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On The Surface

I have the opportunity to use a Microsoft Surface 3 (S3) tablet computer. My son Steven has shared one with me that was given to him for business construction site use. However, the IT group refused to support the Surface tablet and it was not allowed to use the company VPN connections. I think because it was the first WIN10 PC they had seen and didn’t like the constant auto updates that are out of their control. Company policy is only IT is permitted to provide OS updates. That made the S3 totally useless for use on his construction project work. IT had installed the VPN software, but must have changed their thinking. WIN 10 changes how computers get upgraded in corporate IT.

The S3 computer simply wasted away on a shelf for 16 to 18 months totally unused. Steve didn’t need to lug two PC computers around. He already had a company “approved” standard laptop. The S3 battery went flat and the Operating System (Windows 10) was far out of date with no upgrades. Microsoft made some major changes to the original WIN 10 OS. The newest version is quite different.

There were some damaged system files on the S3 that were preventing me from completing the required OS upgrades. Maybe something IT did to prevent auto updates. The infamous Microsoft BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) was occurring over and over as I attempted to do the upgrade. After extensive internet research on error codes, I determined I would have to totally strip off the original OS and do a bare bones restore /upgrade. It was the Microsoft published recommendation.

I found the software necessary to make and use a USB boot drive on Microsoft Support. About 8 Gig and a complex process of working with the old system to not lose the WIN10 registration to the S3 tablet. Luckily, I had the ability to get what I needed off the S3 machine without getting the BSOD.

I spent more than 24 hours on the OS restoration and now I have a perfectly clean and operating Microsoft S3 Tablet. It’s not the computer or keyboard I am used to operating, but I am getting the feel for the flat keyboard. The rather slow (but low power) 1.6 GHz quad core Atom processor can do the job.

The newer version of the S3 tablet uses a more powerful processor, probably needs more battery and sells for over twice the price of this version 3. I don’t know if that could be justified in my budget. I would have to really like using a tablet PC. The price is what it is, if you want a new version of the Surface. I like S3 so far, as it is a new experience. I don’t think I would want it as my only computer since I have a very nice Desk machine and large screen. The S3 tablet can drive a large screen monitor but without the touch feature.

The S3 is very well built with metal parts and a glass screen. I was also surprised that the keyboard is lighted while typing. The lighting turns off when not being used. An amazing feature in my opinion, for a detachable keyboard.

So many cool little features are present on this computer, I am impressed. I have only been using it for a few hours, so I need to spend a lot more time to really determine how well I will like this machine. There is much more to this machine than first meets the eye. I don’t have the user manual so it’s fun discovering what all is here. I did find one available in PDF on the internet. For example, I literally haven’t scratched the surface in using the pen features.

I have free reign on what applications and programs I want to install on this tablet. I have a multi install (my use) subscription to Office 365. I have installed the full suite on this machine. No problem (as expected). I am using Word to compose this post. I have the Adobe Photo suite subscription and I will load that on here too if the subscription permits. I think it does…

This machine has a 128 GB solid state drive (SSD). Only about 80 GB available for storage. Not a huge amount of memory, but adequate for some nice applications. A small tablet like this is not intended for heavy duty commercial programs.

A tablet like this can take advantage of network and cloud drives for file storage. There is a micro memory card slot on the back of the tablet and up to a 400 GB capacity card can be installed. I ordered a 200 GB micro disk from Cost about $75.00. I can live with that. 400 GB are available if willing to pay the price. I am not, ha! The link to my LAN drive and Cloud servers are working well if needed.

It is not good practice to store data only in a portable computer. Damage and loss are always a possibility. The cloud is probably the most secure storage from hardware failure these days, but doesn’t ensure no one else will have access. I never assume privacy. I just don’t produce anything that I am worried about being discovered or uncovered someday. Most politicians these days seem to be ignorant of these possibilities.

I’ll post more and probably repeat myself as I gain user experience with the S3 tablet computer. It’s fun to use and explore and I will see how it “wears” on me in the longer term. It’s WIN 10 after all, and I have learned to accept the “special needs” of this OS. The entire design of WIN 10 was for this style computer. Microsoft thought tablet touch screen computing was the major future direction of personal computing. I don’t know if they still do… it’s a niche they went overboard to fill. Now I have a chance to find out what it really can do.

Stay tuned…

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