Thursday, June 27, 2013

Windows 8.1 Preview installation experience on my DELL Latitude 10 Essentials tablet (part 1: things going horribly wrong)

First thing I did after waking up today was checking if the Windows 8.1 Preview update was available to download. It sure was and I proceeded to install it on my tablet. The PC was doing a 24hr Prime95 stress test (increased it from 12 to 24) and I couldn't install it in the PC just yet. 

So I searched for the 8.1 update and it took me to this Microsoft website. From there I had to download a small setup program which was required to modify the Windows Store app so that the update shows up on it. When I ran that setup file, it installed few thing and restarted Windows. Before showing the welcome screen, it did some changes to Windows like what it does after Windows Update installs some updates. 

When I came back to the desktop, I was asked to go to the Windows Store to download the 8.1 Preview update. It was there and I continued with the update. It downloaded a rather large update file measuring 2GB, slowly over the Wi-Fi network and started to install it. 

The first thing it did was to check whether the system was compatible. (WTF! They check for compatibility after I've wasted about an hour downloading the update? Which idiot came up with that design?) It found one compatibility issue. It was the Dell Data Access Protection software. Bloatware, it must be. The setup couldn't continue before I uninstalled it and dealt with it. The setup minimized to the system tray until I finished removing that software. 

I was asked to reboot after the removal of the software and I just assumed nothing will go wrong. When I rebooted, the setup wasn't there in the system tray. But when I went into the Windows Store, it was there and I could resume the update....except I couldn't. It gave me an error and the setup could not be resumed. The only thing I could do was to cancel the update. And guess what? It just removed the downloaded file. Great! What a waste! With all that happened, sadly I forgot to capture a screenshot of the error. Stupid me!

Then I updated the firmware of the tablet because there was a new one available (A03), updated the drivers (network drivers) and rebooted to reduce the chance of an incompatibility issue arising the next time around. After rebooting Windows, the Windows Store wouldn't launch. It would just wait there at the splash screen without doing anything else other than showing that busy animation. I gave it a few minutes to fix it by itself, but it didn't work. The only option I could think of was to restore the system to a fresh state. 

So I went into the PC Settings to do a Refresh. I haven't been successful with it on the Desktop because it asked for the installation media to continue. I only have an ISO and a bootable USB stick. No disc. I was hoping that Dell had configured it properly so that I don't need to manually provide the installation media. It should be already there in some recovery partition. And it worked fine! I didn't have to do anything. The refresh worked on the tablet with zero hiccups. 

I thought I would have to sign in with the Microsoft Account but I didn't have to. It also had the Wi-Fi settings saved. Even the automatic login worked! When I got into the desktop, the apps were also in there. (Not the desktop applications though.) The only thing missing was the network locations I had added to the Explorer to quickly access the content stored on the Desktop PC. It's no big deal. 

At least one good came out of all this. 

I didn't have any more time to waste in the morning, so I left the tablet as is, and came to work. When I get back home, I will try again. (That's the part2, and hopefully the last part.)

Edit: It says that this update isn't compatible with tablets running the new Clovertrail CPUs. Windows blog lists few such tablets but doesn't list mine. Maybe I won't have an issue? I will surely find out when I get back home. 
I was successful the 2nd time. Read all about it here.
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