So I bought an Asus tablet a few months ago. This one acts like a laptop when the keyboard it attached and like a tablet when the keyboard is detached. It’s small but sexy, and I think it’s brilliant, particularly when in tablet mode as there are a number of things you can do that are easier in the tablet mode – using it as a kindle reader, and also for going around the kitchen creating a shopping list. It runs on Windows 8.1, which is significantly different from older versions of Windows and took a lot of getting used to… but I love it. If you don’t lose your temper with it out of frustration when first getting to grips with it, Windows 8.1 is actually quite intuitive. (But that’s just my opinion, and I know a large number of people despise it!)
Anyway, my proper laptop broke last week, and I decided it was better to upgrade to a new one rather than get it fixed. The last laptop I had fixed broke again 1-2 weeks later, so that turned into a false economy!
After a lot of searching I plumped for a full size Asus. It doesn’t have a detachable screen, but it is a touchscreen. (I found myself touching the screen of my old laptop when I switched from the tablet to laptop, and in my old job I used a touchscreen everyday for about a decade, so I’m used to using one.)
This one came with Windows 8 rather than 8.1. (My other half got a new one at the same time: different spec, but still Windows 8 not 8.1.
Both of us decided to do the free upgrade to 8.1 (me mostly because I had to install 8.1 to install the Facebook app (I prefer the app to the webpage – again personal choice.)
To upgrade to 8.1 we first had to download all the security updates for 8. There were over 100!
Three hours later both our laptops were stuck on a reboot loop. I managed to find how to resolve it on the internet. (Lucky we had another method of accessing the internet to look, because the fix was not straightforward and we’d have been royally screwed otherwise.
So we finally sorted out the problem and fixed the damaged registry, and were able to download the security updates in batches of ten – some of which failed and had to be reinstalled several times.
My laptop in the meantime showed up another common glitch. (Apparently both glitches are well known but still haven’t been resolved!) This second glitch meant my laptop took an hour to reboot. This problem is due to the fact that when you do the initial set up you choose your language, which means there are about 35 redundant language files left, and each time you reboot it removes them. If you’re lucky (like me) it removes them all in one go, so you only get the one 1 hour reboot. If you’re unlucky it will remove only one each time, and the 1 hour reboot will happen each time until they are all gone.
And if you’re really really extra super duper lucky because you’ve been good all year, not only will Santa bring you what you want for Christmas, but you also might not get the eternal reboot!
So finally we were both able to upgrade to 8.1 and it’s much smoother running apps and the suchlike now.
So… if you’re buying a new laptop or PC or tablet, if it’s Windows make sure it’s 8.1 rather than 8. If it’s 8, manually download the security updates no more than 10 at a time. If you get frozen on a specific screen, if you’ve internet access Google the screen message – chances are you’re not the first person to suffer it and there’s lots of good advice on how to fix it. It would also be a good idea to get your new laptop to check itself for errors – again, you can find this information on the internet. (Sadly I didn’t make a note of the error messages or the websites I found the info on, but trust me, I’m about as computer illiterate as they come when it comes to resolving problems. I usually panic and flap my arms and get someone else to sort it out – so if I can resolve it, so can you!)
It only took the best part of 2 days to initialize the laptop, resolve the issues caused by the initial download and installation of the security updates, manually re-download and install over 100 security updates in batches of 10 (an re-re-download about a quarter of them because they failed), allow an hour whilst the stupid thing rebooted itself on its own, and then finally download and install (successfully) 8.1.
A traumatic experience, and not one I wish to repeat. So, Microsoft – if you’re reading this – make sure you don’t issue anything like Windows 8 with so many bugs again.
And to those who get Windows 8 rather than 8.1, follow my guide above and hopefully you won’t have the stressful couple of days I’ve just had.