How to Install Windows RT 8.1 Update 3 on Surface RT/2 with Fix in 2017

Most Surface RT and Surface 2 owners can't install Windows RT 8.1 Update 3 on their devices recently. Here is how to get the Start menu on your devices.

Surface RT the Start Menu is Back

It has been a while after many Surface RT and Surface 2 owners including me complaining about Windows Update and Windows Store problems after we reset our devices recently. Until now, there is still no official response with the solution from Microsoft yet.

Fortunately, there is a user that find out a direct download link to the Windows RT 8.1 Update 3 update package. I have tried to install it on my Surface RT, however, it ended up with searching for Windows update endlessly. I find out that many users also experience this problem like me. I decided to start from the scratch by resetting my Surface RT once again. And this time, I can do it and the Start menu is back to my Surface RT now.

1 Make sure you have the Latest Windows RT 8.1 Update

Before you can install the Windows RT 8.1 Update 3, your Surface RT needs to have the Windows RT 8.1 Update first. Here is how to check:

  1. Swipe from the right > Control Panel > Windows Update
  2. At the bottom left of the screen, click on Installed Updates
  3. Under the Microsoft Windows list, make sure you have “Update for Microsoft Windows (KB2919355)” in the list.
    Verify the KB2919355 installed

2 Installing Windows RT 8.1 KB2919355

If you can’t find the update in the list, and you stuck at checking for Windows update follow these steps to manually install the “Update for Microsoft Windows (KB2919355)”.

  1. Download the windows8.1-kb2919355-arm.msu file to your computer.
  2. Turn your WiFi off by clicking on the WiFi icon in the taskbar, under the Wi-Fi section, turn the toggle Off
  3. Install the update package you’ve downloaded.
    Install the update package KB2919355
  4. Restart your computer.
    Install and Reboot

3 Fix Windows Update with a Local Windows Update Troubleshooting Tool

If you can’t install update packages you’ve downloaded and your computer is stuck at checking for Windows update as here:

Stuck in Checking for Windows Update

Note When your Surface stuck in Checking for Windows update, you will notice that the Service Host: Local System will keep taking around 25% CPU process over time with plenty of memory usages.

You can fix this problem by:

  1. Swipe from the right > Control Panel > Troubleshooting
  2. Under System and Security click Fix problems with Windows Update
  3. Click Next and click on Try troubleshooting as an administrator
  4. Now the tool will detect and fix problems for you, it will take about two minutes to complete.

4 Download and Install Windows 8.1 RT KB3173424

  • Download the windows8.1-kb3173424-arm.msu file to your computer.
  • Make sure your Wi-Fi is turned off.
  • Install the update package you’ve downloaded.
    Installing KB3173424

5 Download and Install Windows 8.1 RT KB3172614

  • Download the windows8.1-kb3172614-arm.msu file to your computer.
  • Make sure your Wi-Fi is turned off.
  • Install the update package you’ve downloaded.
    installing KB3172614
  • Restart your computer.
    Install and Reboot

6 Turn on the Wi-Fi and check for Windows Update

After you have installed all above packages, now your problems with checking for Windows update loop is fixed. You can now update your Surface directly via Windows Update with no more issues.

  1. Turn on your Wi-Fi.
  2. Go Settings > Control Panel > Windows Update > Check for updates.
  3. Now you will see more than 200+ updates on your way.
    206 more updates on the way
  4. Install all those updates and restart your computer to finish Windows update.

7 Verify Windows 8.1 Update 3 with Start Menu option

After you have installed all Windows update, you can now activate new Start menu by:

  1. Right-click on Taskbar > Properties
  2. Now you can see the Start Menu option there
  3. Check “Use the Start menu instead of the Start screen“.
  4. Click Apply.
  5. Sign out and Sign back in to see changes.

8 More Information

All above steps will fix your problems, and the following information is just for keeping track about this problem so far.

Download the Windows RT 8.1 Update 3 Standalone Package

Thank Gianpietromerighetti, a Microsoft community user, he has shared the update download link to the Microsoft community. Here is what you need to do:

Turn off WiFi and Install the Update

In order to prevent the endless checking for Windows update happen while you install the standalone package, you need to turn off the WiFi. Here is what you need to do:

  1. Click WiFi icon in the taskbar, under the Wi-Fi section, turn the toggle Off
  2. Go to desktop, install the Windows8.1-KB3097667-arm.msu
  3. Restart your computer.
  4. After you’ve restarted your computer, right-click on Taskbar > Properties, now you can see the Start Menu option there

What’s Now?

Even the start menu is back, the endless checking for Windows Update and Windows Store problems still persist. And this problem needs to be fixed by Microsoft. You can follow this problem in the Microsoft Community thread for future updates.

Update: an Official Fix is Coming!

According to Barb Bowman, a Microsoft Community moderator, the Surface Support team is aware of the problems and working to push a fix for Surface RT/2 soon.

Everyone:
I’ve been in touch with Surface Supportability who have been working with the Windows Team on this. Just received an email which stated “we think we know root cause and that we are working to push a fix out quickly but don’t have an exact timeframe..”

