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Factory Reset Offers Way Out for Surface Pro 3 Catch-22

In case you’ve been wondering, I’ve been on vacation since my last post went up on July 27. Though I had a great trip to Germany with my family, I ended up skipping blithely past the Windows 10 RTM date, and am just now catching up on production PC updates to Build 10240. My first candidate is a Surface Pro 3, and I found myself in an interesting Catch-22 situation on that machine: thanks to some uncaught and apparently incompatible recent driver update, the PC won’t restart without a “Process has pages locked in memory” blue screen. That’s all well and good, except that it renders the upgrade process on that machine inoperable, because of the hiccup that occurs when it tries to restart to install the new OS, after downloading all the files and performing various prep activities.

I found myself chatting online with the Surface Support team at MS this morning, looking for a Windows 10 key to permit me to perform a manual clean install of the new OS instead of trying to troubleshoot and fix the old one. That ain’t happening, according to my support contact, but at his urging I did perform a factory reset of the ailing machine — it took me two tries to get it to work, and even after the aforementioned restart hiccup as that process got underway, it did run to completion. Next, I had to apply all 122 of the updates pending on Windows 8.1 since the version on my boot/system disk recovery partition was written, last of which was the upgrade to Windows 10. In fact, the option to upgrade to Windows 10 appeared as soon as Windows Update opened on the running and reset image — however, once selected, all of the preceding upgrades still had to be applied before it got that far.

This process took some time to complete — about 3.5 hours all told, and over 10 GB of downloads overall — but the end result was what I wanted: a running licensed version of Windows 10 on my Surface Pro 3. Now, all I need to do is reinstall all of my applications and I’ll be back in business. No wonder I can’t help but see Windows (in all its forms and glorious manifestations) as a continuing guarantee for lifetime employment for those brave and interested enough to figure out its many quirks and foibles.

After all is said and done, here’s what the Surface shows for its new OS in the System widget.

In future blog posts for some time to come, I’ll be documenting my upgrade adventures on other Windows 8.1 machines here at Chez Tittel. Stay tuned!

[Note: Update added late afternoon, 8/10…]
MS wins big points for me for getting ALL the drivers right following the Win10 install on the Surface. DriverAgent reported all drivers up-to-date upon my initial post-install, post-app-update scan. Also, I learned that the excellent tool, Ninite, grabs the latest and greatest versions of the programs it’s instructed to install (not the versions that existed at the time the config file is built, as I’d feared might be the case). So far, I’m pretty pleased with the way things are going on the Surface Pro 3!