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Windows 8.1 Update Issues and Discussion

Discussion in 'Samsung' started by Dannemand, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. Dannemand

    Dannemand Decidedly Moderate Super Moderator

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    Update 21 Apr 2014 - Update finally seems safe for most

    This thread was created almost immediately after the release of Windows 8.1 on 17 Oct 2013, with the title WIN 8.1: DON'T upgrade until Samsung has updated drivers, prompted by an avalanche of problems caused by Samsung users trying to update.

    Some users were able to successfully update with few or minor issues, while others experienced severe breakdowns and, in a few cases, even bricking. Owners of models with discrete GPUs and switchable graphics generally had a more difficult time with the update. But as the hundreds of posts up until today illustrate, the issues were broad, and the frustrations of users were great.

    The problems were caused by Microsoft breaking backwards compatibility with Samsung's existing Win8 drivers, and Samsung not having updated its drivers ahead of Win8.1's release. I speculated in this post that there may be some politics behind this, not just blatant oversight by both companies.

    Now, over six months later, the situation has finally changed enough that we consider it safe to proceed with the update for most users. During this time, Samsung has released a number of driver updates for most models, as well as BIOS updates that presumably improve Win8.1 compatibility. Also, Microsoft has provided updated drivers through Windows Update, along with several OS updates addressing backwards compatibility. And finally, with the release of Windows 8.1 Spring Update 1 earlier this month, it appears that Win8.1 can finally be installed (or updated to) safely on most Samsung laptops.

    Please still note that Samsung does not officially support Win8.1 on all models. The page here provides a list of supported US models along with general update instructions. Similar pages should exist for other countries. Several members have found that some models NOT officially supported (including my own NP700Z3A) can still be updated successfully using drivers from Windows Update or directly from OEMs (Intel, AMD, Nvidia, etc).

    We still highly recommend making backups before proceeding with the update, as described further down in the original opening post and the 24 Oct 2013 update.

    Please spend some time in this thread reading update experiences and tips from other members. Scan backwards from the most recent post for information relevant to your model. Also, lots of relevant information has been posted in the various Owners Lounge threads and in smaller individual threads. Google searches such as site:notebookreview.com/samsung NP900X3C Windows 8.1 update (insert your own model) should yield relevant hits.

    And finally, please continue posting your results in this thread so that others can benefit from your experiences -- both good and bad.

    We are changing the thread title to reflect this change of focus, away from warning against updating to Win8.1, to regular discussion of issues about updating.

    Original Opening Post 17 Oct 2013

    During the Win 8.1 Preview period, we had lots of reports from members who discovered that current versions of Samsung drivers, Settings and SW Update are not compatible with 8.1.

    Then after RTM, the traffic increased with members who installed 8.1, only to discover the same thing.

    And now today, with the official release Win 8.1, it is hard to find an individual thread that isn't flooded with reports of Win 8.1 breaking things.

    Just to summarize what many have found and posted already over the last few months:

    • Win 8.1 is NOT compatible with existing versions of Samsung software: SW Update doesn't properly detect the model (although Compatibility Mode helps). Settings doesn't work properly, affecting Fn-keys, brightness and several other features. And several members have found problems with display drivers as well.

    • It is indeed disappointing that Samsung hasn't released updated drivers yet. Personally I think the reason for the delay is that previous generations of Samsung Easy Settings, Settings and SW Update were implemented in ways that stretch proper behavior for Windows software (including BIOS calls, which is generally a no-no from within Windows apps). And now 8.1 is blocking that behavior, forcing Samsung to do some significant re-writing -- possibly even BIOS updates, as we have already seen for some models. That's just my guess, of course.

    • Whatever the reason for the delay, I recommend Samsung owners to be patient and hold off on the the 8.1 upgrade until we have confirmation that Samsung has released new drivers. They will have to solve this eventually (in order to sell computers), and I expect an announcement similar to the page linked below once they are ready. Maybe Win 8.1 will even have its own driver category in SW Update.

      SAMSUNG PC Windows 8 Upgrade
    Of course you can all test and play with Win 8.1, as long as you are aware that it is not fully working yet on our Sammies. For those who do test it, please post your findings here, along with whatever solutions you discover. Please also include your model number.

    There is never a better time for the kind of sharing that this forum is all about :)

    Updates 18 Oct 2013:

    • As mentioned by Animaag here, Samsung UK has posted an update page.

    • As mentioned by several members, a new SW Update version 2.1.19 just came out today. As John mentioned here some models (such as NP940X3G) now have a Windows Blue section in addition to the existing Windows 7 and Windows 8 sections (of which the NP940X3G only has the latter). Still nothing in the way of updated drivers or Settings, but SW Update is one step.

      Note that this version of SW Update re-installs that pesky sAgent. Some previous versions of SW Update uses an internal service instead. If you had previously removed sAgent or disabled its Scheduled Task, you will find it has been re-installed. This is a mere detail in the bigger picture. Only for latency nitpicks like me ;)

    • Some members, such as ship69 here completely lost screen display after Win 8.1 upgrade. As described by other members following his post, the solution is to either (A) Press F4 from cold power on to enter Samsung Recovery Solution and restore to factory, or (B) press F8 from startup to get to Win8s Advanced Startup options, where Refresh can be chosen. Both choices will lose existing installed programs -- and data can be lost depending on which option is chosen.

