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Microsoft pulls Windows RT 8.1 over boot bug

Microsoft pulls Windows RT 8.1 over boot bug

Microsoft has removed the Windows RT 8.1 update from the Windows Store, following the discovery that it can brick Surface RT tablets by corrupting the boot data file.

Microsoft has pulled its Windows RT 8.1 update following the discovery that it is corrupting the boot data on its Surface RT tablets, leaving the devices unable to load their operating systems.

Released in selected countries last Thursday and internationally on Friday, the Windows RT 8.1 update was designed to bring the same improvements to Microsoft's Surface RT tablet line as its Surface Pro devices enjoyed with the full-fat Windows 8.1 release. Sadly, Microsoft's string of software gaffes continues unabated with a bug surfacing shortly after launch that left affected system bricked.

Soon after the Windows RT 8.1 release appeared on the Windows Store, users began reporting problems with installing it. In the worse cases, systems would break entirely with a report that the Boot Configuration Data (BCD) file has been corrupted. Those affected by the flaw were left with completely unusable tablets, which require reinitialisation using a bootable USB recovery drive and a lengthy set of steps before springing back into life.

As a result of customer reports, Microsoft took a drastic step: 'Microsoft is investigating a situation affecting a limited number of users updating their Windows RT devices to Windows RT 8.1,' the company confirmed in a statement to press. 'As a result, we have temporarily removed the Windows RT 8.1 update from the Windows Store.'

This is the latest in a string of embarrassing update removals for the company, which has seen the overwhelming majority of its Patch Tuesday releases this year marred by bugs which slow systems down, remove critical components or - as in the case of this latest gaffe - prevent the computer from booting at all. To have it appear on a milestone - and mandatory - update for a flagship tablet operating system its software partners have already abandoned and on a hardware platform over which it exercises complete control, however, is bad even by the company's recent standards.

At the time of writing, Windows RT 8.1 was still missing in action with no word from Microsoft on when it will be made available through the Windows Store again.

EDIT 2013-10-23:
Microsoft has re-issued the Windows RT 8.1 update, this time with the bug excised. Those who wish to upgrade will find the update in the Windows Store now.

63 Comments

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Griffter 21st October 2013, 13:35 Quote
(ellipses)
Nexxo 21st October 2013, 14:04 Quote
My Surface RT updated fine...
LordPyrinc 21st October 2013, 14:05 Quote
Really? You didn't even test the update on your own hardware? :|

I have zero confidence in any update distributed by Microsoft these days.
Mikee 21st October 2013, 14:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
My Surface RT updated fine...

+ 1
Corky42 21st October 2013, 14:34 Quote
You would think with the control that M$ has on both the hardware and software involved with RT that they would have picked up on this, are there to many RT devices to enable proper testing ?
RedFlames 21st October 2013, 14:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
You would think with the control that M$ has on both the hardware and software involved with RT that they would have picked up on this, are there to many RT devices to enable proper testing ?

Apple are no better, the amount of iThings that get bricked as a result of an iOS update... it's borderline comical...
Corky42 21st October 2013, 14:59 Quote
For anyone experiencing this problem, Microsoft have released a recovery image.
Microsoft Releases a Surface RT 8.0 Recovery Image which helps recover bricked Surface RT devices
Direct link to the recovery image.
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=40810
Nexxo 21st October 2013, 15:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by LordPyrinc
Really? You didn't even test the update on your own hardware? :|

No, they just threw it out there on a wing and a prayer.

Well, DUH! Of course they tested it. Doesn't mean these things won't happen.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
You would think with the control that M$ has on both the hardware and software involved with RT that they would have picked up on this, are there to many RT devices to enable proper testing ?

Let's look at iOS7. Only four models of iPhone to roll out on, right? Should be easy to test. What can possibly go wrong?
  • Update causes some iPhones to not switch back on
  • Update causes some iPhones to get stuck on boot sequence
  • Bug allows lockscreen to be bypassed
  • Bug disables WiFi and Bluetooth
  • Bug causes apps to crash more often on iPhone 5S
  • Bug causes blue screen of death (I know, irony) on iPhone 5S
  • Bug causes iTunes to crash repeatedly
  • Facetime does not work
  • iPhone freezes randomly
  • Apps keep logging out
  • Speaker does not work
  • Media controls do not work
  • iPhone receives other people's messages
  • iPhone can't send messages

Keep in mind, that the vast majority of iPhones updated without a hitch (mine did). But these glitches have been common enough to get reported. Moral of the story? Computer devices and their OS's are hugely complex, more complex than a human brain can understand. These sort of bugs are unavoidable.
Snips 21st October 2013, 15:36 Quote
To be honest, I haven't update mine yet as my son is using it for school. I'll give it a go tonight and report back.
Corky42 21st October 2013, 16:39 Quote
I'm not saying Apple is any better or anything, it just made me wounder why these problems arise when the hardware and software is supposedly the same. Is it something like RAM, SSD, etc, etc being made by different company's, or slight changes in the manufacturing of hardware mid production ?
And if so wouldn't the people testing be informed of variations in the hardware and provided with more samples ?
Nexxo 21st October 2013, 17:27 Quote
These problems arise because operating systems are, like, really complex. The hardware is, like, really complex.

Even a simple resistor or capacitor has a precision tolerance. A tiny production change in a chip that has no consequence for its functioning can cascade into a problem when placed in a network with a bunch of other chips. Even chips of the same production batch can vary slightly in operating tolerances. Frankly it's a miracle that things generally work so well as they do.