Update 1/23/2017: A Community Member Found a Fix for Windows Update and Store

On 1/23/2017, a community member named Stjinchan found a solution for fixing Windows Update and Store problems with a complete guide here.

Windows update stuck at “Checking update…”

After contacting Microsoft, and doing research for at least a few weeks, I found a solution to this major problem.

Alright, so I got a permanent solution for the Windows Update searching disaster! 🙂

Step 1: Restore your Surface RT with the recovery image from the microsoft website. (optional)
Step 2: Set up your surface and head to Windows update.
Step 3: Search for updates, after 30m-1h you will see a firmware update, press install without modifying the update list.
Step 4: After the installation got succeeded, and your surface rt restarted go ahead and search again for updates.
Step 5: Again you will see a package of updates, this update includes the Windows RT 8.1 Update 1 update (kb2919355).
Step 6: When you finished installing the updates and your surface rebooted again, go to “installed updates” and check if kb2919355 is installed.
Step 7: If no, try to install the updates again. If yes, start searching for updates again.
Step 8: Once Windows Update is searching for at least 4 hours we came at the point where most of us are stuck.

THE SOLUTION

Step 9: Download kb3173424 from HERE.
Step 10: Download kb3172614 from HERE.
Step 11: Turn off your Wifi, and reboot the surface.
Step 12: Install kb3173424 by opening it.
Step 13: Reboot the surface.
Step 14: Install kb3172614 by opening it.
Step 15: Reboot the surface.
Step 16: Turn on your Wifi, start searching for updates and after 10+/- minutes you will see 180+ updates coming your way :D.

I hope this helps a lot of people, since it was a major problem on the Surface RT.

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Comments (24)

  • conor

    That’s work for me. Thank Evan!

    • Eug

      For me, I had to do a reset but this time I didn’t change anything and didn’t add my Microsoft Account. Rather I got it going with a local account.

      Only then was I able to get the updates installed and even then I had to run the Windows Update Troubleshooter once to fix after the first round of updates. Also, after one of the bigger updates, I was about to check for updates again when I thought I’d just review the update history and I’m glad I did. That last big update was still waiting for a restart even though the machine had restarted to install it. So I did a manual restart and then continued on with Windows Update – always via the control panel.

      Flaky stuff for certain, but thought I’d mention the above in case it may help someone.

  • Lambert

    I can’t find the “Update for Microsoft Windows (KB2919355)” in installed updates list. And the my Windows Updates also checking forever. What should I do?

    • Hi Lambert,

      It’s also happened to me. You may need to reset your tablet one more time. However, this time, make you sure you keep your device plugin and change power setting to prevent your Surface from sleep.

      Leave it to download and install all updates until you can find the KB2919355 update in the list. For me, it takes 1 day and 1 night to finish all required update. Hope you get luck with that!

  • KDriver

    Have this issue and very frustrated as i cant download Drawboard PDF, an essential for my work. I reset my Surface2 a few days ago after experience multiple software issues, only to encounter worse ones now!!!

    • Hi KDriver,

      I have a trick to make the Store work temporarily. Follow this steps:

      1 – Follow step 2 of this article – 2. Fix Windows Update with a Local Windows Update Troubleshooting Tool
      2 – Then go to Control Panel > Check for Updates. Now you need to let it run until it shows an error message. (It may take up to 1 or 2 hours). However, if you have no luck, it will check for updates endlessly (I don’t know why it only works sometimes).
      3 – If you saw an error message, now you can go to Store and download your apps. This time, it will work.

      Hope you have luck.

  • R

    Finally found your fix and am happy to say it worked for me on my Surface RT.

  • Cindy

    This is great! I didn’t even realize Surface 2 (RT 8.1) could be updated like this. Love having the Start button! I found this post via a search for answers/help on the Touchscreen fail after updates which was supposed to be fixed with Firmware update in 11/15 — but it’s not. For the third time now, I’ve lost the Touchscreen and I am at my wits end with MS ‘support’. Have you had any experience and/or success with this?

    • I am not sure about your case as currently, I own only a Surface RT, not Surface 2. I think you should try to reset your Surface 2 once more time and this time make sure you have the “Update for Microsoft Windows (KB2919355)” in the Install Updates list. Then follow the section 7 of this post. Hope you’ll have luck with that 🙂

  • fabi

    Hi, works perfect. Thank you for the hint. I just needed to repair the updare function as Administrator between each downloaded update instead of rebooting.

    The 2xx Updates took really long time. 😁

  • Sydney

    Worked for me! I did the repair and updates in the following order:

    1) Make sure you have the Latest Windows RT 8.1 Update
    3) Download the Windows RT 8.1 Update 3 Standalone Package
    7) Update 1/23/2017: A Community Member Found a Fix for Windows Update and Store
    7.9-11) Download kb3173424 and kb3172614, turn off your Wifi, and reboot the surface.
    2) Fix Windows Update with a Local Windows Update Troubleshooting Tool
    7.12) Install kb3173424 by opening it.
    2) Fix Windows Update with a Local Windows Update Troubleshooting Tool
    7.14) Install kb3172614 by opening it.
    2) Fix Windows Update with a Local Windows Update Troubleshooting Tool
    4) Turn off WiFi and Install Windows RT 8.1 Update 3 Standalone Package
    7.15-16) Reboot the surface, turn on your Wifi, start searching for updates.

