Three years after the disastrous launch of Windows 8, Microsoft has the success story it so desperately needed in those early days. The Microsoft Surface family of the devices are bold, with distinct design ideas that ooze from any picture taken of them. Better software makes them more palatable then they ever were before. The Surface Pro 3 gave Microsoft the decisive win that it needed to justify its hardware adventures to the world. The Surface Pro 4 is the company’s celebration. It’s a device that improves on its brother in lots of key ways, but is careful not to ruin any of the things that made it special.
Chances are that if you purchased a Windows 2-in-1 running Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system this year, it’s a Surface Pro 4. Here’s some quick tips to get your Surface Pro 4 up and running,
Update Your Surface Pro 4 Immediately
Gotta Be Mobile recently published a Surface Pro 4 review, describing it as the best Windows 2-in-1 available for purchase this holiday season. It is, but that’s only after you load it with software updates designed to fix the many bugs that it launched with. During the setup, be sure to provide your Surface Pro 4 with Wi-Fi so that it can download any of the immediate software updates that it needs. After, go to the Settings app, Update & Security and manually check for more updates.
The Surface Pro 4 can and will download updates automatically, but it’s better to get them as soon as possible. Software and firmware updates fixed a ton of early issues, including display driver failure, lock-ups and problematic app upgrades.
Keep the Surface Pen On the Left
Microsoft made some small mistakes with the Surface Pro 3, despite its status as beloved device. The company bet that users would want a detachable fabric loop to hold their included Surface Pen. There’s no telling how many people loss their Surface Pen by using these loops. Certainly, they weren’t a great idea.
The Surface Pro 4 leaves the loop behind for a magnetic strip that runs the length of the Surface Pro 4’s left edge. Some have said that this magnet isn’t good enough. They think the Surface Pen could fall off in a bag. Three months of use for me have confirmed that this worry isn’t based on reality. The only time that I’ve misplaced the Surface Pen is when I didn’t attach it to the device itself. Stick your Surface Pen to the Surface Pro 4 worry not.
Setup Windows Hello for Surface Pro 4
One of the big feature additions for the Surface Pro 4 is its built-in support for Windows Hello. The feature allows users to ditch their password for a passcode and facial recognition software. The passcode is in the rare case that Windows Hello fails to recognize you. Hit the power button and Windows Hello unlocks your device immediately — provided that it can see you. If it can’t, it’ll stay locked.
Note that you’ll need to install the latest software and firmware updates for your Surface Pro 4 to get this feature running.
Configure Tablet Mode Auto-Switching
Windows 10, Microsoft’s latest operating system, still has two very distinct user experiences. That much hasn’t changed. The difference between it and Windows 8 is in how it stitches these two experiences together. Windows 8.1 kept them mostly separate. Windows 10 holds them together.
The Surface Pro 4 is one of the Windows 2-in-1s that can automatically switch in and out of Tablet Mode when a keyboard is attached. For the best experience, turn this automatic switching on in the Settings app under System. Look for the setting area labeled Tablet Mode.
Buy an Older Cheap Surface Pen
This is less a tip and more of some wise buying advice. In the event that you lose your Surface Pen, pick up an extra to keep around. It doesn’t matter whether you purchase the Surface Pen for $49.99 or the newer Surface Pen for $59.99, they’ll both work just fine. Note that you won’t get the 1024 different levels of sensitivity with the cheaper Surface Pen. Also, the older model doesn’t attach well to the Surface Pro 4.
Customize the Surface Pen
Once you’ve got everything running. Look for the Surface app in your list of installed apps. In that app you can adjust the Surface Pen’s sensitivity and decide what you’d like its button to do when you click on it. By default, it’s configured for OneNote, but you can add screenshots and reminders. It can also launch other Windows Store apps or programs.
Visit the App Store and Download Essentials Apps for Your Surface Pro 4
Note that versions of Microsoft OneNote and Drawboard PDF are available on your device already. Go to Microsoft’s Office website to start a month-long free trial of Microsoft Office 365. You’ll need a subscription to take advantage of the Office apps available in the Windows Store since the Surface Pro 4’s screen is bigger than 10.1-inches. Don’t forget to install the programs that you liked from your old device. Remember, the Surface Pro 4 can install apps from websites and from the Windows Store.
Track Your Surface Pro 4
Once you’ve finished all of your updates, don’t forget to configure your Surface Pro 4’s device tracking. This option lets you track the device from Microsoft’s website in the event that’s it’s ever lost or stolen. To be clear, the Surface doesn’t have built-in GPS, but uses internet connections for tracking. This information is only available to you, Microsoft says.