Windows won't boot after its gone hibernating or expired Windows 10 upgrade preview or can't verify winload.exe or Secure Boot or UEFI corruption? Here's our story. Its one of pain.

We use Windows when we have to. There I said it but why you ask? builds websites and people use browsers they like. The big ones are Chrome, Firefox, Safari and IE/Edge. How do you test a browser that is only available on a proprietary platform? You suffer and use that platform (ideally natively or virtual machine) to check your work then go to confession on Sunday.

Our Windows test vehicle is the original Surface Pro 1 that shipped with the revolutionary OS Windows 8. Remember that charmer? Microsoft wishes you didn't, sorta like ME and Vista, Windows Phone, etc. Sorta like the Star Wars Wookie X-mas special.

Wait, there was a mandatory upgrade to 8.1...

Install Ubuntu 16.04 dual booting with grub, right on!

Wait - mandatory upgrade to Windows 10 (with special preview sauce!)...

Ooh, but look Microsoft ♥'s Ubuntu, run bash on Windows Subsystem for Linux! But it sucks and insecure...

Lets run some more Microsoft updates...

Broken grub loader for dual booting, what? Boot-repair to the rescue!

Threat: You must reactivate this Windows 10 preview now that Windows 10 is official out (wtf?).

Time passes. Boot to Windows:

File: \Windows\system32\winload.exe
Status: 0xc0000428
Info: Windows cannot verify the digital signature for this file

Um, ok. Lets get into Ubuntu and see what the Windows partition looks like...

This is in use: hibernation mode (wtf?). Tried several AskUbuntu and Its FOSS tricks = now partition isn't read only but boot loop continues...

Lets download recovery from MS's site. Enter Surface ID #; download huge file that maxes out at 3KBpS, takes forever. Must use specific OS Windows Recovery Boot image compiler within Windows. Great. I have a boot loop, stupid.

More MS Help: Just use your recovery install CD if above fails. Hello this is 2016! Discs haven't been used for 5 years in most places and the Surface Pro is TABLET without a CD drive of any kind!!!

Lets download; must use FAT32 USB live CD but 16 GB USB won't complete the required mount because ZIP is too large for required FAT32 partition formatting at 7.52 GB's, what!?

Try ext4, nfts, others with electron app Etcher. USB not recognized at boot. Same not recognized boot loop death screen. MS says press up on volume. MS says press down on volume. Nothing, nill, nada. Grub still ok. Linux still ok. Maybe its the USB itself? Try a live MATE USB, loads perfectly(?). At this point after about 8 hours: Fuck You Microsoft!

Its time to go nuclear. Download Win8.1_English_x64.iso from hidden support help pages. Threatens key will be required. But keys are not on stickers anymore they are digital only inside the partition. Cross fingers.

Use UNetBootin with stupid MS iso. Freezes at 24% for a loooooooooong time (on Ubuntu MATE 16.10). Then jumps up, then finishes. Plug into Surface.

Red screen with black Surface text (meaning secure boot has been modified; Grub installed) appears to freeze up but no boot loop. Tiny Windows 8 recovery prompt listing partition.

Delete them all and reinstall on first partition 0. Installs.

Windows 8 boots. Asks to set up. Ok wants to install updates. Ok. Now Windows 8.1. Done right because Windows 10 free update is over...

Go to get Windows 10 Free Upgrade for Assistant Technology users. Download 5MB exe file. Start install, two hours later 92%. Will I still have grub when finished? Only time will tell.

UPDATE: Next day after 14 hours; 99%; go to work. Come home. Still 99%.

UPDATE II: Next day discover this nonsense: which is only supposed to happen from Windows 7(?).

A Windows buddy happened to have a Windows 10.iso file on him so I on a whim put it into the machine and rebooted. Got the cyan-colored tiled "What do you want to do" thing after running the super-tiny partition installer (which only ran for about one minute).

Choose to reboot. Back to installer, !@#$%^&*!!!! Remove borrowed iso, boot (to see if Grub was back) - and then - WELCOME TO WINDOWS 10.

So. Stupid. I guess the free < 100% assistant technologies upgrade worked but needed a live iso and a ball gag to push it over to completion.

Set up dumb Windows stuff.

No grub, no bootloader options. Rerun boot-repair-disk. BOOM LINUX IS BACK BABY!

But its now encrypted?!?!?! This is a known irritating bug but at least everything was not lost.

And if those great people at Microsoft are wondering they owe me at the very minimum of $2,880.00 for their continually bad and conflicting information on their Fix-it-Not support pages and the time I spent fixing a broken OS (the Microsoft one). And also, no body likes the floating "how can we improve" div's either (but pop-ups that remove user control of the screen space is good for users, aka Five Eyes mentality).

For the love of god, if you need help with your Windows machines (and you don't want to upgrade to Linux) please do not call us! J/K. We can help there too but it'll cost you. Anything can be done with enough blood and treasure.

About the Writer
Chris Lessley
Author: Chris Lessley
A server admin, dev ops warrior and website designer since 2002, Chris is a lover of all things Linux and open-source! Each blog topic has been tested by fire in the real world and shared with the hope to help others. Need more help? Hire me! Chris' other interests include fine art and the humanities in the classical tradition and can be found writing for our friends over at If you like this content, kindly consider donating to keep this website free to all, without ads.

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