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I downloaded an .iso version of Windows 8.1 from dreamspark (so it's a legit copy). At the moment I have Vista installed on one HDD, and I want to install 8.1 on another.

However when I go to boot from disk, the purple Windows 8 symbol appears, and then the computer proceeds to boot back into vista. Why would this happen? Is windows 8.1 only an upgrade perhaps?

edit I've just noticed this error message appears for a split second before it boots to Vista: enter image description here

  • This sounds like a driver problem. There is no reason you should be unable to install Windows 8.1 – Ramhound Dec 26 '13 at 1:28
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You could say this is the equivalent of your old school BSOD. However, the error code: 0x000000C4 indicates the possibility of this ISO being: 1) upgrade only installation. 2) You're trying to install this in a virtual environment.

Either case you need a stand-alone retail or OEM(difficult to find) copy of Windows 8.1 and license key. Even if you didn't run into issues like your error message, the license key/activation process will make you tear your hear out.

Last but not least possibility, this error code could also represent an outdated BIOS or storage controller driver. Flashing/updating the bios from your Vista installation could do the trick.

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I have received this same error before when building a Windows 8.1 virtual machine. In that instance this was caused by me having created the VM hardware as 32 bit and was trying to install 64 bit Windows 8.1 on it.

I would suggest that you are maybe trying to do the same. If your hardware is 32 bit, make sure you are using the 32bit ISO for Windows 8.1

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