Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Windows 8 to 8.1 Upgrade failed - must upgrade System BIOS

  1. #1


    Posts : 454
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center

    Windows 8 to 8.1 Upgrade failed - must upgrade System BIOS


    Yesterday, I clean-installed Windows 8 Pro x86 on an old Dell Vostro 1400 laptop which had been running Windows 7 Ultimate, and it activated and ran fine, without even a single exclamation point in Device Manager. I applied the update necessary to make the Store offer 8.1 and proceeded to install it as I've done on a couple other machines. After downloading the thing, it errored out with:

    Couldn't install Windows 8.1

    Contact your PC manufacturer to see if you can upgrade the System BIOS


    When I clicked the OK button, it then gave me the informative and grammar-challenged error box:

    Something happened and the Windows 8.1 couldn't be installed. Please try again. Error code: 0xc1900104

    Try again Cancel


    Ever the optimist, I clicked Try again, and of course, it proceeded to download all over again from scratch, only to error out in the same way. I then downloaded all the Windows 8 updates, although just the one had been necessary on my other machines that successfully upgraded to 8.1, and tried again, only to get the same result.

    Today, I've discovered the Windows 8.1 Compatibility Assistant, which avoids the lengthy download of the upgrade every time (Microsoft, maybe you should run it implicitly before downloading 3 GB of transient data), and it tells me:

    This PC doesn't meet system requirements

    Contact your PC manufacturer to see if you can upgrade the System BIOS

    Obviously, no BIOS updates are available, and I'm simply wondering if anyone knows what exactly is the problem here with my BIOS. The obvious googling turned up nothing except some people with Sony Vaios that had the same problem, which was corrected with a BIOS update, and of course, there is no information on what their BIOS update does to make the 8.1 upgrade possible.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Store upgrade is more hassle than it's worth...Can't see how bios version can prevent the upgrade...

    If you can download a full ISO - try that rather.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 454
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    I am unable to download an 8.1 upgrade ISO as Microsoft apparently closed the backdoor for that. Also, my Windows 8 keys are for 8, as are my WMC keys, and my understanding is that they won't work for an 8.1 clean-install even if I could download an ISO for that. So, it looks like the Store upgrade is my only option unless I cave and buy 8.1, which I guess was the intent behind this ridiculous, difficult, inefficient process. I guess I can just stay with 8, as I don't use the laptop much, but I sure would like to know what the heck is Microsoft's new issue with the BIOS, which was perfectly acceptable for installing Windows 8. This is just nuts.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 879
    Windows 10


    Do you have a retail key for Windows 8?

    How to download Windows 8.1 Update with retail Windows 8 product key and clean install Windows 8.1 Update -> link
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    Quote Originally Posted by crawfish View Post
    I am unable to download an 8.1 upgrade ISO as Microsoft apparently closed the backdoor for that. Also, my Windows 8 keys are for 8, as are my WMC keys, and my understanding is that they won't work for an 8.1 clean-install even if I could download an ISO for that. So, it looks like the Store upgrade is my only option unless I cave and buy 8.1, which I guess was the intent behind this ridiculous, difficult, inefficient process. I guess I can just stay with 8, as I don't use the laptop much, but I sure would like to know what the heck is Microsoft's new issue with the BIOS, which was perfectly acceptable for installing Windows 8. This is just nuts.
    You can install with a generic 8.1 product code and then activate with your 8.0 code. Activate retail Windows 8.1 with Windows 8 Product key.
    You can't do that with a Media Center key so install 8.1 Pro and use your 8.0 Pro key to activate with. Then add Media Center though add features.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 454
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    Alas, running Windows8-Setup.exe gives me the same error concerning the BIOS as the Windows 8.1 Compatibility Assistant, which I gave in my first post. I renamed the $Windows.~BT folder left over from the failed 8.1 update, so it shouldn't be interfering, but I don't know if it left any other remnants that could be spoiling the attempt.

    ETA: Is there any chance this would work in a VM? My other Windows 8 machine is x64, and I need x86 for the laptop.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 454
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    Good news! I was able to perform the 8.1 ISO download from a Windows 7 VM hosted on my main machine, and I was then able to install and activate it with my own Windows 8 key on my laptop. Unlike the 8-to-8.1 update which gave me the BIOS error from my first post, the clean install of 8.1 went fine. Thank you all for your help.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Glad to hear...

    I wonder if they will fix the store upgrade with Update 2? And the issues with reset from recovery partition... either way having a separate ISO is so much better
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    Quote Originally Posted by Superfly View Post
    Glad to hear...

    I wonder if they will fix the store upgrade with Update 2? And the issues with reset from recovery partition... either way having a separate ISO is so much better
    Having a clean unmodified ISO is the way to go. I ditched my laptops factory install long ago.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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