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Upgrading from 8.0 to 8.1, replay of a VERY old question


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#1 saluqi

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 09:36 PM

Something like 3 or 4 years ago I bought two Dell inspiron laptops (one for the office, one for me at home) with Windows 8 installed.  Quite soon thereafter I wanted to upgrade them both to Windows 8.1 - and it didn't work.  Repeatedly.  On either machine.  The upgrade always failed - at the end, after a long time when it looked as if it might succeed.  The story of that anguish is somewhere on this forum, but so long ago I've forgotten how to find it.  I ended up suspecting that maybe Avast! antivirus was interfering, but never got to the point of removing it to find out if that was the problem. In the intervening time I have used the office machine daily, and the home one very seldom (because I have a Dell XPS 8700 desktop, with Windows 7 when I bought it, and now Windows 10 for quite some time and quite some satisfaction).

 

Fast forward to now.  In view of the impending July 29 deadline for free upgrade to Windows 10, I thought it was high time to try again to upgrade both laptops to Windows 8.1, and then of course to Windows 10.  So today I tried the free upgrade to 8.1 on the office laptop - just picked it off the tiles.  Didn't disable anything, not even the screen saver, just let 'er rip.  Much to my astonishment the upgrade went through without a hitch and the office laptop is now happily running Windows 8.1 (until some time next week when I upgrade it to Win 10 <G>).  This evening I intend to try the same with the home laptop.  Since it has been unused for months i suppose I will need to give it time to do a lot of Win 8 updates first.

 

The office machine has an i3 processor and 500 MB of disk space.  It has 8 GB of RAM, since I found the original 4 rather limiting I added another 4 GB module in the empty slot.  The home machine has an i7 processor, 1 TB of disk space and 12 GB of RAM.  Otherwise they are about the same and have pretty much the same software installed - nothing exotic.  Avast! Internet Security Premium on both.

 

Can anyone suggest why the upgrade now went without a problem on the office machine, when earlier it failed on at least half a dozen separate occasions, always in the end rolling back to 8.0?  Updates to Windows, or to Avast!, or to ????

 

And the main question, how to make sure all the relevant updates have been applied to Windows 8 before I start the upgrade?  I have updated Avast! and MBAM already, but Windows hasn't said anything?  It was set to automatic updates but must now be at least three or four months behind.  Oops, the reboot (after completing Avast! update installation) is taking a LONG time.  Could that be Windows updates?

 

The office laptop gave me a notification, a little earlier this afternoon (before I started the upgrade) that Win 8 was no longer supported or receiving security updates.  It offered info about Win 10, and I think an upgrade to Win 8.1, but those options then disappeared (I was in the middle of urgent E-mails to the State water regulators who govern my life) and when I did launch the 8.1 upgrade I did so by selecting the "Free Upgrade" tile from the old Metro interface (I was normally running Classic Shell on the Desktop).  8.1 dumped the Classic Shell, but 8.1 has a Start button, and anyway being a veteran JCL programmer and Unix user I'm not much bothered by minor changes of interface <G>.  I mean, an interface is an interface, it lets you get to  the programs (oops, er, "apps" - urk -) you want to use.  In the day I wrote a lot of "pseudo-GUI" code - progress bars and all, it's surprising what you can do, with a bit of ingenuity, when all you have to control the screen display is the ASCII character set. It's actually cleverly designed for that kind of use.  Now of course with individual pixel addressing you can write progress bars so thin it takes a microscope to see them (at least for an old man's eyes <G>) but hey, whatever tickles folks' fancy, that's OK with me.  OK, it does irk me when my smartphone provider updates their software and changes the shape and appearance of every single icon just to have something different - and the older versions were much clearer and less easily confused with one another, now they are all round, for God's sake, why?  what were they, er, thinking?  or using, or whatever?  Whatever it was, I don't want it in MY pipe <G>.

 

BTW now, more than half an hour later, the reboot is still saying "please wait".  Not "Configuring Windows" or any of the other messages usually associated with updates.  How long should I give it, overnight?

 

Of course, the upgrade in the office took quite a while too.  About 3 hours altogether.

