Annoying, isn’t it? I ran into this problem with an old Windows 7 tablet while performing a full restore of Windows 8. Although the Tablet was made for Windows 7, I was able to install the Windows 8 Consumer Preview when it came out.
The restore seemed to run just fine, but after restart the tablet run into this issue and I was unable to get it to start Windows again.
I knew I had to boot from a bootable USB image, but the tablet wound not use the USB to boot. Normally, you need would restart and get into the BIOS to change the boot device sequence. However, getting into and navigating the BIOS on a tablet without a keyboard is daunting at best.
I tried several button sequences to no avail. For the sake of reference, here’s how you would navigate the BIOS on a touch device without keyboard:
- Windows Key held during boot: BIOS
- Volume Up (up key): Navigate current page options
- Volume Down (down key): Navigate current page options
- Rotation Lock (enter / select key): Select option
- Windows Key [In BIOS] (escape / return / go to exit page)
- Hold Rotation Lock + Volume Up / Volume Down: Navigate tabs/pages
Frustrating enough, I was able to navigate the BIOS, see the boot sequence, but from the Tablet I wasn’t able to change the boot sequence order.
Additionally, there are also a couple of suggestions on how to booth into the recovery partition or connected UBS devices:
- Hold Volume Up to start the System Recovery Partition
- Hold Volume Up + Volume Down to change the booting device sequence
However, in my case, the System Recovery didn’t work (missing Windows files) and neither the combination to change the boot sequence.
Finally, I found out that at the bottom of the BIOS exit page, the available boot devices are listed. The connected USB key devices should be there (make sure the USB device is connected before powering on the tablet).
On that page, you can actually step on the USB device and select it with the Rotation Lock button. Doing this, I was able to force the tablet to boot into the USB device and get the Windows installation going.
I hope this saves you some time and helps you bringing your tablet to life again.