Turn On Your Surface for the First Time - dummies

Turn On Your Surface for the First Time

By Andy Rathbone

After prying off all the cardboard, peeling off the plastic wrappers, and charging your Microsoft Surface, the fun begins. If you’re near a wireless network, make sure it’s turned on and that you know the network’s name and password. You’ll need to enter those so the Surface can connect with the Internet and download all the updates it missed while hiding in its box.

This setup is nearly identical for all four Surface models, so follow these steps to turn on your Surface for the first time:

  1. Press and release the power button on your Surface’s top-right edge.

    Two or three seconds after you press and release the button, the word Surface appears in white letters on a black screen as your tablet churns its way to life. After a minute or two, it leaves you staring silently at the opening screen called Region and Language.

    If you made a mistake while following any of the next steps, hold down the Surface’s power button for about five seconds until it turns off. Release the power button, wait a second, and then press and release it again to turn on your Surface. When your Surface wakes up, it begins at the opening step, letting you start over.

  2. Tap your preferred language from the list.

    As soon as you tap one of the listed languages, the Next button’s wording changes to that language, letting you follow the menu choices in your native tongue.

  3. Verify your Country/Region, preferred App Language, Keyboard Layout, and Time Zone.

    Your Surface asks you to verify these things:

    • Country or Region

    • App Language

    • Keyboard Layout

    • Time Zone

    The decisions you make here aren’t permanent.

    If you ponder a menu option for more than two minutes, the screen goes blank to preserve battery life. To revive it, touch the Windows key centered beneath your screen. (Or, if you have a keyboard cover attached, tap any key.)

  4. Tap Next.

  5. When the License Terms page appears, read the License Terms agreement and tap the I Accept button.

    Pull up a chair and relax. The Surface agreement is about 6,000 words long.

  6. When the Personalize screen appears, choose your Start screen’s background color, type a name for your Surface into the PC Name box, and tap Next.

    As you tap in different places on the colored strip, the background color changes to match the color beneath your finger. Spot a color you like? Lift your finger to lock that color into place.


    Then, tap inside the PC Name box and type a name for your Surface. If you haven’t attached a keyboard to your Surface, the tablet’s built-in keyboard pops up, letting you type your Surface’s new name.

    The name you choose here will identify your Surface when it connects to networks, either at home, work, or on the Internet. Give every computer a different name so you can tell which one is which.

    After choosing a background color and name for your Surface, tap the Next button.

    After you leave this screen, the subsequent screens all have a backward-pointing arrow in their top-left corner. Tapping a backward-pointing arrow lets you return to the previous screen and change any of your answers.

  7. When the Get Online screen appears, connect to a wireless network, if available, and tap Connect.

    If you’re within range of a wireless network, the Surface lists all the wireless networks it detects. If you spot your wireless network’s name, tap it; when the Connect button appears, tap it. Type your network’s password, if required, and then tap Next.

    If you’re connecting to your home or work network, tap Yes at the screen asking whether you’d like to find PCs, devices, and content on the network. If you’re connecting to a network at a coffee shop or other public place, then tap No at that screen.

    Not within range of a network? Don’t know the password? Then escape by tapping the words Skip This Step.


  8. When the Settings screen appears, tap the Use Express Settings button.

    The Express Settings provide a good mix of security while preserving your privacy. If you prefer to personalize your settings, however, tap the Customize button.

    The Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 run a different version of Windows than do the Surface RT and Surface 2, so their wording differs slightly on this screen.


  9. If you successfully connected with the Internet in Step 7, type your Microsoft account e-mail address. If you didn’t connect, create a Local account and type a name and password.

    At this point, your path diverges depending on whether you were able to connect with the Internet in Step 5.

    • If you connected with the Internet and you already have a Microsoft account — an e-mail address you use to visit Microsoft services like Hotmail, Messenger, OneDrive (formerly called SkyDrive), Windows Phone, Xbox LIVE, or Outlook.com — type your Microsoft account’s e-mail address into the white box. Type your password into the box beneath it. Then move to the next steps to verify your security information.


    • If you connected with the Internet but don’t have a Microsoft account, tap the words Create a New Account. The setup program then walks you through the necessary steps to transform your favorite e-mail address into a Microsoft account.

    • If you connected with the Internet but don’t want a Microsoft account, tap the words Create a New Account. On the next screen, tap the words Sign In without a Microsoft Account. Then create a Local account by typing your first name, a password, and a password hint.

    • Couldn’t connect with the Internet? Then create a Local account by typing your first name, a password, and a password hint.

No matter which path you take in Step 9, you tap the word Finish and then end up staring at the Windows Start screen. Welcome!