I'm sure that Microsoft, like Apple, tested the new OS for months and months on multiple devices and had reason to think it was all good.

You guys have got to stop expecting instant perfection considering your average smartphone is more powerful and complex than a 1990's PC.
itrush07 21st October 2013, 17:48 Quote
Thanks for the heads up guys... I'm actually planning to check and try it out this weekend.. thanks again.
Corky42 21st October 2013, 19:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
These problems arise because operating systems are, like, really complex. The hardware is, like, really complex.

Do i detect a hint of sarcasm
Just brushing of the recent trend for Microsoft to release buggier than usual updates by saying ohh they are relay complex mann, doesn't help those affected by these problems. And i would be surprised if slight variations in the production of electronics or silicon account for even one of the things on the long list of recent botched Microsoft updates.

Day by day the list of problems people are having with 8.1 is growing ever longer, the point of having a RTM is so manufactures can test their hardware and notify Microsoft of potential problems. But somewhere along the line this seems to have broken down, did the OEM's not test the RTM build ? did Microsoft not have time to fix the bugs ?
Nexxo 21st October 2013, 19:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Just brushing of the recent trend for Microsoft to release buggier than usual updates by saying ohh they are relay complex mann, doesn't help those affected by these problems. And i would be surprised if slight variations in the production of electronics or silicon account for even one of the things on the long list of recent botched Microsoft updates.

Apple and Google have also been releasing buggy software updates (see above for iOS7 examples); this is not a problem unique to Microsoft. And like with Microsoft, most machines are unaffected.

And yeah, slight variations in electronics do matter.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Day by day the list of problems people are having with 8.1 is growing ever longer, the point of having a RTM is so manufactures can test their hardware and notify Microsoft of potential problems. But somewhere along the line this seems to have broken down, did the OEM's not test the RTM build ? did Microsoft not have time to fix the bugs ?

How about: the OEMs did test the RTM build, and Microsoft did fix the bugs, and yet, for a few users, the problem did occur? Because OS's are complex like that?

I agree that given the delicate position of Microsoft's OS, especially that of Windows RT, it should have made triple and quadruple sure that there were not going to be any hitches. But **** happens. And exactly what is the "long list of problems" with Windows 8.1, except: "I don't like it"?
Corky42 21st October 2013, 20:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Apple and Google have also been releasing buggy software updates (see above for iOS7 examples); this is not a problem unique to Microsoft. And like with Microsoft, most machines are unaffected.

And yeah, slight variations in electronics do matter.
So Apple knew they changed the supplier of the sensor, but failed to test the new sensor with their software. And changing supplier doesn't produce a slight variation in electronics, it produces an entirely different piece of hardware that would need to be tested for compatibility with the existing product.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
How about: the OEMs did test the RTM build, and Microsoft did fix the bugs, and yet, for a few users, the problem did occur? Because OS's are complex like that?

I agree that given the delicate position of Microsoft's OS, especially that of Windows RT, it should have made triple and quadruple sure that there were not going to be any hitches. But **** happens. And exactly what is the "long list of problems" with Windows 8.1, except: "I don't like it"?
Ahh that's OK then, its just a few users, OS's are complex, and **** happens, so we can just brush of these problems ? when someone says the latest Microsoft update bricked their £280 surface we can tell em **** happens.

And the list of problems people are having with 8.1 are not a simple "I don't like it", they are real problems like...
http://www.pcworld.com/article/2056292/windows-8-1-launch-weekend-plagued-by-some-show-stopping-installation-issues.html
"The Boot Configuration Data file is missing some required information"
"Couldn't update to Windows 8.1 - 0xC1900101 - 0x40017"
"Sorry, it looks like this PC can't run Windows 8.1. This might be because the Users or Program Files folder is being redirected to another partition."
"Error code 0x80240031"
"Secure Boot isn't configured correctly"
"Individual driver woes"
Then there are..
Gamers experiencing mouse lag in Windows 8.1
Internet Explorer 11 BREAKS Google, Outlook Web Access
Nexxo 21st October 2013, 20:39 Quote
Yes, and I can list you the same litany for any OS upgrades out there (including that all-time favourite Windows 7). I'm not brushing off these problems, but neither am I getting all wound up about it. With all the different configurations of PC out there, I'm impressed that Windows 8.1 has worked out OK on so many computers (including my old esoteric rig).

Apple changed supplier, but bought what it though was essentially the same part. Unfortunately its tolerances were slightly different. And yes, Apple did test iOS7 thoroughly. And yes, it only had four models of iPhone to worry about. Yet bugs happened. Nobody is asking for the head of Tim Cook. As I said: perspective.
Corky42 21st October 2013, 20:45 Quote
So you are happy this faster release cycle that Microsoft has adopted from Apple and Google means less testing and buggier software ?
Nexxo 21st October 2013, 20:49 Quote
I am happy that it is no better or worse than Apple and Google's yearly upgrade cycle.
Corky42 21st October 2013, 20:59 Quote
But worse than Microsoft have historically been with updates, a reliability some people have come to expect. I'm not sure the benefits of a faster release cycle outweighs the negatives.
Nexxo 21st October 2013, 21:04 Quote
Microsoft had no other choice. Since OSX, iOS and Android, people are used to getting shiny new improvements in their OS every year. Coupled with the fact that it has to ensure that their OS works on, like, a million different configurations of PCs with components and accompanying drivers ranging from brand names to dodgy cheap Taiwanese knock-offs, it has quite a task cut out. Give them time to adjust.
Corky42 22nd October 2013, 00:38 Quote
The choice they had was to follow the crowd, or keep doing what made them the #1 OS used in both the corporate and home environment. And that is release generally stable well tested updates, it used to be a rare thing for an update to cause problems now it seems buggy updates is something we should expect for the foreseeable future.
Nexxo 22nd October 2013, 08:33 Quote
Sure, generally stable, well tested updates.