 

EDIT 7/9 at 10:07 Pacific time: After staring (intermittently) at "please wait" and the "turning worm" display for 6 hours or so last night, I went to bed.  This morning the Avast! update was completed and the computer opened up normally (password etc.).  I thereupon tried the upgrade to 8.1 which failed almost immediately - within a minute or two, not after hours of download and preparation as on earlier occasions.  No reason was given.  It occurred to me to wonder if the Internet connection might be the problem?  The laptop is linked via WiFi with the rest of my home network.  I can hardwire it to the router if that would help.  N.B. the office laptop that did upgrade successfully yesterday afternoon was also connected only via WiFi to the office network.  The two routers (office and home) are identical and so are the two desktops (both running Win 10).  The home network has one printer (HP Photosmart) hardwired to the desktop computer; the office network has two office-sized printers, one (Lexmark) hardwired to the desktop computer, the other (Brother) connected via WiFi.  The distance from router (and desktop) to laptop is about 20 feet at the office, and about 3 feet here at home.  The home desktop has a 2 TB external hard drive (WD MyBook) and a Nikon slide scanner connected via USB, the office desktop does not.

 

The office laptop is plugged in whenever I am using it (basically, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. 5 days a week) and disconnected when not in use.  The one at home has been plugged in continuously for months - but the luminous band around the connector is not always lit.  The power icon in the system display (lower right of screen) shows 75% available, plugged in, charging, but it never seems to reach full charge.  The Power Plan is set to "Microsoft Signature".  "Desktop Mode Battery Charge" is enabled (I suppose that is limiting the charge to 75%?).  Question arising: does the battery status matter when the laptop is plugged in?

 

Thanks,

 

John


Edited by saluqi, 09 July 2016 - 12:54 PM.


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#2 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 09 July 2016 - 04:40 PM

If it is still of interest, or relevance, I think this was your original topic from 2014 -

 

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/531880/upgrade-to-windows-81/

 

Yes, it is my understanding that you need all the Win 8 updates before upgrading to Win 8.1 but watch out for all the 'Get Win 10' updates unless you are willing to go to 10. From memory, I only did it once, the best way to upgrade from 8 to 8.1 is to download the 8.1 installer and run that.. I have also heard that it is a good idea to disconnect unnecessary peripherals - such as you external hard drive and scanner - before running the update.

 

For advice on this 75% maximum on your battery I suggest you start a topic in the 'Internal hardware' section if this is causing you concern.

 

Chris Cosgrove


Edited by Chris Cosgrove, 09 July 2016 - 04:41 PM.


#3 saluqi

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 10:28 AM

Thanks for this.  In the meantime we have changed Internet providers so download speed is no longer an issue.  My office laptop did upgrade successfully and uneventfully; the whole process took about 3 hours.  I have the same provider and the same download speed at home (it's a microwave relay from a nearby Comcast backbone).

 

The external peripherals are connected to the desktop on which I'm typing this, which has been running Win 10 for months now.  They are not connected to the laptop I am trying to upgrade - except in the sense that both computers are part of the same home network and connected to the same router - the desktop by cable, the laptop by WiFi.

 

I do intend to upgrade both laptops to Win 10 while the free upgrade is still available (don't know offhand if it is still set to expire on July 29th?).  I've been running Win 10 for quite a while now on my home desktop and also on the desktop at the office (which I rarely use, but is in all-day use by others for billing, payment processing, reporting and all the other functions of a public water district).  We have had no problems at all with Windows 10 and I see no reason not to upgrade the laptops.

 

My home desktop originally came with Windows 7 Professional installed.  I set the Win 10 upgrade to run in the middle of the night while I was sleeping.  In the morning all I had to do was log in and maybe set up a couple of things - I don't remember, it was all easy and obvious and probably took no more than ten minutes all told.

 

The "Desktop Mode" battery charge setting is supposed to protect the battery from overcharging.  It charges the battery fully once, when first connected, and then maintains it at 75%.  When I start using the laptop as a laptop again, I can switch the power setting so it charges fully each time it's plugged in.

 

From reading other accounts on the BC site I gather that if there are too many unprocessed Windows updates they don't all get processed at once, that you have to do them in batches (of no more than 40, I read).  I have reason to think there may still be many unprocessed updates for this laptop because it has been offline so long.  When I rebooted after the Avast! update the reboot took hours (overnight in fact).  I rebooted the laptop again just now and it is doing the same thing - displaying "Please wait" and the spinning-dots thingy I call the "turning worm" (sorry, I'm a biologist <G>).  Is it too much to hope that it's processing another batch of Windows updates?  I wish it would say so, but maybe multiple reboots is the way to clear the update backlog?  It's been saying "Please wait" for at least 10 minutes now, while I was writing all this.

 

EDIT - This time the reboot took not quite 3 hours.  I then went to Control Panel and Windows Update.  It says the last update was installed not quite a year ago, on 9/1/2015.  Now searching for updates.  I guess that will take time.  Will report back when all updates are installed and a further attempt to upgrade has either succeeded or failed.

