. I'll check it out. Thanks for the tip.

My main gripe with logging my PC in to a live account was that I use a much stronger password on my live account than I would on a home PC, and I don't want to have to type that password in every time I start up. To be fair to MS, with 8.1 I can now use a PIN, which makes life much easier.

By jgwilliams on 22 Oct 2013

Recovery link

Now changed to the European version. Thanks for the link.

Barry Collins
Editor

By Barry_Collins on 22 Oct 2013

0xc1900102 error (SSD)

Anyone come across (or fixed?) the 0xc1900102 error, which tends to occur if you have Windows 8 on an SSD, and all your user files and folders on a big old hard drive...? Lots of blather from Microsoft online that we're not supposed to set up our PCs that way, but no actual solutions that I can find...

By martincwday on 22 Oct 2013

Not supported

If you have used one of the many tips online to move the User or Program Files directories wholesale to another volume, then you can't upgrade.

This is an unsupported configuration and Microsoft explicitly says that this is only for test platforms and no service packs or upgrades can be installed if you use this method.

The supported method is to leave Users on the system volume and reassign the users' data folders (images, documents, videos etc.) to another volume by right clicking on the relevant folder and specifying the destination for that folder.

If you have used the unsupported method, you will need to undo the mess and then use the proper method.

By big_D on 22 Oct 2013

Wifi update needed

My Samsung laptop needed a driver update to get the wifi working again

By suarvharv on 22 Oct 2013

Thanks, but...

I've only ever used the supported method.

By martincwday on 22 Oct 2013

@martincwday

I used the official method and I didn't have any problems.

The problem is, many sites offer the unofficial method as the official method, without giving the caveats that Microsoft's own website give.

Ed Bott over at ZDNet did an article on it yesterday.

http://www.zdnet.com/dont-move-your-windows-user-p
rofiles-folder-to-another-drive-7000022142/

Are you definitely using the approved method he is talking about or the one that he is warning against?

By big_D on 22 Oct 2013

@big_D

Interesting link; thanks. But I'm pretty sure I've only ever used the right-click - Properties - Location approach, and certainly wouldn't know where to start with something like sysprep!

By martincwday on 22 Oct 2013

minnehonk

i know little about the technical aspects of computers, but all of a sudden my pc with a windows 8 os, froze, than slowly responded to opening some apps, I began to get messages that a proxy was not recognized, it failed to connect to the internet, etc etc. i refreshed the computer, and it is now working fine, like many others who are complaining about the 8.1 update. I am going to wait before going through that again

By minnehonk on 22 Oct 2013

Skydrive.

I'm another one who'd rather not have to sign into a Windows account just to use Skydrive. Thanks for that link to the synch tool - I'm assuming that even if you download the Skydrive app from MS, it won't let you use it from the desktop if you've not linked a local account to a ms one.

By emmadw on 22 Oct 2013

I have downloaded 8.1 and then it goes to black screen .Is this uploading to skydrive before i can use it? With my slow internet so far has taken 48 hours!

By coolwaters on 22 Oct 2013

@coolwaters - From your post I believe your installation has stalled. There is no way it should be stuck on a blank screen or indeed take 48 hours.

By mr_chips on 23 Oct 2013

System Backup

Well the first glitch I have found since Windows 8.1 upgrade is the System Backup no longer works. It got to 25% of backup and stopped. No error message or anything. Others have reported error messages though it worked in Windows 8.

By ThatPCDude on 23 Oct 2013

kab71

Downloaded 8.1 overnight on my vaio laptop and now when I unplug from the mains the screen goes blank. Not had a chance to play with it yet but dreading this evening and what other problems I'm likely to have.

By kab71 on 24 Oct 2013

Not all bad

Just to weigh in on the other side, I downloaded 8.1 via the Windows Store and everything is absolutely fine. I had to reinstall the Cisco AnyConnect VPN software but otherwise I've had no problems at all.

By jgwilliams on 24 Oct 2013

Proxy settings

Since installing 8.1, the first thing I have to do when switching is go to proxy settings and set to automatic. Everything is then OK. The save button does nothing. I have to do this every day. Any ideas please?

By Papa_Bear_1352 on 24 Oct 2013

Nick Robinson

Windows 8 updates prior to upgrade left my laptop stuck in an Automatic repair loop and necessitated a clean install of 8 followed by an immediate update to 8.1. I could have avoided the unnecessary restore of windows 8.0 if Microsoft had allowed the download of an 8.1 ISO on my valid Win 8.0 product key!
I have everything restored but find that there some kind of issue with the USB print server on my Billion BiPAC 7800DXL router. I have a Dymo labelwriter shared across my home network plugged into that and my two PC's running win 7 work with it flawlessly. It worked with my laptop on win 8.0. I have plugged the Dymo directly into the laptop and all is well hence suspecting the issue is with the print server.
I await comment from Billion on the issue.

