ACPI_BIOS_ERROR on installing Windows 8

Problem

I had a new notebook computer with no operating system installed on it. I had a Windows 8 license and a Windows 8 ISO which I wanted to use to install on this notebook. I prepared a Windows installer USB thumbdrive using the ISO and booted the notebook from it.

The computer would throw this error and keep restarting:

Your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart.
If you'd like to know more you can search online later for this error: ACPI_BIOS_ERROR

Solution

Searching online for this error, I found that this occurred to most people when they were updating or upgrading. Mine was neither, I was installing on a fresh computer. In any case, their solutions were either inapplicable or did not work.

While looking up solutions for this error, I discovered that I could use my Windows 8 license to install the newer Windows 10. I decided to give this a try, since Windows 10 ISO is easily available for download here. I made a Windows installer USB thumbdrive and surprise, it booted up normally and I was able to install Windows 10 Pro without any further problems!

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How to block Windows Update from updating drivers

Controlling what is updated in Windows Update has gotten harder in Windows 10. Drivers for your hardware are automatically installed when you update Windows now. In earlier Windows, you got a chance to cherry pick the updates and mark some updates to never be done. Those choices are gone now! (You can uninstall an update. That is not a great solution when your driver update has made it impossible for your Windows to boot!)

Automatic driver update is a good feature for almost everyone, except those who have NVIDIA graphics cards. Graphics drivers are notorious for being buggy. You almost never want to get the driver from Windows Update for your NVIDIA graphics card. You should always get it from the NVIDIA website itself.

There is a solution to this: block Windows 10 from installing drivers when it does Windows Update.

To do this, open Control Panel and go to System -> Advanced System Settings -> Hardware -> Device Installation Settings. Here choose to never update drivers through Windows Update.

Windows booting to black screen

Problem

I upgraded a notebook with Windows 7 to Windows 10. It was working fine. I did a Windows Update and noticed that it installed an updated NVIDIA graphics driver. After a restart, Windows would boot only to a black screen. The mouse cursor would be visible and could be moved, but nothing else was displayed on the black screen.

Solution

Solution that did not work: Many online solutions advise to press Space and enter password, just as if logging in blind. This did nothing on my notebook.

Solution that worked: The solution provided by Microsoft here worked for me with some changes:

  • Download the Windows 10 ISO from here.

  • Create a bootable USB stick from this ISO. I used WinUSB as described here to create this in Ubuntu.

  • Boot the computer using USB stick. Go to Repair your computer -> Troubleshoot -> Advanced Options. I did not get the Restart option given in the above guide. Instead I chose to restore from an earlier recovery point, which thankfully was present.

  • Windows 10 was restored back to the time before the update.

  • To prevent such problems in future, I disabled Windows from updating my hardware drivers as described here.