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Solved Windows 8 to 8.1 Upgrade failed - must upgrade System BIOS


crawfish

Member
Power User
Posts
454
#1
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 Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center

Superfly

Developer
VIP Member
Guru
Cape Town

Posts
1,098
#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 Computer

System One

  • OS
    PC-DOS v1.0
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    IBM
    CPU
    Intel 8088, 4.77MHz
    Memory
    16K, 640K max
    Graphics Card(s)
    What's that?
    Sound Card
    Not quite
    Screen Resolution
    80 X 24 text
    Hard Drives
    dual 160KB 5.25-inch disk drives

crawfish

Member
Power User
Posts
454
#3
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 Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center

genet

New Member
Guru
Posts
879
#4
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 Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10
    Computer type
    Laptop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Lenovo G580
    CPU
    Intel Core i5-3230M
    Memory
    8 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD Graphics 4000
    Browser
    Microsoft Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender, standard user account
    Other Info
    UEFI firmware (BIOS) embedded Windows 8 product key.

alphanumeric

slightly off center
VIP Member
Guru
Gold Member
#5
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. http://www.eightforums.com/installa...retail-windows-8-1-windows-8-product-key.html
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 Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Asus
    CPU
    AMD Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition Deneb 3.7GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS M4N68T-M V2 µATX Motherboard
    Memory
    8GB 4GBx2 Kingston PC10600 DDR3 1333 Memory
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA Geforce GT640 2 Gig DDR3 PCIe
    Sound Card
    VIA VT1708s High Definition Audio 8-channel Onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    22" LG E2242 1080p and 2 19" I-INC AG191D
    Screen Resolution
    1280x1024 - 1920x1080 - 1280x1024
    Hard Drives
    Crucial MX100 256 GB SSD and 500 GB WD Blue SATA
    PSU
    Thermaltake TR 620
    Case
    Power Up Black ATX Mid-Tower Case
    Cooling
    Stock heatsink fan
    Keyboard
    Logitech Wireless K350 Wave
    Mouse
    Logitech M570 Trackball and T650 TouchPad
    Internet Speed
    80 Mbps Down 30 Mbps Up
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    HP DVD1040e Lightscribe - External USB2

crawfish

Member
Power User
Posts
454
#6
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 Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center

crawfish

Member
Power User
Posts
454
#7
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 Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center

Superfly

Developer
VIP Member
Guru
Cape Town

Posts
1,098
#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 Computer

System One

  • OS
    PC-DOS v1.0
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    IBM
    CPU
    Intel 8088, 4.77MHz
    Memory
    16K, 640K max
    Graphics Card(s)
    What's that?
    Sound Card
    Not quite
    Screen Resolution
    80 X 24 text
    Hard Drives
    dual 160KB 5.25-inch disk drives

alphanumeric

slightly off center
VIP Member
Guru
Gold Member
#9
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 :)
:ditto: Having a clean unmodified ISO is the way to go. I ditched my laptops factory install long ago.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Asus
    CPU
    AMD Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition Deneb 3.7GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS M4N68T-M V2 µATX Motherboard
    Memory
    8GB 4GBx2 Kingston PC10600 DDR3 1333 Memory
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA Geforce GT640 2 Gig DDR3 PCIe
    Sound Card
    VIA VT1708s High Definition Audio 8-channel Onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    22" LG E2242 1080p and 2 19" I-INC AG191D
    Screen Resolution
    1280x1024 - 1920x1080 - 1280x1024
    Hard Drives
    Crucial MX100 256 GB SSD and 500 GB WD Blue SATA
    PSU
    Thermaltake TR 620
    Case
    Power Up Black ATX Mid-Tower Case
    Cooling
    Stock heatsink fan
    Keyboard
    Logitech Wireless K350 Wave
    Mouse
    Logitech M570 Trackball and T650 TouchPad
    Internet Speed
    80 Mbps Down 30 Mbps Up
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    HP DVD1040e Lightscribe - External USB2