Thursday, May 2, 2013

Windows 8 - Fifteenth Pass: Setting up the @Surface

Unpacking and setting up my Surface was relatively easy and enjoyable experience. The packaging was well done and the box is worthy of keeping for when the next generation model comes out and you want to pass your current Surface on down the line. It is obvious that Microsoft has learned a few things from other companies that do a great job with packaging.

I also found the packaging to be very durable. I purchased my Surface in Phoenix and didn’t open it until I got home. The box was placed in my checked luggage and flown across the country. It held up well with no signs of wear and tear from airline baggage handlers throwing my suitcase around.

The next step was to setup my account on the Surface and activate it with my Microsoft account, for me that’s an MSN account. I’ll eventually add my Surface to a domain but for now, it just has a local account. This was a bit confusing as I wasn’t sure if I needed to create a local account first and if I did if that would merge with my MSN account or create a duplicate account on my Surface.

Turns out you create your local account and then when you connect it to your Microsoft account it merges them together so you end up with a single, unified account and not multiples or duplicates. Since I already have Windows 8, running on my laptop it didn’t take long before those settings started to populate on my Surface once I connected me new local Surface account with my Microsoft account. Isn’t the cloud great?

Setting up my apps was very easy however; it did not automatically download my apps from my other Windows 8 machine. Rather it listed them in My Apps in the App Store and I had to select the ones I wanted on my Surface. That wasn’t difficult and it’s great that you don’t have to pay for the apps multiple times to use them provided they are all connected through your Microsoft account. Most of my setup challenges came from learning how to navigate the Surface, use the keyboard, and figure out which apps were happening on the touch screen and which apps were happening on the desktop and which apps could do both.

Windows 8 Pro on the Surface activated itself without effort. I would suggest doing that early on in the process otherwise, you get zillions of prompts that are constantly preventing you from continuing and enjoying the setup process.