By Wemyss_Bay on 24 Oct 2013

Proxy settings

Since installing 8.1, the first thing I have to do when switching is go to proxy settings and set to automatic. Everything is then OK. The save button does nothing. I have to do this every day. Any ideas please?

By Papa_Bear_1352 on 24 Oct 2013

Sentinel Runtime Drivers and other issues

Came across this issue, Googled it, and uninstalled - great. But I can't find any reference anywhere about what it did or, more importantly, what I might not be able to do somewhere down the line. Anybody have any clues?

Previous to 8.1 installation, I didn't have the inconvenience of having to negotiate the lock screen when starting up, now I do. How can I get rid of it?

My Bluetooth mouse had to go through the recognition process again, annoying but no big deal.

Altogether, installation isn't as smooth as I expected, and I'm expecting further glitches as I plod on.

By clunker on 24 Oct 2013

Windows 8.1 Internet Explorer Glitch

I installed Windows 8.1 from the Microsoft Store with initially no problems. Or so I thought. I tried to enter Internet Explorer and an information box saying "Preparing to Install" appread and immediately disappeared. It kept doing this every half a second or so even after exiting Internet Explorer and stopped only once I clicked inside the Taskbar. Anyone any suggestions?

By Mackem_Beefy on 24 Oct 2013

zzykn

I guess by now most Windows users are used to first day blues with any new OS!? release. Imagine being conditioned over 10 years to think like that... Apologies for the comment just had a bad day undoing a Windows 7 update for a client...

By seirra on 24 Oct 2013

BT Mail & Outlook 2013

Following installation of 8.1 I am able to send mail but messages will not download to my Inbox in Outlook 2013 - a major problem. How do I cure it?

By HTBell on 24 Oct 2013

To mke you guys

Feel a little better, Mavericks is also causing problems on the OS X side of the fence with broken drivers and applications.

Parallels and Boinc being apps that are causing the most problems. Some Safari plugins as well.

On my iMac, it was the Apple aluminium keyboard that caused problems. It kept auto repeating on its own. Even a reboot didn't help. In the end, I had to pull the plug and the start again. It seems to be behaving now.

By big_D on 25 Oct 2013

If not appering in Store see this.

If you CAN'T find out the UPDATE in of Windows 8.1 in Windows 8 Store to Update and download see this video :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoUQ3eO_0g4 ;) Working like charm!!

By Shashank on 25 Oct 2013

Fix of Windows 8.1 blank screen after update from windows 8 to 8.1

i had issue that my login screen not appear after updating to 8.1 then i find a good real time solution at http://www.askbeen.com/26691/fix-windows-blank-scr
een-after-boot-on-updating-windows-to-1

By gaurav on 25 Oct 2013

windows applications can't start

After upgrading to 8.1 the calculator and a few apps cld nt start. They start and upon loading they crash or jus dissapear. Later on I realised it was a number of them that can't initialise. One of the default applications, Messaging is not there. I upgraded via store and my previous windows was from an original OS disc. I'm under full protection of Norton as well that is updatin every update daily. I'm not too sure guys if its only me, or if its a virus or something else. I wanted to refresh but the problem is I'm not having a windows 8.1 pro disc. Is there also anywhere to download it?
Help much appreciated...pls help

By Poolijays on 29 Oct 2013

Don't do an upgrade

Had a serious episode of De Ja Vu. Way back when I first installed Windows XP (remember that) I did it as an upgrade over W98. When I told my colleague what I thought of his advice to install XP he gave me a bit of advice I've stuck with ever since - Don't Upgrade - always do a fresh install. In the case of XP it was like chalk and cheese - lightning fast - no issues - at least by 1999 standards :)
I tried an upgrade to W8.1 from W8 pro and it was as I say - very reminiscent of my W98 to XP upgrade - driver issues / slowness / hangs / unexplained reboots and error messages. Just did a clean install of 8.1 and OMG - it flies - not a single issue and with the Samsung EVO 840 SSD I used for the install this is the bees knees. :)

By robd999 on 4 Nov 2013

Don't do an upgrade

Had a serious episode of De Ja Vu. Way back when I first installed Windows XP (remember that) I did it as an upgrade over W98. When I told my colleague what I thought of his advice to install XP he gave me a bit of advice I've stuck with ever since - Don't Upgrade - always do a fresh install. In the case of XP it was like chalk and cheese - lightning fast - no issues - at least by 1999 standards :)
I tried an upgrade to W8.1 from W8 pro and it was as I say - very reminiscent of my W98 to XP upgrade - driver issues / slowness / hangs / unexplained reboots and error messages. Just did a clean install of 8.1 and OMG - it flies - not a single issue and with the Samsung EVO 840 SSD I used for the install this is the bees knees. :)

By robd999 on 4 Nov 2013

Problem with Store

I just performed a clean boot of windows 8.1 pro x86. when i try to type some keys in windows store search, the store just get close every time. further i noticed that the downloads in store is slow and difficult compared to windows 8.