You mean that home environment that imploded so hard around a dense core of tablets that PC sales hit an all-time low (for which Microsoft was also blamed, incidentally)?

Look, I get that you're upset that Windows 8 went all weird on you with that newfangled Metro touch interface, but the world of computing is changing, and if Microsoft still wants to be relevant in a decade's time, it has to find a response to that. Apart from that, it's change as it ever was, with new bugs emerging in updates as the old ones of previous releases are ironed out. 't Was ever so.
Corky42 22nd October 2013, 09:46 Quote
Quote:
Trying to compare upgrading from Vista (well known for problems) to Windows 7 and claiming that proves in the past they didn't release generally stable well tested updates is so far of the mark as to be laughable, especially when its two problems compared to the 8 problems so far being experienced by people doing nothing more than installing a glorified service pack.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
You mean that home environment that imploded so hard around a dense core of tablets that PC sales hit an all-time low (for which Microsoft was also blamed, incidentally)?
Yes the same home environment that has seen 76% year on year growth for Steam, and still accounts for some of the 81 Million units world wide (aprox), compared to the 45 Million units (aprox) of tablets, and has seen the graphics market increased 4.6% in Q2 2013.
If anything the mass reporting of PC sales hitting an all time low, that so many people like to regurgitate says more about the state of the major OEM's than anything about actual desktop PC usage.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Look, I get that you're upset that Windows 8 went all weird on you with that newfangled Metro touch interface, but the world of computing is changing, and if Microsoft still wants to be relevant in a decade's time, it has to find a response to that. Apart from that, it's change as it ever was, with new bugs emerging in updates as the old ones of previous releases are ironed out. 't Was ever so.
My personally feelings have nothing to do with Microsoft aping Apple and Google's release cycle and bug ridden software releases, you only have to look at the problem without your rose tinted 8 glasses to see releasing buggy updates causes nothing but harm both to the company and their customers. This faster release cycle and lack of testing is affecting more than your beloved 8/8.1
Gareth Halfacree 22nd October 2013, 09:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Yes the same home environment that has seen 76% year on year growth for Steam, and still accounts for some of the 81 Million units world wide (aprox), compared to the 45 Million units (aprox) of tablets [...]
Not entirely sure those figures are accurate: over what period are you tracking sales, there? IDC's forecast for the next quarter - the oh-so-lucrative Christmas period - suggests 83.1m desktop/laptop sales to 84.1m tablets. That translates to 2013 shares in the 'connected smart devices' market (no, seriously, that's the category name, says so right here) of 20.2 per cent for PCs and 14.6 per cent for tablets - so tablets are still playing second-fiddle to desktops/laptops, but by nowhere near as much as your figures would suggest. According to IDC's reckoning, that'll change by 2015 when annual PC sales will drop below tablet sales.

Oh, the majority share of the 'connected smart devices' market? Smartphones. Crazy, innit?
Nexxo 22nd October 2013, 10:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Trying to compare upgrading from Vista (well known for problems) to Windows 7 and claiming that proves in the past they didn't release generally stable well tested updates is so far of the mark as to be laughable, especially when its two problems compared to the 8 problems so far being experienced by people doing nothing more than installing a glorified service pack.
Hey, it's a comparison you started. "In the olden days, when we had three-yearly updates, things were much better". No, they weren't. Microsoft had three years to get it right, with a whole bunch of service packs for Vista in between. Still, problems occurred.

And weren't you arguing in the other thread just how much had changed between the Windows 8.1 RTM and public release? So obviously not just a glorified service pack.
Corky42 22nd October 2013, 10:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Not entirely sure those figures are accurate<snip>
No neither am i :o i was going on best information available to me at the time.
Global PC shipped for Q3 2013 still = 81 Million (aprox)
http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS24375913

Global tablet shipped for Q2 2013 = 45 Million (aprox)
http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS24253413

