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Going Pro: Day One with Surface Pro

Going Pro: Day One with Surface Pro

In the first article in a new series, a quick look at the initial setup

My Surface with Windows 8 Pro tablet arrived with a ton of accessories about two weeks ago. As I had previously revealed, my intention was to move to using this device as my sole PC going forward, and this new series of posts will document this transition.

Note: Check out Microsoft Surface with Windows 8 Pro Unboxing for a look at the complete set up I received on loan from Microsoft. I’ll be replacing this with my own Surface Pro when the loan period expires.

Day one is pretty basic and is all about the initial configuration. As I always do with a new Windows 8 PC or device, the first step was to turn on Surface Pro and navigate through the short out of box experience (OOBE), supplying my Microsoft account for sign-in and receiving the familiar customized environment I get elsewhere as well.

I spent a bit of time customizing the Start screen, which I find more relevant on tablets than traditional PCs, and I use the same layout across my devices, which you can see here:

There are a few unique bits to the default software install on Surface Pro. First, it comes with the Skype Metro-style app. I have no problem with this, per se, but I will soon be installing the desktop version, which I prefer.

Surface Pro also comes with a trial version of Office 365 Home Premium, which provides 30 days of access and installable versions of the new desktop suite. Since I’m separately reviewing and writing about Office 2013, however, I installed this software from my own Office 365 Home Premium account, which was previously set up.

Unique to this install, too, is the inclusion of the SkyDrive desktop application, which you’d normally acquire with Windows Essentials. As is the case when you install that suite of applications, SkyDrive quickly updates itself to a newer version, and then I signed in and configured it to sync the entire contents of my SkyDrive storage to the device. (On other devices I’ve configured it to sync only some parts of SkyDrive, but since the Surface Pro has 128 GB of solid storage, what the heck.)

Initial SkyDrive sync takes a while, but there’s no reason to wait. The next step, as always, is to visit the “Always install apps” share on my home server and install the handful of local applications I still use (Photoshop Elements and a few others) and then download and install applications like Skype, Chrome, and Windows Essentials 2012 from the web.

While I was doing all this, the Plugable UD-3000 USB 3.0 Universal Docking Station I ordered from Amazon arrived. But that’s the topic for an upcoming article: Physically replacing my desktop tower with Surface Pro using this interesting accessory. First, however, I have a report about my first experience on the go with Surface Pro.

See you tomorrow. :)

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