How to Install Windows RT 8.1 on the Surface RT

how to install windows 8.1 rt on the surface rt 

About a week ago, Windows 8.1 RTM leaked onto the web. This is suspected to be the final version which will come in an update not too long from now. However, you may not be patient enough to wait so it’s very likely you’re going to want to upgrade your Surface RT to this leaked version which is currently making the rounds on the internet.

Upgrading to Windows 8.1 RTM is a tricky affair and it brings with it a risk of sorts. In fact, you can brick your Surface RT if you do not follow the process correctly. We hold absolutely no responsibility for these bricked devices. Proceed at your own risk.

Also, for this to be possible, you need another computer/workmachine running Windows 8 or 8.1 for driver integration and product key authentication.

How to Install Windows 8.1 RTM

1. On your work machine, download the RTM package using a BitTorrent client. The magnet link to the ISO is provided here: magnet:?xt=urn:btih:D40A31912E9C1227826397B208228EFF3839802D. This torrent also contains the required drivers which will be needed for integration. Once you have downloaded the torrent, extract the drivers into an easy to find folder i.e.  your desktop.

2. Navigate to your C drive and create a new folder. Rename it to ‘test’.

3. Mount the RTM package ISO to your system. Double clicking it will give you the option to do this.

4. Connect a USB stick with 4GB or more to your Surface.

5. Hit the Start button on your Surface and type ‘regedit’ and hit Enter.

6. Navigate to this directory in your registry:  HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion. Once here, save this to your documents folder. Do this by hitting file > export and name it ‘registration’.

7. You only need two keys: ‘DigitalProductId’ and another called ‘DigitalProductId4’. Select both of these in a text editor and cut them (Ctrl + X). Press Enter after the third line from the top of the file and paste the keys. After this, select everything from the top of the file to the end of the ‘DigitalProductId4’ key and cut it again. Finally, select all (Ctrl + A) and paste only what’s required.

8. Copy this file to the USB stick and then connect it to your work machine.

9. Do the exact same thing on your work machine to back up your work machine product key.

10. Launch the registration.reg file on your USB key to import the Surface RT product key onto your work machine.

11. Download Ultimate PID Checker to your work machine, extract the file and run the program. The link has a screen shot. In the screenshot, you see the Windows logo button next to the ‘Go’ button. Click it and take the install key. This will be required to legally activate your copy of Windows RT 8.1.

12. Copy the files in the mounted ISO to the USB stick.

13. Inline the Surface drivers with boot.win and install.wim files by launching these commands sequentially. Assume X to be the drive letter for the USB stick you’ve plugged into the work machine and [DRIVERSPATH] to be the path you extracted the Surface 8.1 drivers to. Be sure to put quotes around “[DRIVERSPATH]”.

- Dism /Mount-Image /ImageFile:X:\sources\boot.wim /Index:2 /MountDir:C:\test\
- Dism /Image:C:\test\ /Add-Driver /Driver:”[DRIVERSPATH]”
- Dism /Unmount-Image /MountDir:C:\test\ /Commit
- Dism /Mount-Image /ImageFile:X:\sources\install.wim /Index:1 /MountDir:C:\test\
- Dism /Image:C:\test\ /Add-Driver /Driver:”[DRIVERSPATH]”
- Dism /Unmount-Image /MountDir:C:\test\ /Commit

14. Take the USB stick from your work machine and plug it into your Surface. Once here, double click the ISO setup file.

15. Skip the updates as this will prevent you from using the key in the next step.

16. Use this product key: NK2V7-9DWXG-KMTWQ-K9H9M-6VHPJ

17. Select the option to ‘Keep your personal files’.

18. This installation will take half an hour and the Surface RT will reboot repeatedly.

19. Hit ‘Customize’ to let it take you through your options. It will let you log in to your main account and re-obtain your settings.

20. Bring up Windows 8.1 Charms (WinKey + C) and select the ‘settings’ cog. After this, select ‘PC settings’ and then hit ‘Activate Windows’. Type in the product key you wrote down from Ultimate PID checker which should be activated after around 1 minute.

21. On your work machine, go to the documents folder and launch registration.reg to return to your old registry settings.

22.  To verify your Windows, hit the windows icon in Ultimate PID checker and make sure it does not say Windows Core ARM.

This is a very involved process and you’ll need to have a fairly high level of tech know-how to do it properly. So, with that said, let us know if you’ll be trying your hand at installing Windows RT 8.1.

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