Granted they are three months apart, and predictions (such that they are) point to tablet sales outstripping PC sales in 2014.
Do you need an account with IDC to access more recent stats ?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Hey, it's a comparison you started. "In the olden days, when we had three-yearly updates, things were much better". No, they weren't. Microsoft had three years to get it right, with a whole bunch of service packs for Vista in between. Still, problems occurred.
And i stand by that comparison, like i said you cant compare 2 problems experienced when upgrading from a well known buggy OS to another (something most people advise against) to installing a glorified service pack causing 8 or more problems.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
And weren't you arguing in the other thread just how much had changed between the Windows 8.1 RTM and public release? So obviously not just a glorified service pack.
So you are saying because lots had changed since 8.1 hit RTM, something i may add that should not be done. That this means its more than a service pack ? As i said Microsoft is entirely to blame for these problems as they have made major changes in the way the OS works after release candidate.
Gareth Halfacree 22nd October 2013, 11:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Global PC shipped for Q3 2013 still = 81 Million (aprox)
http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS24375913
Global tablet shipped for Q2 2013 = 45 Million (aprox)
http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS24253413
There's your problem: you can't compare two different quarters like that. Sales tend to be cyclical, with troughs and peaks throughout the year. If you're doing a comparison, it has to be quarter-for-quarter or it's entirely invalid. When it comes to tablets, too, there's the predicted (and, given what happened last year, entirely likely) pre-Christmas boom: people aren't buying £300 laptops as a gift, they're buying £50-£100 tablets. This provides a more balanced view of the market, albeit with the proviso that - as per usual - the figures are pretty much guesswork followed by projections.
Corky42 22nd October 2013, 11:35 Quote
Yes i did go over the link you provided before but didn't want to use predicted figures.
And i did try to find matching quarters but failed on that to :(
Although as i stated the numbers so readily provided as proof of a declining PC market says more about the shape of the major OEM's than the actual decline in desktop PC usage (IMHO)
impar 22nd October 2013, 11:38 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
... they're buying £50-£100 tablets.
Androids.
Gareth Halfacree 22nd October 2013, 11:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Although as i stated the numbers so readily provided as proof of a declining PC market says more about the shape of the major OEM's than the actual decline in desktop PC usage (IMHO)
The figures have never claimed to be proof of declining PC usage - merely declining PC sales. That's what the post-PC era is: it doesn't matter how many people still have a box under their desk with a traditional keyboard and mouse, it'd still kill the industry if they stopped buying a new one every couple of years - whether it's because they're buying tablets and smartphones instead, or they're blowing their money on blackjack and hookers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by impar
Androids.
Beg pardon? There's no such thing as an 'Android.' That's not a product category, any more than Apple fans are buying 'an iOS.' It's an operating system, which runs on tablets and smartphones (and the occasional laptop, and set-top box, and TV, and games console, and strange USB-powered stick computer thing, and camera, and watch, and ski-goggles, and glasses, and embedded devices...) In this case, I'm talking tablets. Which is why I said 'tablets,' rather than 'Androids,' which as I've mentioned isn't a product category.
Corky42 22nd October 2013, 12:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
The figures have never claimed to be proof of declining PC usage - merely declining PC sales. That's what the post-PC era is: it doesn't matter how many people still have a box under their desk with a traditional keyboard and mouse, it'd still kill the industry if they stopped buying a new one every couple of years - whether it's because they're buying tablets and smartphones instead, or they're blowing their money on blackjack and hookers.

Ok maybe using "usage" was the wrong wording for me to use, but this post-PC era, lack of sales and the rest of the numbers touted to show the rise of the tablet and the decline of the PC still says more about the major OEM's not being able to sell the crappy boxes they make.

If anything the lack of people buying a new one every couple of years will cause the major OEM's to go bust if they do nothing, how else do you square Steam is going up 76% year-on-year while PCs are going through double-digit declines, or the graphics market increase of 4.6%.
Gareth Halfacree 22nd October 2013, 12:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
If anything the lack of people buying a new one every couple of years will cause the major OEM's to go bust if they do nothing, how else do you square Steam is going up 76% year-on-year while PCs are going through double-digit declines, or the graphics market increase of 4.6%.
I'm confused: are you agreeing with me? We both appear to be saying that if people stop buying new PCs, the industry - or, as you put it, the major OEMs, which account for the overwhelming majority of the industry - will go bust. If Dell, Lenovo, Acer, Asus, HP, and the rest of 'em closed up shop tomorrow, what would happen to Intel and AMD?

And I'm not sure what you mean about "squaring" Steam growth. What is there to square? More people are installing Steam on the PCs they already have. That has zero impact on the PC industry - except, potentially, pushing the non-casuals into an early upgrade if they buy a particularly demanding title.
impar 22nd October 2013, 12:17 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Which is why I said 'tablets,' rather than 'Androids,' which as I've mentioned isn't a product category.
Whats the OS that comes in the 50-100 tablet product category?
Gareth Halfacree 22nd October 2013, 12:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by impar
Whats the OS that comes in the 50-100 tablet product category?
What's the OS that comes in the £200-300 laptop product category? I've never heard anyone saying "I just bought a Windows," or "can I have a Windows for Christmas," or "yes, Mr. Salesman, can you show me your Windows?" (Well, the latter minus the initial capital in a double-glazing showroom, I guess.)

Sure, there's at least one alternative OS for the £200-£300 laptop category - ChromeOS, if you discount the possibility of buying an ancient second-hand Mac, which would do nothing for the PC shipment figures - but it accounts for a vanishingly small percentage. Around what webOS did in the cheap tablet market, in fact, before its untimely demise.

People aren't buying Androids. They're buying tablets. The overwhelming majority of those tablets happen to run Android, yes, but unless and until you tell people your computer is a "Windows" or an "OS X" without any other qualifying information - not even whether it's a desktop or a laptop - then you probably shouldn't be trying to make that a new product category.

(Incidentally, if you're looking for a bargain sub-£100 tablet for browsing, reading and the like, I'd recommend the BlackBerry PlayBook. Brand new units are still available, and you get 64GB of storage where a similarly-priced Android tablet would have 8GB or 16GB at best.)

