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How to Set Up your New Microsoft Surface Tablet



Did you find a new Microsoft Surface Tablet under your Christmas tree? Anxious to get started? You’re not alone. There are many new owners of a Microsoft Surface 2, Surface Pro 2, or Surface Pro this Christmas. Microsoft bills the Surface as a device that’s both ready for work and ready for play and you can certainly do both regardless of the Surface you have. Microsoft also makes it very easy to get set up and running with your new Surface Tablet. But in case you’re looking for some guidance, here’s a quick How To Setup your new Microsoft Surface Tablet.


Read: Microsoft Surface 2 Review: Less Confusing and More Viable

Read: Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Review: Microsoft’s Tablet Becomes a Better Laptop

  1. Once you’ve unboxed your Surface Tablet locate the power connector and plug it in. When the light comes on at the end of the connector you’ll know you have a connection.
  2. If you have a Surface Type or Touch cover connect it to the bottom of your Surface Tablet. Then pop out the kick stand on the back of the Tablet. If you don’t have a Type or Touch cover you’ll still be able to set up your Surface using the onscreen virtual keyboard.
  3. Press and hold the Power button in the upper right corner of your Surface Tablet. You’ll know it has turned on when you feel a slight vibration.
  4. Microsoft Setup is off and running. You’ll next be asked to choose a language. Do so.
  5. Then you will be asked choose a color for your Start Screen. You can change this later, but make your choice here.
  6. Then choose a name for your Surface Tablet.
  7. Then you will be asked to accept the Terms and Conditions and have a chance to read the User Agreement. You need to accept the Terms and Conditions, there’s no negotiating here, so go ahead.
  8. The next step is to connect to your wireless network. Assuming you have a network set up, select your network and enter your password.
  9. You will then be asked if you want to use the default Express Settings for setup. For the sake of getting up and running choose Express Settings. You can always change them later if you decide to.
  10. Next you’ll set up or sign in with your Microsoft Account. If you already have a Microsoft Account enter your credentials. Once you’ve done that you’ll be given the option to change or add to your security info. Once you’ve signed in you’ll be given the option to sync your data, settings, and Apps from any previous Windows 8 PCs you have or own.
  11. If you don’t have a Microsoft Account you’ll be prompted to set one up. To set up a new Microsoft Account enter your email address and choose a password. Once you’ve done this you will be asked to setup or change any of your security info.
  12. If you’d like to set up a Microsoft Account using an email address choose Sign up for a new email address at the bottom of the Sign in to your PC screen. Once you create the new email address and password, you’ll wait for a few seconds and then you’ll be directed to the Start screen.

Essentially, you’re setup and ready to go with your Microsoft Surface Tablet. But let’s take a look at a few other things.

Microsoft Updates

Depending on when your Surface Tablet came off of the assembly line you might need to do some updates to Windows 8.1. This will be a good way to orient yourself to the Start screen gestures.

Screenshot (106)

  1. Swipe in from the right to bring in the Charms menu.
  2. Choose Settings.
  3. Then choose Change PC Settings. On the next screen choose Update and recovery.
  4. You’re now at Update and recovery screen. If you don’t see updates listed as available. Choose Check now. If updates are available you will be presented with the option to View updates. Choose View updates and then choose Install. Depending on how many updates you see available this might take awhile.

Once your Windows 8.1 updates are installed you will need to update the Apps that are included on your Surface Tablet.

Screenshot (107)

  1. Return to the Start screen by pushing the Windows button on the bottom of the Tablet, or by swiping in from the right to access the Charms menu and selecting the Start button.
  2. Find the Store App Tile and tap it to open the Windows Store. Next, swipe in from the right to reveal the Charms Menu. Choose Settings.
  3. In the menu that opens choose App updates. Then choose Check for Updates. If you have App updates available you can choose to install them all or install them one at a time.
  4. Once you’ve updated Windows 8.1 and your Apps you’re set to explore your Surface Tablet.

Read: Microsoft Surface 2 Apps

The Start Screen vs. The Desktop


Using the Windows 8.1 Snap feature: the Desktop on the left, the Start Screen on the right

Regardless of which Microsoft Surface Tablet you own there are two different operating environments. The Metro, or Modern UI, where you see Tiles on the Start screen and the Desktop which is where applications not designed for the Windows 8.1 Modern UI can be installed if you’re a Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2 user. For Surface RT or Surface 2 users the Desktop environment is where the free Microsoft Office 2013 edition applications will run.

For Surface 2 users you will find icons for the Office 2013 applications on the Start Screen.


Once you tap on an Office App icon you’ll be transported to the Desktop to use that App.

Enjoy your Surface Tablet. Below are links to many other articles here on GBM about Surface Tablets.

Other Posts about the Microsoft Surface 2 and Surface RT








1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Akinlabi

    12/25/2013 at 5:50 am

    Thanks for sharing this simple and easy to do tutorial. I find it very useful.

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