Have Surface RT and Surface 2 been put out to pasture?

Users who were unlucky enough to buy the now-discontinued models report problems – and no support from Microsoft

Have Surface RT and Surface 2 been put out to pasture?
Credit: Thinkstock

News from the Windows RT trenches isn’t good. Customers who bought the Surface RT and Surface 2 – both of which run the not-really-Windows version of Windows called Windows RT 8.1 – have tales of neglect and problems that aren’t being addressed.

This isn’t ancient history. Microsoft discontinued the Surface 2 in January 2015. Or more accurately, two years ago Microsoft declared it wouldn’t be making any more Surface 2 tablets. However, retailers, including Best Buy, continued to sell new Surface 2 tablets for months. If the devices were ever officially discontinued, I can’t find a record of it.

On Sept 15, 2015 – 16 months ago – Microsoft released Windows RT 8.1 Update 3 (KB 3033055) which brought a wannabe Start menu to Surface RT and Surface 2 tablets. Per the feature description:

Windows 8.1 RT Update 3 includes improvements to the Windows desktop experience for Surface RT and Surface 2. With the addition of a familiar and easy-to-use Start menu, you’ll have quick access to your desktop and all your apps, files, and PC settings in one convenient place. The update is free and available through Windows Update for Surface RT or Surface 2 devices that are running Windows RT 8.1 Update.

Some Surface RT and Surface 2 customers, though, complain that Update 3 isn’t available any more.

On Nov. 14, 2016, poster Calvin Teoh on the Microsoft Answers Forum complained:

I reset my Surface RT recently. After resetting, I could not get Windows RT 8.1 Update 3 back like before.

My Windows Update now checking for update forever. I left it open for 24 hours, the process is in infinite loop.

1) I tried the method reset the Windows Update components (Stop services, delete Windows\SoftwareDistribution). It doesn’t work.

2) I check my installed update, I can’t find KB2919442.

3) I can’t download or update any apps from Windows Store too. (wsreset.exe tried)

Teoh got the runaround, which you can see on the Answers Forum –  all 18 pages of it - and has yet to receive an answer. There are similar complaints here and here.

I don’t know of any way to install Update 3 after resetting a Surface RT or Surface 2. If you do, please hit me on AskWoody.