Let's play a fun game: I have in my left hand right now an Android, per your nomenclature. What device is it: a phone, a tablet, a laptop, an embedded development board, or something else entirely? G'wan. Guess.
impar 22nd October 2013, 12:41 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
People aren't buying Androids. They're buying tablets. The overwhelming majority of those tablets happen to run Android, yes, ...
They are buying tablets and the large majority of tablets in that price range have Androids OS. Tablets with Apple and Microsoft OSes dont offer alternatives at that price range. Thats why we have such a high penetration of Android devices.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Let's play a fun game: I have in my left hand right now an Android, per your nomenclature. What device is it: a phone, a tablet, a laptop, an embedded development board, or something else entirely? G'wan. Guess.
A dark grey smartphone with a small little pink heart at the back. Am I right?!
Gareth Halfacree 22nd October 2013, 12:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by impar
They are buying tablets [...]
I'm glad we agree.
Quote:
Originally Posted by impar
A dark grey smartphone with a small little pink heart at the back. Am I right?!
Nup. T'was a red Olimex A13-OLinuXino-WiFi development board with an aftermarket heatsink it doesn't really need but I fitted anyway. Now do you see how calling everything that runs Android an 'Android' is spectacularly unhelpful?

EDIT: For the curious.
http://ubuntuone.com/7NHbdRyrjKMCrzr0zxbGVv
Corky42 22nd October 2013, 13:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
I'm confused: are you agreeing with me? We both appear to be saying that if people stop buying new PCs, the industry - or, as you put it, the major OEMs, which account for the overwhelming majority of the industry - will go bust. If Dell, Lenovo, Acer, Asus, HP, and the rest of 'em closed up shop tomorrow, what would happen to Intel and AMD?

And I'm not sure what you mean about "squaring" Steam growth. What is there to square? More people are installing Steam on the PCs they already have. That has zero impact on the PC industry - except, potentially, pushing the non-casuals into an early upgrade if they buy a particularly demanding title.

I'm not sure its a matter of agreeing or disagreeing, its a matter of what peoples view of the PC industry are. From what you say it seems you view the PC industry as the major OEM's where as i view the PC industry as much more than that, if the major OEM's vanished over night both AMD, Intel and Nvidia would still be selling hardware directly to consumers and to other lesser known OEM's

With regards to the "squaring" i mean the numbers given on the declining sales of the major OEM's doesn't fit with the increase in Steam sales of 76%, or the increase in the graphics market. Now im not saying the whole PC Eco system isn't going through change, but when people proclaim the death of the PC and the rise of the tablets such as Nexxo when he said...

"You mean that home environment that imploded so hard around a dense core of tablets that PC sales hit an all-time low (for which Microsoft was also blamed, incidentally)?"

I feel the need to point out that things are much more complicated than simply claiming a decline in the OEM's sales points to a decline in the PC usage or market share.
impar 22nd October 2013, 13:33 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Now do you see how calling everything that runs Android an 'Android' is spectacularly unhelpful?
Not really. 50-100 tablets are still Androids.
Nexxo 22nd October 2013, 13:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
And i stand by that comparison, like i said you cant compare 2 problems experienced when upgrading from a well known buggy OS to another (something most people advise against) to installing a glorified service pack causing 8 or more problems.
So why are you making that comparison by arguing that Microsoft's yearly update cycle is more problematic than their three-yearly one? The two arguably can't be compared because they are different things. But if you want to liken Windows 8.1 to a service pack: the Windows 7 Service Pack update had problems too.

But as ZDNet says:
Quote:
That doesn’t mean 100% of installations will be trouble-free. SP1 doesn’t add any new features, but it is a major update. Given the complexity of the PC ecosystem, it’s inevitable that there will be some hiccups in the process.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
So you are saying because lots had changed since 8.1 hit RTM, something i may add that should not be done. That this means its more than a service pack ? As i said Microsoft is entirely to blame for these problems as they have made major changes in the way the OS works after release candidate.

I am saying that whether it is a service pack or a new OS is kind of a grey area. Windows 8.1 certainly came with a whole new kernel (6.3, upgraded from 6.2 in Windows 8) and you yourself argue that there were a lot of changes. So YMMV.
Nexxo 22nd October 2013, 13:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by impar
Greetings!

Not really. 50-100 tablets are still Androids.

A cow is a mammal. Not all mammals are cows. Geddit?
Corky42 22nd October 2013, 14:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
So why are you making that comparison by arguing that Microsoft's yearly update cycle is more problematic than their three-yearly one? The two arguably can't be compared because they are different things. But if you want to liken Windows 8.1 to a service pack: the Windows 7 Service Pack update had problems too.

But as ZDNet says:

Because you seem to be claiming it isn't, when the best you can do is claim upgrading from a buggy OS (Vista) to a newer version (7) caused 2 problems and then going on to claim Windows 7 SP1 caused 1 problem. Compare this to the 8.1 upgrade (service pack) causing over 8 known problems, and growing by the day.

And yes you are correct in saying "The two arguably can't be compared because they are different things." But these differences are in the way 8.1 was released and tested for problems. Historically when a service pack or new OS reached release candidate the code was locked.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_release_life_cycle#Release_to_manufacturing
Quote:
the code complete when the development team agrees that no entirely new source code will be added to this release. There could still be source code changes to fix defects, changes to documentation and data files, and peripheral code for test cases or utilities.
But in the case of 8.1 Microsoft were still making major changes after it reached released candidate, leaving no time for hardware or software company's to address any issues caused, or work on updated drivers. So in the end Microsoft have caused not only financial loss to their customers but also done massive damage to their reputation of releasing general stable updates.
Nexxo 22nd October 2013, 17:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Because you seem to be claiming it isn't, when the best you can do is claim upgrading from a buggy OS (Vista) to a newer version (7) caused 2 problems and then going on to claim Windows 7 SP1 caused 1 problem. Compare this to the 8.1 upgrade (service pack) causing over 8 known problems, and growing by the day.