      Alternatively, as posted by snappersrb here, use Shift-F8 from startup to enter Safe Mode and roll back the display driver.

      Making a backup of your Windows installation (using an image backup tool) is HIGHLY recommended before running the Win 8.1 upgrade. Personally I would backup data as well. Why risk anything.

    Thanks to all who shared information. Please holler if there are other important updates that should be included.

    Updates 24 Oct 2013:

    As posted by several members, Samsung pushed a number of driver updates today through SW Update. This in addition to the updated Settings 2.2.0.5 which was pushed a few days ago.

    I have not verified the workability of these updates myself yet, but I may give them a try this weekend (although my model is not officially supported). It will be on a test partition first, and I am absolutely going to make full system and data backups first.

    I still recommend all members to make backups before running the 8.1 upgrade, as described in the posts here and here. Click the links in that second post for details. Those are merely worst case backups to re-image a drive, you want regular system and data backups as well.

    Even if it had NOT been for the horror stories in this thread (and other threads) I would still recommend such backups before running a major Windows upgrade (as this is turning out to be).

    Once we have enough confirmation from owners of different models, we can change the thread title to reflect that status.

    Updates 26 Oct 2013:

    • As reported by member fugunaga, the Win 8.1 upgrade has been pulled from the Store; and as reported by members ship69 and newcastlefc200, Samsung seems to now be washing their hands completely of 8.1, saying it is not supported by them. It appears that some shakeout is underway while Samsung is working to get everything fixed.

    • John posted a link an official Samsung update guide. It may be the same guide as was on the UK update page linked earlier by member Animaag.

    Update 9 Jan 2014:

    At this time, lots of people have updated Win 8.1, some with more success than others. The path has been thorny for many, while others hardly had any issues.

    For those who wonder if it is now safe to update to 8.1, I tried to summarize in this post.
     
  2. Dannemand

    Dannemand Decidedly Moderate Super Moderator

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    Following are some posts in individual threads that might be helpful for other model owners. Click the little quote link icon to jump to the original discussion.

    Added:

     
  3. digitalmunkee

    digitalmunkee Newbie

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    Hi,

    Observations: Loss of screen real estate, current max resolution 1920x1080. No control over screen brightness. key backlights constantly on. NP770Z5E-SE.

    Currently running latest Mobility Radeon and Intel graphics drivers.

    Peter
     
  4. norepinephrine

    norepinephrine Notebook Guru

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    Reinstall the intel driver to gain control over screen brightness again. I updated to 8.1 and it broke my steam games and graphics card. I downloaded the AMD 13.11 update since it listed as compatible, and it works, but barely. I run games at 30 fps now. Also, I have no more graphics control switch on my desktop.
     
  5. Dannemand

    Dannemand Decidedly Moderate Super Moderator

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    Thank you for your input, folks. One thing I forgot to mention originally in the OP: If you can include model numbers when you post findings and solutions, that helps a lot in painting the full picture.
     
  6. cinchocaine

    cinchocaine Notebook Enthusiast

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    My Model (770z5e) does not wake up from sleep. Instead it crashes and restarts. After restart brightness is the lowest and you cannot change it. Then, when you shut down the PC crashes again and restarts. So you have to make a "cold shutdown". This solves the problem until the next sleep. :-(
    I don't understand why this update causes so much pain.
     
  7. norepinephrine

    norepinephrine Notebook Guru

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    I have an NP780Z5E Chronos 7. Update mainly broke my graphics. I'm unable to update to 13.11 AMD Beta v1 for some reason. Does anyone have any tips? I have the latest Intel driver, but when I try to install 13.11 it does not list the driver or the catalyst control center. I also do not have graphics switch anymore.
     
  8. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

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    The suggestions here for the NP940X3G might also apply to other models.

    John
     
  9. ReVaS

    ReVaS Notebook Enthusiast

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    NP370R5E (european model):

    1) FN keys not working (brightness/volume etc.)
    2) AMD catalyst is a total wack right now. (radeon HD 8750) I dont have any options to switch graphics, and i do not know IF they switch at all (have no way to check tho, games (world of warcraft) still run pretty well). Any new driver installation fails (there i no option to install driver, just the install manager update).
    3) SW update is there, but it does not recognize the model. If i select model manually, it just gives me the export option, no auto update.

    other than that i havent noticed anything (but oh well, i had 8.1 for 3 hours, and i have already restored the system 2x of the crashes). AMD catalys uninstall utility crashed my laptop :/ but i guess it was happening with older windows as well.
     
  10. Dannemand

    Dannemand Decidedly Moderate Super Moderator

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    Does anyone know if Microsoft provides a way for existing Win8/Win8Pro users to download 8.1 ISOs for clean install?

    When I bought my Win8 -> Win8Pro upgrade (I got in on the $15 deal in February) the purchase process allowed me to download an ISO. But I don't see that here. I only see the Update option in the Windows Store, which wants to update the running installation.

    I would prefer to clean install it on my test partition first. And in the future, I certainly don't want to re-install Win8, then re-update to 8.1.
     

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