Tips for Installing Desktop Programs on Your Surface

Surface RT and Surface 2 tablets include a traditional Windows desktop, but with one big restriction: They won’t let you install any programs onto the desktop. Instead, Surface RT and Surface 2 tablets are limited to downloads from the Windows Store app.

Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 tablets, by contrast, include a fully functional desktop, just like the one found on desktop PCs. But because your Surface lacks a CD or DVD drive, how do you install a desktop program?

You have several options:

  • Windows Store: When you browse the Windows Store app with a Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2 tablet, many desktop programs appear along with the Store’s list of apps. When looking at a program you want, tap the Go to Publisher’s website link. The software publisher’s website appears, and you can buy the program if required, download the program, and install it by double-tapping its download icon.

  • Website: Desktop programs not listed in the Windows Store can still be downloaded directly from the Internet, just as in previous versions of Windows.

  • Flash drive: All Surface tablets include a USB port. You can copy or download a program’s installation file onto a flash drive with another computer, and then insert the flash drive into your Surface and install it from there.

  • OneDrive: This online cubby hole works well for swapping files between your Surface and desktop PC. From your desktop PC, copy a program’s installation file to any folder in OneDrive. Then, open the Start screen’s OneDrive app, visit the OneDrive folder, and tap the program’s installation file to install it.

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