Sorry, how many problems (also: DVD not found; HP multifunction printers not found; power plan interferes with video playback)?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
And yes you are correct in saying "The two arguably can't be compared because they are different things." But these differences are in the way 8.1 was released and tested for problems. Historically when a service pack or new OS reached release candidate the code was locked.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_release_life_cycle#Release_to_manufacturing

But in the case of 8.1 Microsoft were still making major changes after it reached released candidate, leaving no time for hardware or software company's to address any issues caused, or work on updated drivers. So in the end Microsoft have caused not only financial loss to their customers but also done massive damage to their reputation of releasing general stable updates.

Yeah, Microsoft got rushed. What with a major re-org, Ballmer leaving and the pressure on to switch from three-yearly to yearly updates with a kernel switch somewhere in there, it has been working very close to the wire. That is a bad show, but I'm a bit hard-pressed to see how it is a worse show than other companies manage with e.g. IOS7 and Android 4+ --or how a hardcore game mouse lagging or a Surface RT tablet bricking is causing financial loss to the customers.
impar 22nd October 2013, 21:31 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
A cow is a mammal. Not all mammals are cows. Geddit?
Most mammals in a "dairy barn" are cows. Get it?
Corky42 23rd October 2013, 00:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Sorry, how many problems (also: DVD not found; HP multifunction printers not found; power plan interferes with video playback)?

So after two days of searching you come up with a few problems caused when upgrading two totally different OS's something as i have said before people recommend not to do. And of the two links you give as evidence, one is caused by someone trying to upgrade Vista to 7 "because Vista had become unstable" :( and using a unsigned driver meant for XP, Vista, not Windows 7 as the company never released a Windows 7 driver for the hardware he was using.

And the other link list three problems one of which was cause by people trying to use a upgrade product key to install Windows 7 on an empty drive (I.e not upgrading).

We could both site examples of failed updates until we are blue in the face, but since Microsoft's move to a faster release schedule they are starting to become known for botched updates and 8.1 is just another example of how it has been failing in its quality control of late.
http://www.bit-tech.net/news/bits/2013/09/16/ms-pt-september/1
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
It marked the latest in an embarrassing run for the company, which has been failing in its quality control of late: out of the Patch Tuesday update releases from the past six months, only one - May - went without a hitch, with patches being withdrawn and re-issued in August, July, June, and April as well as September.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Yeah, Microsoft got rushed. What with a major re-org, Ballmer leaving and the pressure on to switch from three-yearly to yearly updates with a kernel switch somewhere in there, it has been working very close to the wire. That is a bad show, but I'm a bit hard-pressed to see how it is a worse show than other companies manage with e.g. IOS7 and Android 4+ --or how a hardcore game mouse lagging or a Surface RT tablet bricking is causing financial loss to the customers.
Microsoft didn't get rushed, they made the choice to keep altering the code of 8.1 after release candidate, after RTM (low-level features like the NT kernel and hardware abstraction layer), even making changes after the QFE released two weeks before 8.1 hit general availability.

And like i said before one of the reasons Windows became the #1 OS used in both the corporate and home environment was because of the generally stable, well tested updates. This new faster release cycle will do nothing but put people of upgrading or updating their OS.
This is worse than other company's even though you cant see it, as all the other OS's combined don't even make up %10 of the market so if one of those company's release a bad update it affects a much smaller amount of business or customers.

And if you cant fathom why botched updates cause financial loss to customers you really need to think what an average Jo with no computing knowledge would do when faced with a bricked Surface RT, or any other of the problems people are experiencing with the 8.1 update, people are going to pay for someone to fix the problems for them, they are going to be without a device they may rely on for earning a living, etc ,etc.
Gareth Halfacree 23rd October 2013, 09:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
I'm not sure its a matter of agreeing or disagreeing, its a matter of what peoples view of the PC industry are. From what you say it seems you view the PC industry as the major OEM's where as i view the PC industry as much more than that, if the major OEM's vanished over night both AMD, Intel and Nvidia would still be selling hardware directly to consumers and to other lesser known OEM's
No, they wouldn't. Direct retail product sales are a minority of AMD and Intel's processor sales. If the major OEMs went away tomorrow and the smaller companies didn't grow to take up the slack - which, as we're in the context of the shrinking PC market here, they wouldn't - the remaining business wouldn't cover either companies' expenses, and they'd go bust. Well, if not bust, then shrink to an unrecognisably small portion of their existing sizes - and you could kiss goodbye to R&D budgets and annual upgrade cycles.
Quote:
Originally Posted by impar
Most mammals in a "dairy barn" are cows. Get it?
Bzzt. That doesn't work. A cow is a singular thing. If I told you I owned a cow, you would know I owned a domesticated bovine quadruped (or, I'll allow, that I was being rude about my wife.) An 'Android' is not a singular thing. As we've established, if I told you I owned 'an Android' you would have absolutely no idea what I owned: a phone, a tablet, a hybrid, a laptop, a watch, glasses, a TV, an embedded development board, a games console... This is how language works: you create words until you have roughly one word per object, to prevent confusion. Your attempt to turn 'Android' into a singular entity when it is anything but is the opposite of this.

