My Windows 8.1 upgrade nightmare

My upgrade to Windows 8.1 turned out to not quite be plain sailing. If you’re not easily scared, read on for why 8.1 is in the store and not Windows Update, why you need to remember your password, why you may want to disable synchronisation tools and what to do with pesky ‘SecureBoot isn’t configured correctly’ messages.

Nerd Alert!This post is definitely aimed at fellow geeks, by the way.

It’s an Upgrade, not an Update

So, on Friday I posted this seemingly innocuous comment on Facebook:

Of course, I was tempting fate, wasn’t I? Actually, Friday was ok. It was Saturday morning that was a nightmare.

There is a reason you have to go to the Windows Store to download 8.1 and not Windows Update. This is not like installing a service pack, it is an operating system upgrade. It’s a huge download – around 3.5GB and installing it is more like the initial Windows 8 install. Which is why…

If you have a Microsoft account, make sure you know the password

Windows-8-1Because you cannot login to a local account when you install 8.1 – it forces you to use a Microsoft account. A pain in the backside if you haven’t created one before, a potential nightmare if you have but you cannot remember the password.

You can go back into the user settings and recreate a local account after you have finished the install, but that’s a pain. Obviously, this is the way of the future and I’m actually all in favour, although I prefer to work in the Google world than the Microsoft one. But this is going to be another reason for Windows 8 haters to complain!

Synchronisers beware!

Credit: Google
Credit: Google

I don’t know if this was related to the user account changes, or the encouragement to set up a SkyDrive (I thought they were supposed to be changing that name?) but my libraries were confused by the upgrade and that led to my Google Drive and Sugarsync getting confused.

My local Google Drive location was messed up. Which kindly sent the commands up to Google to delete all my files. Next time I upgrade I will temporarily uninstall Google Drive.

Now, to be fair, my Sugarsync problems were probably caused by me having my Documents folder located in the Google Drive, so other Sugarsync users may not suffer in the same way. But when my files disappeared, the command was of course sent to Sugarsync too, so all the files there were deleted. Including the ones the darling @mrsdeargeek has shared with me. Which meant that Saturday morning I had to sort out this whole mess because she couldn’t work, as the files had been deleted from her PC too.

Oh, don’t worry, they were all backed up! I’d never live that one down, would I?

Putting the SecureBoot in

One other annoyance I have found, not on my PC but another laptop here at Geek Towers, was the sudden appearance of a watermark on the desktop wallpaper warning me that ‘SecureBoot isn’t configured correctly’.

This is a pain in the backside. Yes, for most people, you can just go into the BIOS and enable SecureBoot, but I like booting up with strange operating systems. This is just the wrong place to put the warning and even more wrong to not have an ‘ignore’ option. I await a solution from Microsoft but for health reasons will not be holding my breath.

So, was it all worth it?

I’ll be honest, I haven’t really seen much of an improvement. I didn’t miss the Start button so I’m not bothered about it being added back – I’ve always had a Windows key on my keyboard for that. But there is some use to it if you right-click on it. With multiple screens I don’t need the option to log straight into the desktop. I actually really liked the way Windows 8 worked.

Being able to change the Start screen background to match your desktop is nice, especially in a multiscreen setup. And more flexibility on tile sizes is nice. I don’t really use the new Windows 8 style apps, so the improvements to them a probably lost on me.

It may make moving to Windows 8.1 less of a shock for people coming from XP / Vista / 7 – which is a good thing.

And now all my files are back, well we can relax and see what the week ahead brings!

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Jonathan Gwyer

Jonathan Gwyer first delved into geekery with a ZX81 in 1981 and has been working in IT since 1990.

A Microsoft Certified Professional with many years of large corporate experience and training, he now focuses on helping small businesses make the most of their IT.
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My Windows 8.1 upgrade nightmare

by Jonathan Gwyer time to read: 3 min
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