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:

Microsoft have now released the Full Recovery Image for WinRT (3.7GB download). You can get it here:

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)

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


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!)


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 (

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:
    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!

  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. 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,


    • 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.

  5. Mehmet Can Kahraman says:

    Thanks a lot, that worked.

  6. uday says:

    Add installation to boot list? A
    The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable .This problem will shown how to solve this plz help me frnds

    • Scott says:

      I don’t really understand what you are saying or asking. If you are seeing something different to what I have described then you most likely have a different problem.

  7. jesusfresus says:

    I have almost that exact screen except it has this error code: 0xc0000034
    Do you think this process will work for that too?

    • Scott says:

      That error code indicates a different problem. Did you install some new updates recently and does you computer restart back into Windows again?

      You may need to look at removing and recent updates you applied, and then try installing them one at a time to see which causes the problem.

      • jesusfresus says:

        Thank you for replying. I am not sure what my mother in law did to come to this point. Our problem is that we don’t have an installation disc or recovery disc. Every site that I have investigated has said that you need that in order to proceed. I also noticed that many people have had this problem. I haven’t had problems with Windows like this. Is it mostly a Windows 8 issue? Thanks

      • Mary says:

        Scott, Mary here. I’m a boob when it comes to this stuff but I, too, get error message 0xc0000034 and I’m fairly certain I deleted a “command” or executable file when trying to free up some space. Any advice for me? (Surface RT 8.1)

        • Scott says:

          Without knowing specifically what you have done it’s hard to say. The best chance might be to use the recovery disk to boot, then see if you have the option to perform a system restore to the last save state.
          Alternatively, if you do just do a new install it should make a backup of your existing data in a windows.old folder that you can retrieve your files from. In some cases it may even just repair the existing installation like new.
          First thing to do is create the recovery disk, then copy of any files you need just to be sure.

        • says:

          Scott, Maybe I should use “reply” below… THANK YOU for responding I’m certain you know the frustration of tech dummies like me… who know just enough to be dangerous!!! I’m writing from my SURFACE so by some small miracle I was successful in “refreshing” or “restoring” or “renewing” OR “resetting” or WHATEVER!!! FYI I HAD created a recovery disk – which when I put in the USB and attempted to boot from it, nothing happened. Spent hours creating a new recovery USB (trying to) only to learn the 8 GB USB would not accept the data. (newly formatted)

          Anyway… remember the “dangerous” thing I mentioned? I tried the ORIGINAL recovery USB again only this time I held the “volume-down” button (which is part of the instructions after creating a new boot disk) and it took me to the recovery screens. I went from there…

          The problem remains I have too much %$#@ on the machine (which I believe is what got me here in the first place!) and after fumbling through, doing as I was instructed -sometimes via “eeny meeny miney moe” no bells and whistles went off, no lights-a-flashin’ no “SUCCESS” OR “CONGRATULATIONS” but after following the prompts and ultimately shutting down, this baby has been purrin’ for me.

          Stumbled upon your blog in my desperation and grateful for that because, if nothing else, you were are voice of reason, calm and knowledge at a time when I could have been hairless had I continued on the path I was on. (If I read “thanks for asking Mary” ONE MORE TIME…)

          So all this to say – thanks Scott.

          Wish me continued miracles, Merry Christmas, Mary

        • Scott says:

          Glad I was able to offer some assistance.
          Regarding issues about lack of space, I recently went through that with my daughters Surface as well. The simplest solution is to buy a micro-SDXC card, I’d recommend at least 32GB, and insert it into the slot behind the kick stand. You can then move all your documents, pictures, movies etc into it and free up plenty of space on the surface. You can get them quote cheaply now. Just make sure you ask for the MICRO sdXc version.

  8. gilou225 says:

    thank you.. it works for me!!

  9. Boo Fool says:

    Didn’t work…
    On the 7th step I get this error:
    “the requested system device cannot be found”

    I’m stuck in there.
    My PC doesn’t start.

    Help me please.

    • Scott says:

      These instructions were specifically for resolving the boot issue with Windows RT tablets. While the steps might work for similar issues with other computers, there are still a lot of other things that can cause the same sort of issues.

      I assume you are referring to the step where you change to the C: and run the bootrec command?

      what was/is the actual error you are seeing? Are you able to switch to the C: without seeing that error?

      • Boo Fool says:

        6 – bootrec /rebuildbcd
        7 – A (When prompted for options to add to boot list)

        After doing the 7th step I get the mentioned error:
        “the requested system device cannot be found”

        I can browse my C:\ dir, I can see my files there.
        The error comes after using the “bootrec /rebuildbcd” command.

        • Scott says:

          When you run the bootrec command (Before pressing “A”) does it show you the C:\Windows entry?
          Are you running this on a Surface RT using the recovery image from Microsoft, or are you doing this on a different type of PC using a recover image from somewhere else?

  10. SAP says:

    same with me:
    C:\> bootrec /rebuildbcd
    7 – A (When prompted for options to add to boot list)

    After doing the 7th step I get the mentioned error:
    “the requested system device cannot be found”


  11. Zack Bana says:

    Many thanks. Your solution works!