    I was having problems with updating, but reading the comments convinced me to do multiple instances of step 2. 🙂

  • Hey! That’s my article! 😀
    Cool! Never thought it was gonna end up here!

  • Brian

    After sitting on the phone with MS support for 3 days the dumb people told me it was fully update and i knew it was not…thank you so much you are a life saver bro!!!

  • Carlos Alarcon

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR GUIDE, I ALREADY UPDATED MY SURFACE RT

  • cinefilomex

    I have been trying to do this, but i noticed that the Windows store doesn work anymore. I got this message: This versión of Windows is no longer supported by Windows Store. Get the newest versión of Windows. And then it sends me to get Windows 10, which its ironic since Surface rt isnt capable of update to Windows 10. Any help with this? i cant install any app besides the ones that came with windows

    • Mrd

      Same here. The answer from Microsoft: pay 29€ for assistance since is no longer unde rguarantee. So… I have a really expensive screen. That’s it. I can’t install anything. Or update.

      • cinefilomex

        Well, I think I found an aceptable solution since I tried all last week. I can only get Access to the store on Windows versión 8.0. Thats a downgrade since the Tablet on 8.1 sends the no longer supported message. The steps are those ones:

        1. Get the recovery from this page: http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/Back-Up-and-Recovery/Surface-RT-Recovery-Image.shtml
        2. Select recovery from usb and chose the option erase the partitions.
        3. Even when it says select operating system 8.1 , it will rolls back to Windows 8.0.
        4. Wait until the instalation its complete and after the setting its done with your Microsoft account you will be able to access to the store.
        5. You probably wont have the options to install all the apps on Windows store like Facebook and games but, you will have a better operating Tablet that just a screen .

        I hope it Works for yuou and all the ones that have the same problem.

        Its a shame and weird thing that you can Access to a limited versión of the store on Windows 8.0 than in an updated versión like Windows 8.1 where it blocks your account for installing apps.

        Like an extra observation. You might be tempted on update the versión to Windows 8.1 since you get the message on the store but then again you will receive the store no longer supports that versión of Windows.

        I did it and the only two aditional apps that i got after installing games and all were Netflix and Claro video and they didnt even work cause they closed.

        Let me know how that worked for you.

  • havi v

    what i did was after trying a million times ,what finally worked was to do a refresh and not loose ill my stuff , when it finished i , went to system update and when i got them i didnt update nothing that had to do with office . so skip anything that has to do with office dont install those updates .. when all those updates install restart wait , then check for updates again and remember not to install anything that says office , hopefully then you will get the kb2919355 update install it along with whatever other updates that are there, no office remember , once it reboots now you can install Windows8.1-KB3097667-arm.msu so download it from above and leave it on your desktop , and while your at it also download kb3173424 and kb3172614 and also put it on your desktop . turn off wifi and restart your surface rt , after it restarts install kb3097667 then restart then install kb3173424 restart install kb3172614 then restart ,after that you should be good to go .. i tried a millions times and wasted hours , and what worked was not installing any office updates until i did the steps i did above .. you might have to do this if you see update get stuck be patient ..Swipe from the right > Control Panel > Troubleshooting
    Under System and Security click Fix problems with Windows Update
    Click Next and click on Try troubleshooting as an administrator
    Now the tool will detect and fix problems for you, it will take about two minutes to complete if

  • Hi all, If you still stuck in the problem and can’t fix the problem. Now I have updated the guide and I think it will help you to fix your problem now.

  • Damian

    Hello,

    I have a Surface RT, I tried following this guide, reset to factory settings using image from Microsoft and tried again, same issue.

    Update searches forever, I turn off WiFi and install KB3173424 which goes fine, I then restart and try to install kb3172614 but that fails and I cannot go any further with the guide.
    Any suggestions?

    • First you need to have KB2919355 installed. And if you can’t install KB2919355 package, you should keep your Surface update by itself first. Sometimes Windows Update is not stuck in checking for updates, it’s just take long time to download and install some updates.

      To check whether Windows Update is stuck or not, check your task manager as in section 3 of this article “Fix Windows Update with a Local Windows Update Troubleshooting Tool”. If you really think you stuck in Windows Update, fix your Surface with Local Windows Update Troubleshooting tool and try to update your Surface again.

  • Venkatesh Ramasamy

    Great Article. Finally am able to update to Windows 8.1 Update 3. I installed the first 2 KB files and Windows update debugging. But it didn’t show the Start Menu options. So downloaded and installed the Standalone Windows Update 3 package and it worked fine.
    Now searching solution for Windows update endless search issue. Past 45 minutes it’s searching.. (Sigh)
    When I bought Surface, I thought I would be able to update Windows as early as Microsoft release it. (Like Android OS for Pixel devices, iOS for Apple devices). But Greatly disappointed!