 

SECOND EDIT - How long should it take for "Checking for updates" to run?  It has now been running for more than two hours with no result so far.


Edited by saluqi, 10 July 2016 - 03:39 PM.


#4 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 05:17 PM

I am running Win 7 on my desktop and at the end of May my mobo turned its toes up. New mobo and CPU and a windows re-install. Once I had it up and running it took me 48 hours of continuous operation for it to find all the necessary updates since SP1 came out. A laptop I am responsible for, also running Win 7, took 16 hours just for June's patches.This is a ridiculous situation - there are suggestions that MS is throttling back 7 and 8.1 updates to encourage users to switch to 10. My wife's, running 8.1, was a bit quicker but still took most of an evening to install last months patches. And we've got it all to go through again in a couple of days !

 

Chris Cosgrove


Edited by Chris Cosgrove, 10 July 2016 - 05:19 PM.
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#5 saluqi

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 07:34 PM

Thanks Chris - I don't know whether that makes me feel better or not!   In the meantime I looked through parts of the Windows Updates thread . . . there must be thousands of them - not to mention endless recalls and rewrites.  "Search for updates" has now been running for nearly six hours and still shows "0 items" at lower left.  I suppose it will have to run overnight.  Fortunately I don't need to use that computer for anything else just now.  I just hope it will get done before the 29th!

 

I don't need encouragement to switch to 10 - I'm quite comfortable with it so far.  But it is my understanding that I have to upgrade both laptops to 8.1 before I can upgrade them to 10.  Yes, I know, I've read why that must (??) be so - but it is a royal PITA and so far has killed most of a day in which I really did have other things to do.  The office laptop, which has been in almost daily use all along, upgraded to 8.1 without a quiver.  The one at home, just because I haven't used it in a while, is turning into a nightmare.

 

Ridiculous is the right word (well, one of them anyway . . .).



#6 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 07:04 PM

 

There will be no  use of profanity on our message boards.  This will not be tolerated and can lead to immediate suspension. - from the Forum Rules

 

It would be embarrassing if a Mod got banned from the site for breaching forum rules !

 

Like you, just at the moment I have many better things to do than struggle with Windows updates, and I have six computers of various types and OS in my care. All I will say is I am extremely glad that one and a half run Linux !

 

Chris Cosgrove



#7 saluqi

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Posted 12 July 2016 - 08:09 AM

Well, now the "Searching for updates" has been running for 36 hours without result.  Then a Dell update got in the way and I rebooted (probably a mistake).  I suppose this reboot will again take hours, and I'll be back to Square One as far as searching for updates is concerned..

 

I think I will try to see if Microsoft can get me out of this mess.  I suppose the worst that can happen is I have to wipe the laptop and then install a paid copy of Windows 10 Pro.  Or maybe try Linux.  I've never had one of those, but don't mind learning.  I lived in the mainframe world for years before the first PC came along.  Anybody remember when "Startrek" was a mainframe game that kept all the system programmers too busy to do real work?  That got me so, er, annoyed that I grabbed a book and taught myself programming in order to do the job I had asked them to do for me (analyzing large suites of marine biology data).  Never dreamed at the time that 20 years later I would be writing code for a living!  Well, it was fun for a while . . .

 

I do have some data on the laptop but think I probably have most of it backed up - the 2 TB external that's now hitched to the desktop was formerly hitched to the laptop as backup, and when I bought the present desktop I ported everything over, so far as I can remember.  Anyway I can wait till it boots up and then dump everything onto another external drive, just in case.

 

EDIT next morning: The laptop booted up after about three hours. I left it overnight.  This morning it says updates were installed THIS MORNING (???!!!).  I set it to search for updates before going off to work.  Does this mean I should just reboot and reboot and reboot?

 

I also have things to report about the office laptop, which did upgrade successfully to Win 8.1 64 bit but is not, that I can see, offering an upgrade to Windows 10.  Would it avoid confusion if I opened a separate thread for the office laptop (on which I am now typing this)?

 

EDIT Tuesday evening: returned home to find "Searching for updates" still running on the home laptop.  Rebooted.  Within a minute or two, this time, got the Windows logo and then after a brief blackscreen pause "Preparing to configure Windows.  Do not turn off your computer" and, of course, the turning worm.  Might this be a sign of progress?  Haven't seen this before, since this recent saga began.


Edited by saluqi, 12 July 2016 - 08:14 PM.


