Windows RT 8.1 upgrade fails with Boot Configuration error

Posted: October 19, 2013 in Solved, Surface RT, Windows Update, Windows8
Tags: , , , , , , ,

UPDATE 19 August 2014 regarding KB14-045 bluescreens:

Although I don’t have a fix, there seems to be a lot of people finding this post while searching about the recent bluescreen issue caused by Microsoft Updates KB14-045. I have started a new post about this issue here:

http://kickthatcomputer.wordpress.com/2014/08/19/windows-update-kb2982791-ms14-045-causing-bluescreen/


Microsoft have now released the Full Recovery Image for WinRT (3.7GB download). You can get it here: http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en-us/support/warranty-service-and-recovery/surface-rt-startup-error-0xc000000d?lc=1033

It uses the same steps to complete the upgrade with the last part being to recreate the full recovery volume. Some news sites are saying the MS image will revert you to 8.0, it does not. It will complete the 8.1 upgrade and then the extra steps are to recreate the on-device recovery volume with the 8.0 image which only applies if you rollback sometime in the future.

First point – How annoying is it that you can only update Windows RT from the App Store, although probably not a drama if you only have one tablet. Slightly annoying if you have two. Both need to download the update, so that’s 2x the several GB needed. If you happen to be an enterprise/business that decided to buy several of them (does such a entity exist?) then it would appear you are about to have a ton of downloads happening unless you boost your proxy cache size.

And now for todays story. I updated one Surface RT with no drama. It took a long time but I just let it run overnight and it was all good the next morning. The other tablet, not so good.

WP_002371 (768x1024)

Recovery
Your PC needs to be repaired
The Boot Configuration Data file is missing some required information
File: \BCD
Error code: 0xc000000d

Yay.

Although it takes a while, and might be a bit tricky, it does seem to be fairly easy to recover from. (UPDATE: I have now received multiple confirmations that this works, and no data is lost!)

SOLUTION

First you will need to create a bootable USB recovery drive. If you don’t have one, no problem, you can create one from another Windows computer (http://kickthatcomputer.wordpress.com/2013/10/19/creating-a-windows-rt-recovery-usb-key/)

NOTE: You can create a USB recovery drive using ANY Windows computer running XP or above. You could probably even do it on a Linux machine. You just need to be able to format the USB drive as FAT32 and extract .zip files!

  1. Insert the USB key in the side of your Surface
  2. While pressing the “volume down” button (-) press the power button (keep holding the volume button)
    1. When the “Surface” logo appears, you can release the volume button
  3. Wait until the Keyboard Language prompt appears
    1. Scroll tediously through the list to find your language and select it (who designed this UI!?!?!?)
    2. WP_002373 (1024x768)
  4. Select the “Troubleshoot” option
    1. WP_002374 (1024x768)
  5. Select “Advanced options”
    1. WP_002379 (1024x768)
  6. (this step removed, it never worked anyway)
  7. (this step removed, it never worked anyway)
  8. Select  “Command Prompt”
    1. WP_002378 (1024x768)
    2. If you get a message about needing to enter your encryption key, see the end of my blog post here: http://kickthatcomputer.wordpress.com/2013/10/19/creating-a-windows-rt-recovery-usb-key/
    3. WP_002395 (1024x768)
    4. When the command prompt opens type the following and press enter after each
    5. C:
    6. bootrec /rebuildbcd
    7. A  (When prompted for options to add to boot list)
    8. Exit (to close the command prompt)
    9. WP_002386 (1024x768)
  9. Now click “Continue” to boot into Windows RT 8.1
    1. WP_002387 (1024x768)
  10. At this point the Windows 8.1 upgrade will continue without needing to restore the entire tablet from scratch
    1. WP_002390 (1024x768)
    2. It will take a while, so feel free to find something else to do for a while. It’s probably time to wash the dishes or mow the lawn or something anyway.
  11. When it finally finishes, you will get the License Terms screen followed by the rest of the tablet setup steps.
    1. WP_002394 (1024x768)

All fixed, Enjoy!

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Comments
  1. Luca says:

    Usb drive don’t read.. after “bootrec/rebuildbcd don’t find nothing on USB drive

    • Scott says:

      If you got to that point then the USB must be working because that’s where the recovery stuff is running from.
      At the rebuild step is it not seeing the Surface drive and giving you the choice of C:\windows?
      Did you get a prompt about the drive being encrypted? Is this a Surface RT, and what is the error you actually see that you are trying to fix?

  2. Terrance says:

    I never got the prompt about the drive being encrypted. It just go to the X drive

    • Scott says:

      It depends on how you created the recovery disk if the Encryption prompt appears, that’s why I have that step as “If you get a message” to go to another set of instructions.
      In most cases it doesn’t appear.

      • Terrance says:

        Oh… My bad I’ve just reread the step again. Also everytime I input C:\> bootrec /rebuildbcd I get this reply “successful scanned windows installation. Total identified windows installations: 0 the operation completed successfully.” will I need to install window again on this computer because it is not being found?

        • Scott says:

          Possibly. Did you create the boot disk using the same type of machine? It might be that the recovery disk is missing the drivers that let it see the disk. If you do have a windows DVD then try booting with it and do a repair install as the DVD often has more drivers included that may help.

  3. Mirabelle says:

    I’ve got the USB recovery now (tried with a disk as well but no luck) and I physically cannot get anything from my laptop. Just that same error message, I’ve followed these instructions (as well as others) and just nothing, nothing comes up. But it is that exact message. What can I do?

    • Scott says:

      If you have a windows DVD you can try booting with it and seeing if it recognises the old install and offers a repair or a new install where it makes a copy of the old one.
      Alternatively, if you don’t have the means, something like a usb adapter will allow you to connect the laptop to another computer and see if it can access the data.
      You may need to find a friend or take it to a shop that can do computer repairs.

  4. sastramulasiregar@gmail.com says:

    hi, i lived in UAE and bought the RT here in abudhabi.
    i’ve created file with the USB, but during power up+volume button (step 2) nothing happened to my surface, only the same blue screen with the error code.
    please advise,

    Sastra

    • Scott says:

      Sometimes you might need to try a couple of times to get it to boot to the USB key if you don’t press the buttons correctly. Also, many times the USB key is the problem. Try creating it again, or try a different USB key as most times that seems to be the main cause.

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