Windows 8.1 update glitch stops RT starting up

image captionMicrosoft cut the price of its Surface computers in a bid to boost sales

The latest Windows update is causing problems for owners of Microsoft's Surface RT gadgets.

The Windows 8.1 update has reportedly meant some of the touchscreen devices will not start up properly.

Microsoft has removed the update from its website while it looks into what has caused the problems.

At the same time, many people are reporting that the 8.1 update for Internet Explorer does not work well with Outlook and some Google services.

Recovery effort

Soon after the update's global release, on 17 October, Microsoft started to receive reports that once it had been applied to RT tablets and laptops, the gadgets had frozen during the boot-up process.

Windows RT is the version of Microsoft's operating system built to work with mobile and portable devices that use Arm chips. By contrast, other version of Windows run on machines that use processors from Intel or AMD.

Soon after the problems were reported, Microsoft pulled Windows RT 8.1 from its update site.

The update was pulled while it was "investigating a situation affecting a limited number of users", it explained in a support forum response. It added that it was working on a fix for the problem it had caused.

Prior to the official release, Windows RT user Scott Williams found a way to help people with tablets crippled by the update. Mr Williams created a start-up drive with a USB stick that helped bring stricken RT gadgets back to life.

Squashed search

The version of Internet Explorer 11 that ships with Windows 8.1 update has also caused problems for many people.

The updated version of the web browser has caused Google search results to be mashed together at the left hand side of a display. Others have reported IE11 has caused similar usability problems with Google's Play website and Music service.

In a statement, Microsoft said changes Google had made to its search and other sites were responsible for the glitches. Despite this, Microsoft has now made changes of its own to fix the problem, which can be turned on by unticking an option in IE11 that makes the browser use "Microsoft Compatibility lists".

Microsoft has also issued advice about how to get IE11 working with web-accessible versions of its Outlook email program that had become unusable with the new version of the browser.

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