By Pradeep119 on 7 Nov 2013

Problem with Store

I just performed a clean boot of windows 8.1 pro x86. when i try to type some keys in windows store search, the store just get close every time. further i noticed that the downloads in store is slow and difficult compared to windows 8.

By Pradeep119 on 7 Nov 2013

more gripes

when I finally managed to get the upgrade (ms shop unavailable for several days) everything went fine (but slow, I went to bed and finished off next day). Biggest naus was having to regenerate a MS account to finish tyhe job (didn't know about the local account dodge).

First moan, single account but I have to login everytime .. yuk.

Problems .. several apps won't run properly .. notably Programmers Notepad when editing from the context menu; Avira's firewall will not turn on (and its icon disappeared from the task bar.

I have a spanish machine that I set to English .. it never did this 100% but after the upgrade it's a complete mess spanish words all over the place (no big deal but it's annoying).

By aparato on 7 Nov 2013

Windows 8.1 file explorer not showing any connected telephones as drives

Since installing 8.1 upgrade File explorer does not show any type of smart phone as a drive and Windows phone metro app does not recognise Lumia 920 windoes phone.
Is this going to be fixed?

By cthompsonmcs on 7 Nov 2013

graphpics problem...

i have just recently installed windows 8.1 and now every game i have says its having depth problems everything i try dosnt work and all my games are messed up

By redmaiingan on 11 Nov 2013

Happy user.....

Well, I took the opportunity to upgrade my ageing Core2Duo laptop with an SSD and a fresh install of Windows 8.1. Smooth (and fast!) install, no issues with drivers and performance is super fast. Getting to grips with the Metro interface and I have to say I'm liking it a lot. Happy days!

By everton2004 on 13 Nov 2013

You don't know how helpful this is going to be for me to know how to fix Windows 8.1 problem. http://t.co/X6pZPa2IXK

By kongdeng on 14 Nov 2013

Can't install any programs after Windows 8.1 Update

Windows 8.1 Pro
Automatic Updates applied approximately 2 weeks ago.
Ever since any attempt to install software via .msi files, including those from MS, fail. The little spinning wheel appears for a few seconds and then nothing. I am admin on this machine. Any solutions?

By AHill1950 on 28 Nov 2013

My blogs aren't working

Just wondering if my problem is related to recent Windows 8.1 upgrade...I use Chrome most of the time and I can't connect to my blogs which are all Wordpress but through different hosts. Even logging into some of he hosts websites is causing dramas with the "Oops Chrome could not find www..." report. The problem has only started since I downloaded Windows 8.1 a couple of days ago. When Chrome does find the sites, some of the images are not loading, esp embedded videos. Is anyone else having these problems? Is it Windows related?

By Suzarella on 29 Nov 2013

Windows Mail won't run after 8.1

I found a fix thanks to some Googling, for the Store not opening, using the CMD window and some code. But I'm having the same exact problem with Mail not opening. I get blue screen after clicking Mail. Can anyone help? I have re-installed it after I got the Store working again but I can't fix the Mail. Any suggestions would be wonderful. Thank you, johnnymcelroy@outlook.com

By jmcelroy75 on 6 Dec 2013

Windows 8.1 kills 1024x768 emulation on netbooks.

I upgraded a Lenovo S10-3 netbook with an SSD drive and 2GB of RAM and installed Windows 8 preview edition. On the day it was released, I installed Windows 8 Pro and it went like a rocket, booting to the UI in just 12 seconds. To run the UI, I set the netbook to 1024x768 in emulation mode and really enjoyed using the netbook. Windows 8.1 killed this off and the only solution was the "factory reset" option of reverting to Windows 8. The bottom line is simple, "if it aint broken, don't fix it, at least not with with Windows 8.1

By 8TheDinosaur on 30 Jan 2014

BSoD is common in Win 8.1 Pro also.

We have two i7 computers (laptop and Haswell Desktop) both running seperate copies of Windows 8.1 Pro and both of them get regular BSoD crashes (every week); and the laptop is the worst as when we press the keypad plus sicn or a combination of numbers, the laptop gives an immediate BSoD. Wen we put the Windows 7 drive back in the laptop we get No BSoD.
Thus it is not the hardware.
People. Dodge W 8.1 like you would Vista. Stick to XP or go linux or something. We hate losing work we are halfway through and the system crashes causing us to lose it all.

By rogerthat1945 on 27 Feb 2014

BSoD is common in Win 8.1 Pro also.

We have two i7 computers (laptop and Haswell Desktop) both running seperate copies of Windows 8.1 Pro and both of them get regular BSoD crashes (every week); and the laptop is the worst as when we press the keypad plus sicn or a combination of numbers, the laptop gives an immediate BSoD. Wen we put the Windows 7 drive back in the laptop we get No BSoD.
Thus it is not the hardware.
People. Dodge W 8.1 like you would Vista. Stick to XP or go linux or something. We hate losing work we are halfway through and the system crashes causing us to lose it all.

By rogerthat1945 on 28 Feb 2014

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