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Surface's General Settings Tab

Although this section of Surface's settings area sounds the most boring, you just might spend most of your time here. Here are a few gems, as well as a few misleading items:

  • Touch keyboard: The settings offered here apply only to the onscreen keyboard. Unfortunately, the settings don’t apply to the Touch or Type keyboards.

  • Screen: The Surface normally adjusts the screen’s brightness automatically, dimming the screen at night and brightening it when you step outside. But if the constant dimming/brightening drives you batty, tap the Adjust My Screen Brightness Automatically toggle to turn it off. You can still adjust the screen brightness manually by tapping the Screen icon in the Settings pane. Keeping the brightness low preserves battery life.

  • Language: Bilingual Surface owners can tap this to head straight to the Language area of the Desktop app’s Control Panel. There, you can choose from keyboard layouts popular in other countries.

  • Available storage: If you’re running out of storage space, tap this to see a list of apps, sorted with the largest ones at the top. Delete the biggest hogs to regain some space. (Apps can’t be stored on your memory card, unfortunately.)

This section’s last three options, Refresh, Remove Everything, and Advanced Startup, cover Troubleshooting solutions in more detail:

  • Refresh: When your Surface isn’t working correctly, you can tell it to reinstall its operating system, but save your files.

  • Remove Everything: This last-resort option wipes your Surface completely clean, removing everything. When it wakes back up, it behaves like it was just removed from its shiny new box.

  • Advanced Startup: The Troubleshoot screen lets you Refresh or Reset your Surface. But before trying those, tap Advanced Options and then tap Automatic Repair.

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