The fiercely competitive software giant is positioning its wares for cloud computing with software and services.
Note: Microsoft temporarily halted and then resumed Windows update 8.1 for Surface RT since this article was written.
The issues described here should eventually be resolved, but the commands I highlight are important troubleshooting steps that may be useful, in general, when encountering issues on Windows RT or 8.1 (especially Modern UI problems).
Operating system updates are a necessary evil, like taxes and car MOTs: they can be a real chore, but they're essential for a happy and peaceful life.
You might not care for Windows updates, but they keep you protected, squash nasty bugs and generally keep the OS running as smoothly as possible.
But Microsoft has made great strides in supporting end-user consumers with Xbox, Zune, and other products and platforms.
Before trying to contact Microsoft, I took the following steps: I brought up the charms bar and selected Settings | Change PC settings | Update and recovery, and then applied all the updates there until I was notified that none remained.
After finding myself in the same situation, I turned to my last resort — Microsoft support.
This is a knee-jerk reaction on my part, having worked for years in Microsoft technologies and knowing how difficult it is to get a live person who can actually help resolve an issue.
We're going to cover a lot of ground here for several versions of Windows and a variety of 'stuck' scenarios, so you may have to tweak some of these steps to suit your situation and software.