#8 saluqi

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Posted 17 July 2016 - 08:57 AM

Sorry to "bump" this, but there are a couple of things to report:

 

1) after one more update (the famous "8.1 update"?) the office laptop did show the Windows 10 update icon in the system tray.  It updated uneventfully to Windows 10 yesterday afternoon.  54 minutes for the download, 55 minutes for "preparing", at that point I went shopping and when I came back 2 hours later the update was finished.  Except of course for agreeing to the EULA and a very minor bit of tweaking (mostly, setting defaults),.The install program removed Speccy, but we already know about that (Speccy is not actually incompatible with Win 10, it's just the install program that thinks it is), I will reinstall it on Monday.

 

2) after rebooting the home laptop one more time, it has since then been stuck in "Restarting" (with the spinning dots) for more than 80 hours.  Even switching the power off, and then back on after a while, has not changed that behavior.  I have restarted that machine at least a couple of dozen times in the past week or so, with no problem (but some delay, especially at first), but now all of a sudden it is stuck at "Restarting".  Go figure.



#9 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 17 July 2016 - 03:55 PM

Sounds like a case for the 'down-powering' treatment. Shut it down whichever way you can, disconnect the charging lead, remove the battery and hold the power on button down for 30 seconds or so. Then re-connect the battery and see what happens when you power up.

 

One possible alternative - you say that your internet connection is 'improved' - would be to download the Win 8.1 ISO and create an install DVD and install Win 8.1 from that, I believe you can still download the 8.1 ISO from MS. But before that, create a bootable Linux disc, which will run in RAM, and make sure you have backed up all your data that may be on this computer. I keep a copy of Puppy on my desk for this sort of thing, it has come in very useful on occasion. You don't need to use Puppy, it's just the one suggested to me when I needed a disc, virtually any version of Linux can be written as a 'Live' disc. If your laptop doesn't have a DVD drive then you can use a USB memory stick.

 

Chris Cosgrove



#10 saluqi

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Posted 17 July 2016 - 07:26 PM

After power-down (as described above) and power-up I got a Windows logo, then after a bit "Please wait" and the turning worm.  In the past that has led to a normal boot after anything from a few minutes to a few hours.  Worth waiting a bit, I suppose, to see what happens. - Oh-ho, while I was writing this it changed to saying "Configuring Windows updates" etc., went to 100% while I was typing this line, and now I have the normal login screen.

 

When I logged in it said I was running an outdated, no longer supported version of Windows 8, I should update to 8.1 - so I did . . .

 

And unlike any previous occasion, it is now actually downloading the 8.1 upgrade.  Fingers and toes crossed . . . needless to say I'm not going to touch ANYTHING until it's done.  Looks like it will take a while - it's a wi-fi connection, but the one in the office did both upgrades (8.1 and then 10) via wi-fi, the same setup I have here, the same identical router and the same Internet connection (well, I mean identical, of course they are separate).

 

I had written the 3 paragraphs below before the turning worm changed to "configuring Windows updates" so that may (hopefully) all be irrelevant now.  If this behaves like the one in  the office I will have to wait a couple of days before going on with the Win 10 update - waiting for Win 8.1 to install what I suppose is that much-discussed "8.1 update" before the icon for the Win 10 update appears in the system area.

 

I have a couple of (now quite old) bootable Linux system discs.  One is Red Hat, I'm not sure about the other (quite a while since I looked at them).  This Dell laptop does have a DVD drive.  It was their top of the line model when I bought it, a little over 2 1/2 years ago.  Of course, it had to go back to the factory for a mobo transplant before I could use it . . . they replaced the mobo instantly and without comment, shipped the computer back the same day they received it, so I suppose it wasn't the only one . . .

 

The former Internet connection was Earthlink via landline telephone.  Slow <G>.  What I have now is via a local firm, it's essentially a microwave relay from the Comcast backbone 20 miles away.  There's a repeater on an old water tower, less than a mile from my house and in plain sight out my window.  I receive via a small powered "dish" on the corner of the house.  It usually runs about 20-25 megabits/sec download.  It's been good enough for 3 Win 10 upgrades so far, on computers I control, and quite a few others for other folks.

 

The trouble with living out in the boonies (farming village of 1000 people more or less, miles from anything else) is that there aren't any local shops.  The nearest Fry's is 6 hours drive, one way.  Nearest cell phone shop, 20 miles.  Nearest Radio Shack, ditto.  My friend Brian, who runs the Comcast link, is also 20 miles away.

 

EDIT - the upgrade was successful, the home laptop is now running Windows 8.1 - hooray!  I think some of the wallpaper is dreadful, but won't bother to change it, because I am going on to Windows 10 as soon as possible (after that infamous update) and know how to configure any of these Windows versions to display whatever wallpaper I want.  No need to bother at this stage.