  12. solo says:

    the recovery image 3.7 GB is too big for me to download. me internet connection has failed to download it for several months. can i get a small media which will enable me recover my surface rt 32 GB. My email is [removed] . Thank you.

    • Scott says:

      Sorry, but I don’t have a copy anymore. It would only help (possibly) to get your surface started again, but the mandatory updates will effectively need you to download them all again anyway. The best suggestion I have would be to ask a friend to download a copy for you using their connection.

  13. Kay says:

    Hi Scotts,

    Nice blog post. kindly help in with your guide on the same problem am facing on my dell 7352 win8.1 2in1. i have tired to use the install usb bootable to repair the BCD/Microsoft/BCD error file but its system wont boot after the windows logo only stuck at black screen and for hours it wont bring the language selection. i read your blog to recovery the system with recovery image but windows site will ask for surface key which i dont have cos my system is Dell 2in1. Please advise. i would be glad if you can help with the small bootable recovery drive (about 250MB) you mention on your blog to resolve the issue.

    • Scott says:

      It would look like you have a different issue as this party is specifically regarding the WindowsRT issue from quite some time ago.
      The boot image mentioned in the post won’t help you as it is only for the RT version of windows.
      If you are able to use your USB key to boot the computer into safe mode then I would suggest doing that to get a copy of any essential files you have.
      The next option would be to run the Windows install. If it detects the existing corrupt version it may be able to do a repair install, our our will at least do a fresh install and move your files into a Windows.old folder
      It may be best to try asking Dell support or forums a they may be able to give you more specific advice about this machine.

  14. Hi Scott, could u pls help my .My Surface is stuck loading on the “Surface” screen.i hv already tried thousand times to create a recovery usb disk as mentioned in microsoft website.but nothing really happened here.what is the problem here??pls help

    • Scott says:

      Are you having problems creating the USB key, or getting it to boot on your Surface?
      Do you get any other errors or messages other than seeing the “Surface” screen?

  15. Katrien says:

    I’ve got the same problem on my pc. Do you have a solution for this? It’s my sisters computer,so i’m really desperate…



  16. homerjsimpson8 says:

    I had same problem after HP laptop was upgraded from Win 7 to Win 10. Likewise automatic repair did not work but rebuilding bcd command did. Thank you

  17. Edier Atilua says:

    Muchas gracias

  18. Lindsey says:

    thank you so so much! i really appreciate it.

  19. Abdulrahman says:

    Hey there, I know this is a little old but might as well give it a try. im running a lenovo t430s windows 8.1 and have this problem. Could I use this same method to fix my problem? Does it matter if its not the same laptop as mine?

    • Scott says:

      I would say you have a problem that is different but just shows some of the same symptoms. You can certainly try these steps, and while they probably won’t make anything worse, I can’t give any guarantees (use at your own risk etc.).
      If you use a recovery key from another model laptop, it will either work, or it won’t boot at all. It just depends on the type of hardware and drivers in the other machine. If they are similar then it might be enough to start things up again.

  20. Oemhack says:

    Worked perfectly.
    Was looking for a pc tut but it worked straight away.
    Took me 5 minutes to boot back into windows

  21. Rezkiawan Fauzi says:

    Is it work for windows 10 ???

    • Scott says:

      You can do the steps to help recover Windows 10 machine, keep in mind that you may have a different problem to what this blog post was about.

  22. Gajendra says:

    I had same issue with window 10 (error 0x000000d). I insert the window installation usb stick and bring the command prompt screen type C: then enter then i type bootrec /rebuildbcd and press the enter key. My laptop booted successfully. I had no recovery image or nothing just window installation usb pen drive. I dont know if that require or not but i done it .

  23. nathan orton says:

    hi scott all i get when i turn my surface on is the is the word surface on the screen and then nothing else happens. any chance of a idea please. ive tried to reinstall windows but nothing happens still.

    thanks mate

  24. Lavi says:

    Worked like a magic thanks

  25. Bigs pr says:

    Hey guys, nice blog. Please my Surface RT won’t boot completely, it goes up to display ‘setting up a few more things 3%’ then display an error message in a dialogue box ‘ install Windows’ complaining of ” Windows could not complete the installation. To install windows on this computer, restart installation” and when I click on OK or close the dialogue box it recycle the Process. Please I’ll appreciate help from any who has faced a similar problem or has an idea to help. Thanks in advance as you help.

    • Scott says:

      If a restart by holding the volume down and power button to get to the troubleshooting menu doesn’t help you may need to download the recovery files form Microsoft and do a reset on the device.

  26. Manu says:

    it worked for Windows 10! and i could recover important docs from my office laptop.
    Big thank you!!

  27. ZeeMan says:

    Thanks Scott,
    I have been trying to fix my laptop and I have followed the steps and it worked for me 🙂
    Cheers and thanks.

  28. Richard says:

    Thanks a lot! Quickly fixed my W10 desktop PC which suddenly developed this fault.

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