Windows 8.1 – sigh!

Today, I tried “upgrading” my Win 8 box to Win 8.1.  It did not go well.

First a little background.  I was looking for a replacement linux box.  It turned out that I could get a better price for a box with Win 8 preinstalled, than for a box without Windows (or with linux).  So I went with Win 8.

I could have deleted Win 8, but decided to keep it, to gain experience with dual booting Win 8 and linux in a UEFI box.  I have not had any actual use for the Win 8 system.

So a few days ago, Win 8.1 became available.  All I had to do was click on the Windows store app, and proceed with the install.

Or so I thought.

Installing

Today was the day.  I booted up a secondary computer, so I could do something useful while it was churning away.  Then I clicked on the Windows store app, agreed to a license, and proceeded.

It took around 45 minutes to download.  I did not write down the size, but I seem to recall that it was around a 3.8G download.  If you try it, your download time might be different depending on network and connection speeds.

It then began the install.  After a little while, it asked me to reboot.  Then it continued with the install, rebooting (without asking) another 3-4 times.  The install took around 30 minutes.

Setup

Next was the setup stage.  And that was where things went wrong.  It went through a couple of screens, then asked me to login.  I did.

Then it demanded a Microsoft account, and told me that I would have to login with a Microsoft account in future.  It did provide an option for creating a Microsoft account.

That was where I balked.  I have no interest in having a Microsoft account.  I tried to escape from that screen.  There was no way out that I managed to find.  I could not even reboot.  It ignored CTRL-ALT-DEL.

Aborting

That was where I decided to power off.  I wanted to get back to using opensuse and accessing my data.  This had taken long enough.  So I powered off, waited a few seconds, and powered on again.

Fortunately, I was able to find my way to a grub menu, even though the install had change the booting priority to favor Windows.  And with that grub menu, I booted in opensuse 12.3.

Backing out

After a few hours of useful work on opensuse, I decided to try booting Windows 8.1 again, to see if I could find a way around the problem.

It never gave me a chance.  It immediately started restoring the prior Windows 8.

So much for that.  Maybe I will try again some time.  Or maybe not.  I am not in a hurry to decide.

Noted changes

Before the backing out, I did look at the disk.  So here is the partitioning before the Win 8.1 install.

Number  Start (sector)    End (sector)  Size       Code  Name
   1            2048         1026047   500.0 MiB   EF00  EFI system partition
   2         1026048         1107967   40.0 MiB    FFFF  Basic data partition
   3         1107968         1370111   128.0 MiB   0C01  Microsoft reserved part
   4         1370112         2394111   500.0 MiB   2700  Basic data partition
   5         2394112       973574143   463.1 GiB   0700  Basic data partition
   6      1926782976      1953523119   12.8 GiB    2700  Microsoft recovery part

And here is the partitioning after the 8.1 install.

Number  Start (sector)    End (sector)  Size       Code  Name
   1            2048         1026047   500.0 MiB   EF00  EFI system partition
   2         1026048         1107967   40.0 MiB    FFFF  Basic data partition
   3         1107968         1370111   128.0 MiB   0C01  Microsoft reserved part
   4         1370112         2394111   500.0 MiB   2700  Basic data partition
   5         2394112       972857343   462.8 GiB   0700  Basic data partition
   6       972857344       973574143   350.0 MiB   2700  
   7      1926782976      1953523119   12.8 GiB    2700  Microsoft recovery part

As you can see, a 350MB partition was split off from the end of the main Windows partition, and that became partition 6.  The original partition 6 was now renumbered to be partition 7.

On backing out, the restore procedure did not change the partitioning back.  It kept the new partitioning.

The partitioning changes had no important impact for me, because linux is on a separate hard drive.  But the renumbering of partitions can possibly cause problems for those who have linux on the same drive as Windows.

I did not find other serious problems.  The NVRAM entry for UEFI booting of linux was still there, though the boot order had been changed to favor Windows.

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About Neil Rickert

Mathematician and computer scientist who dabbles in cognitive science.

3 responses to “Windows 8.1 – sigh!”

  1. James Sutherland says :

    An interesting change – Apple put out a system update a year or two ago which did something similar on some machines. It turned out to be a vestigial recovery boot partition you could use to reformat, repartition and reinstall over the Internet: just enough OS for basic utilities and Internet access, even if your main system partition is completely gone. Have you taken a look at the contents of this new partition to see if Microsoft’s doing something similar?

    Like

    • Neil Rickert says :

      I have not looked closely at the partition (yet). Your guess might well be correct.

      So I guess if the NSA stops spying on me, then Microsoft is ready to step in. LOL.

      Like

    • Neil Rickert says :

      Have you taken a look at the contents of this new partition to see if Microsoft’s doing something similar?

      It looks pretty much like a standard recovery partition. Perhaps it is for recovering from Win 8.1.

      Like

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