I'm holding another 'Android' in my left hand, by the way. Fancy a second crack at guessing what it is? G'wan. You never know, you might get it right this time.
Corky42 23rd October 2013, 11:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
If the major OEMs went away tomorrow and the smaller companies didn't grow to take up the slack - which, as we're in the context of the shrinking PC market here, they wouldn't

I disagree, the smaller company's would grow (imo), well actually whats more likely is some of the major OEM's will go bust and the others will be rubbing their hand at the thought of a bigger slice of the pie even if that pie is shrinking.

People predicted the death of the main frame many moons ago just as they are now with desktop PC's but even to this day main frames are in wide spread use and there are even predictions they will make a come back due to the push to get everything on the cloud.
impar 23rd October 2013, 11:20 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Your attempt to turn 'Android' into a singular entity when it is anything but is the opposite of this.
So, most 50-100 tablets arent Androids?

Back on topic:
Quote:
Gareth Halfacree 23rd October 2013, 11:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
I disagree, the smaller company's would grow (imo)
How? If the OEMs go bust because their customers aren't buying PCs, where are the new customers coming from for the smaller companies? Do you know what percentage of Intel's output the Big Five OEMs account for? It ain't small.
Quote:
Originally Posted by impar
So, most 50-100 tablets arent Androids?
That question makes no sense. All £50-100 tablets are tablets. You even say so in your question: you actually had to say 'tablets' in order to be understood. If your argument was anywhere approaching correct, you would have asked "So, most £50-100 Androids aren't Androids," which is gibberish. It's a simple question of language: a tablet running Android is a tablet running Android, just as a laptop running Windows is a laptop running Windows; unless and until you call your PC a Windows, you can't call a tablet an Android. You can, however, call it a tablet running Android or, for the sake of a smaller sentence, an Android tablet.

Also, I'm still waiting for you to tell me what type of device the Android I had in my left hand was.
Corky42 23rd October 2013, 12:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
How? If the OEMs go bust because their customers aren't buying PCs, where are the new customers coming from for the smaller companies? Do you know what percentage of Intel's output the Big Five OEMs account for? It ain't small.
But the point is people are still buying PC's and the OEM's are still selling units, they just aren't selling as many as previous years.

Judging the state of a market based on the top 5 company's gives a very incomplete picture at best.
Even Intel lists 16 major OEM's on their site, as i said the figures say more about the top 5 OEM's declining market than actual sales numbers.
impar 23rd October 2013, 12:18 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
You can, however, call it a tablet running Android or, for the sake of a smaller sentence, an Android tablet.
:) Multiple posts for this conclusion. :D
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Also, I'm still waiting for you to tell me what type of device the Android I had in my left hand was.
Now it can only be the dark grey smartphone with a small little pink heart at the back.
Gareth Halfacree 23rd October 2013, 13:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
But the point is people are still buying PC's and the OEM's are still selling units, they just aren't selling as many as previous years.
Yes. And if that decline continues, the sales won't be enough to keep the market afloat - which is what I've been saying all along. The number of units sold wouldn't need to reach zero for it to be a serious issue for everyone from Intel downwards.
Quote:
Originally Posted by impar
:) Multiple posts for this conclusion. :D
So you agree. Huzzah! I have brought knowledge to the unenlightened!
Quote:
Originally Posted by impar
Now it can only be the dark grey smartphone with a small little pink heart at the back.
Sony Xperia Tablet Z. I was bringing it up into the office to stick it on charge - t'was down to 21%, and I was planning on playing a bit of The Bard's Tale on it this evening.
impar 23rd October 2013, 13:22 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
So you agree. Huzzah! I have brought knowledge to the unenlightened!
Always agreed. Was just amused on how throttled up you were. :D
Notice I wrote Androids as in "50-100 Androids tablets" not "Android".
Gareth Halfacree 23rd October 2013, 13:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by impar
Always agreed. Was just amused on how throttled up you were. :D
Ah, the old "I wasn't wrong, I was trolling you" gambit. I counter with a Godwin.
Quote:
Originally Posted by impar
Notice I wrote Androids as in "50-100 Androids tablets" not "Android".
You can't say "Androids tablets," any more than you can say "yellows cars." It's "Android tablets."
Corky42 23rd October 2013, 13:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Yes. And if that decline continues, the sales won't be enough to keep the market afloat - which is what I've been saying all along. The number of units sold wouldn't need to reach zero for it to be a serious issue for everyone from Intel downwards.

Well seeing as Intel has been going since 1968 and AMD since 1969 when most people didn't even know what a possessor was, i think we have a long way to go before we reach a point that no PC's are being sold. Not only that but we would need a very large land fill site to dump the estimated 1.6 billion PC's in use today.
The PC is not dead: it's about usage not units
Quote:
The most important reasons why more than a billion people will continue to perform the bulk of their computing on traditional PCs in 2013 are basic physical attributes: PCs have larger screens, full- or mid-size keyboards and mice or trackpads.
If a company cant sustain its self with a billion people using its product it doesn't deserve to carry on doing business.
Gareth Halfacree 23rd October 2013, 14:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Well seeing as Intel has been going since 1968 and AMD since 1969 when most people didn't even know what a possessor was, i think we have a long way to go before we reach a point that no PC's are being sold.
Did you read the part of my post where I said "The number of units sold wouldn't need to reach zero for it to be a serious issue for everyone from Intel downwards"? Just out of interest, how large do you think Intel's overheads were in the 1960s? AMD's in the early 70s? If you answered "a tiny fraction of what they are today," then you're right. The AMD of 2013 could not survive a single day on the annual revenue of the AMD of 1969.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Not only that but we would need a very large land fill site to dump the estimated 1.6 billion PC's in use today. If a company cant sustain its self with a billion people using its product it doesn't deserve to carry on doing business.
Now you're moving the goalposts. As you well know, this discussion is regarding PC sales. As I've said before, it doesn't help the PC industry one jot if I keep using the box I've got beneath my desk - only that I keep buying new boxes. If I dig my old Dell with its Pentium III CPU and ATI graphics out of the cupboard and start using it, how much revenue do Dell, Intel and AMD generate from that action? I'll give you a clue: it lies somewhere between zero and none.

