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Help going back to windows 8.1 from W10.

Ricochet90

New Member
Yesterday I installed the technical preview of W10 on my SP2,obviosly I made a recovery drive on a USB before.

Now I want to go back to windows 8.1 but the recovery drive I made is not working, when I select which OS I want to restore in the boot menu "Windows Technical Preview" always appears but not W8.1,so It keeps reinstalling the preview.

I even tried downloading a W8.1 ISO file to see if I can install it and go back to my recovery drive using it, but every time I try to reinstall windows 8.1 the installation goes way too fast to end with the "There was a problem installing windows 8.1" message appearing after a while every time.

I disabled Secure boot and all and it doesn't works.

So I'm stuck with windows 10.

What I can do to reinstall windows 8.1 on my SP2?

I was thinking about installing Ubuntu and from there reinstalling W8.1,is that a good idea?
 

GoodBytes

Well-Known Member
I don't have an idea, as I didn't do it (I did it on my desktop with a dual boot configuration)
But, what you try and do, is run Windows 8 setup in Windows 10. Be sure that your Windows 8 is the 64-bit version.
 

lparsons21

Active Member
I'm just starting the process to go back to W8.1 on my SP 1st Gen. Got the zip file from MS and am creating the USB stick now.

Of course, on mine it will install W8 and then I'll have to do the massive updates to then get W8.1 on it.

To the OP, with your USB stick inserted you're supposed to hold the volume down and tap the power button, then release the volume down after the Surface splash comes up. Supposedly that takes you to a screen that allows you to do the install of W8.1
 

lparsons21

Active Member
Update:
I had downloaded the image yesterday. So far after making the USB stick as instructed and following all the steps, it won't boot to the USB stick at all.

Not happy! :(
 

GreyFox7

Super Moderator
Staff member
Update:
I had downloaded the image yesterday. So far after making the USB stick as instructed and following all the steps, it won't boot to the USB stick at all.

Not happy! :(
The devil as they say is in the details... "followed all the steps" wont help anyone help you. somewhere a step when awry, we zigged on a zag, dropped a stitch... something.
 

lparsons21

Active Member
OK, here's some details. :)

1. Downloaded the image in the form of a zip file from MS.

2. Extracted the files as instructed

3. Formatted the 16Gb USB stick with FAT32 as instructed

4. Copied the files from the zip to the USB stick

5. Turned off the SP

6. Held the volume down button and pressed and released the power switch on the SP

7. Released the volume button when the 'Surface' splash showed up.

....and the computer booted right into W10 as if the USB stick wasn't there.

If I missed something it would have only been because either the zip file isn't correct, the USB was defective (it isn't) or the SP doesn't work the way they claim. But I'm very open to suggestions.
 

GreyFox7

Super Moderator
Staff member
What does the USB drive look like in Disk Management? Only one partition? Active?
Is there a Recovery Partition on the internal disk?
It would seem one or the other should have been picked up instead of booting straight to W10. Its as if neither is recognized OR it missed the volume down button.

Could you also indicate the USB disk format details how was it done?

I must go out for a couple hours... bbl
 

lparsons21

Active Member
What does the USB drive look like in Disk Management? Only one partition? Active?
Is there a Recovery Partition on the internal disk?
It would seem one or the other should have been picked up instead of booting straight to W10. Its as if neither is recognized OR it missed the volume down button.

Could you also indicate the USB disk format details how was it done?

I must go out for a couple hours... bbl

If I boot with volume down and then release, the USB drive creates a virtual CD. That virtual CD is shown as primary, but doesn't show active and that cannot be set.

And yes, there is a recovery partition on the internal disk.

I've tested the volume down button and it works just fine, but your question makes me wonder if it is catching that during the boot cycle. I'll play with timing of release a bit to see what happens.

I know booting with the volume up works as advertised.
 

lparsons21

Active Member
When I started doing this today, I also started a download of a new image just in case...

New zip file is around 7GB which is more than twice as big as the one I downloaded a couple days ago. Dollars to donuts that is the issue. I have it extracted and am copying to the USB stick as I type. I'll report back when I've tested it out.

If MS had shown sizes, or if I had noticed that, a lot of hair pulling could have been avoided!
 

lparsons21

Active Member
Yep, that was the problem all along.

System restored to Win8 just fine and now getting updates along the way to getting Win8.1 back on this SP1. That's always fun, right? :)
 

lparsons21

Active Member
Me too! :)

Now I'm getting the 93 updates for Win8.0 out of the way...

I actually liked many things about W10 and am looking forward to when it has more and better 'modern ui' support. At the level it is now, I find it difficult to use on the SP1's 10" screen. And I really missed the 'modern' IE11 a lot!

Combo of old eyes and fat fingers!! :)

Your questions actually helped me along the way. I had read in a lot of places and this just wasn't a big problem for most, and for the few that were having problems, the solutions didn't apply in my case.
 

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