 

I have to say there were a couple of scary moments - when after the first reboot it seemed to stick on "Restarting" (with the turning worm of course) for 20 minutes or so - the hard disk light was going the whole time, but I was still uneasy . . . and then at a later point when "Setting up" got stuck at 82% for what seemed like forever (probably all of 5 minutes <G>).  Anyway it's done now, and thanks VERY VERY much for the tip about shutting down the power!

 

BTW all the files and settings are intact, the only change I've noticed so far is that it now charges the battery to 100% instead of 75%.  No need to monkey with that until after the Win 10 upgrade.

 

BTW also it may be worth noting that the Classic Shell, which I was using as a Start menu generator in Windows 8, survived into 8.1 and then also into Windows 10 on the office laptop (just wanted to reconfigure itself for the new environment, which it did very quickly).

 

EDIT 2 - it may also be worth noting that I did not have to disable Avast! during either of these upgrades - Win 8 to Win 8.1 on both laptops, and Win 8.1 to Win 10 on the office one.  Remarkable, I thought.


Edited by saluqi, 17 July 2016 - 10:20 PM.


#11 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 18 July 2016 - 04:30 PM

It just goes to show that most computer problems can be solved with patience, persistence and a good talking at !

 

Chris Cosgrove



#12 saluqi

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Posted 18 July 2016 - 06:58 PM

Walk softly and carry a big, er, power-off button <G>.



#13 saluqi

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Posted 19 July 2016 - 08:05 PM

Update 6 pm Pacific time: On arriving home half an hour ago I rebooted the laptop.  When it came up again it processed 1 update (evidently the fateful Win 8.1 one) and pretty soon the GWX icon appeared in the system area.  Since that was my intention all along, I clicked on it, and the Win 10 download is in progress as I type this.  I'll report on the result in due course.

 

EDIT - the upgrade completed successfully, taking less than 3 hours all told.  I was in the kitchen cooking most of the time, so I don't know exactly when it finished.

 

So i suppose, barring some VERY unlikely event, my presence on this forum is at an end.

 

I'm a tiny bit disappointed nobody caught my intentional misquote of Theodore Roosevelt.  He actually said "Speak softly and carry a big stick, and you will go far."

 

Thanks again for all the help, without which I would probably still be sweating in frustration!


Edited by saluqi, 19 July 2016 - 11:15 PM.


#14 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 05:33 PM

It would be a shame to stop using the forum after only 402 posts, after all this topic only took 8 of them. that leaves 394 on other topics !

 

I may be a hick from the depths of Central Scotland but even I had heard of the first President Roosevelt. As I recall he wasn't the worst President you ever had and the second President Roosevelt was probably the best you've had since then.

 

Glad you got this problem sorted. Onwards and upwards to the next one !

 

Chris Cosgrove



#15 saluqi

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Posted 21 July 2016 - 11:51 PM

Ack.  I knew i hadn't phrased that right.  Of course I have no intention of abandoning the BC forums.  Quite the contrary.  I meant to say only that, having now gone past Windows 8/8.1 on all the computers I control, I might not have anything more to say (or rather, ask) on the Windows 8/8.1 forum.  On second thought I realized that was short-sighted - see below.

 

Complete agreement about the Presidents Roosevelt.  I lived through the entire FDR period - I was born near the end of the Hoover administration.  As for what our immediate future holds . . . well, fingers crossed <G>.  It would be funny if it weren't so scary.

 

Some of my ancestors came from Scotland.  I've spent a bit of time in the U.K., mostly working on scientific problems and so more or less tied to the Natural History Museum in Cromwell Road, and to University conferences.  To my regret I never managed to get farther north than Scolt Head and the Wash on the east coast, and watching peregrines in the Brecon Beacons in Wales on the west.  I still hope to remedy that defect before, er, I get too old <G>.

 

I've been crazy about kippers since childhood.  Throwback of some kind?  Just about impossible to find in the U.S. any more (used to get Marshall's, but that was LONG ago).  And yes, as a former professor of oceanography I know the herring fishery has taken a beating.  Until a few years ago I lived in Rhode Island on the east coast of the U.S. - and had to watch RUSSIAN trawlers catching the herring in Narragansett Bay.  American fishermen weren't interested.  No market.  No WHAT?  Made me want to scream.

 

It's occurred to me for a while now that it's time to try giving something back, by learning how to help others.  I'd have to abandon my flippant style - a reaction to extreme stress in my current professional life, having nothing to do with computers - in favor of something more professional.  Having spent most of my life in the teaching profession, I think I could manage that <G>.

 

So where do I start, or at least find out whether I'm eligible?

 

Thanks,






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