If I invent a widget, and a billion people buy that widget, and I spend that cash developing the Widget 2 but everybody ignores it and keeps their original widgets, I will go bust. Intel is no different.
Corky42 23rd October 2013, 15:14 Quote
Yes i did, but Intel and AMD existed before 1977 when only 48 thousand personal computers were shipped so to say "wouldn't cover either companies' expenses, and they'd go bust." isn't strictly true, just like other companies faced with a shrinking market they restructure, diversify.

I wouldn't say im moving the goalpost, simply stating that just because people aren't buying new boxes now doesn't mean they never will. When television first hit the market they experienced massive rises in sales and then sales declined because almost everyone had one, but eventually TV broke, newer better TV's made people want to get better models and this has and will continue.
Gareth Halfacree 23rd October 2013, 15:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Yes i did, but Intel and AMD existed before 1977 when only 48 thousand personal computers were shipped so to say "wouldn't cover either companies' expenses, and they'd go bust." isn't strictly true, just like other companies faced with a shrinking market they restructure, diversify.
Re-read what I said: AMD's overheads in any given 19-something year were a fraction of what they are today. Yes, AMD survived selling a handful of chips when it first started - because it only had ten employees, and one office, and made six products a year. Today, it has roughly 10,000 employees, numerous offices and factories, and overheads totalling around a billion dollars a quarter. A billion dollars a quarter. Each quarter, a billion dollars. A billion dollars. Every three months. $333.3r million a month. Every month. Four billion dollars a year. Every year.

To put that into perspective, AMD went public in 1972 with an initial public offering (IPO) that valued the entire company at $7.5 million. Today, its market capitalisation is $2.41 billion - 321 times higher, and that's at a time when its share price is slumping.

If the market continues to shrink, will companies attempt to diversify rather than going bust? Of course they will. Intel's already doing it, with a belated and not-terribly-successful run on smartphones. Lenovo, too, with its decision to buy back its mobile division just a year after spinning it off. But remember, the scenario we are discussing is what would happen if the Top Five disappeared tomorrow. That wouldn't give anybody time to diversify. Today, I'm receiving a few hundred million in revenue; tomorrow, I'm receiving a few hundred. Bye-bye, company.
Corky42 23rd October 2013, 17:54 Quote
I don't need to re-read what you said i understood what you said the first time, maybe you should re-read what i said, when i said company's restructure, diversify, and eventually TV broke, newer better TV's came along, and the smaller company's would grow, etc, etc.

The figures people like to quote to back up their claims that the desktop is dieing and everyone is moving onto tablets measure 5 company's sales 1. Lenovo, 2. HP, 3. Dell, 4. Acer, 5. Asus.
Even going on Intel's list of major OEM's that only two third of the market, how can you judge the overall sales of desktop PC's when you measure less (taking into account other OEM's not on Intel's site) than two thirds of the market.

Its not like thousands of other company's have never faced a saturated market and declining sales, did Ford go bust, did General Electric, etc, etc.

And lastly no we are not discussing what would happen if all the top OEM's vanished over night (even though i used that as an example), we are discussing if the claimed decline in PC sales that some people like to cling to ("You mean that home environment that imploded so hard around a dense core of tablets that PC sales hit an all-time low (for which Microsoft was also blamed, incidentally)?) are accurately reflecting the true state of affairs.
Gareth Halfacree 23rd October 2013, 18:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Its not like thousands of other company's have never faced a saturated market and declining sales, did Ford go bust, did General Electric, etc, etc.
Great examples. Here are some more market-appropriate ones, though: Commodore, Atari, ACT, Sinclair Research, Amstrad, Cambridge Computers, Acorn, Dragon Data, Oric, Sord, Grundy. All massive names in 80s home computing, all bankrupted when the market slumped.

Anyway, you're clearly just going to move the goalposts again, so we'll just have to agree to hold separate positions on this matter.
Corky42 23rd October 2013, 18:57 Quote
Viewing the industry as a whole and not just the top 5 OEM's isn't moving the goal post IMHO, its looking at the bigger picture and not assuming the major semiconductor company's are inexorable tied to the fate of the top 5 OEM's
impar 23rd October 2013, 22:43 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
You can't say "Androids tablets," any more than you can say "yellows cars."
If you dont write cars cant you just write Yellows if most cars are yellow?
Gareth Halfacree 24th October 2013, 00:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by impar
If you dont write cars cant you just write Yellows if most cars are yellow?
No.
Nexxo 24th October 2013, 23:00 Quote
I know some street corners in Amsterdam where asking for "yellows" can lead to some interesting experiences. :p
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