Optimize your Surface Pro 3

If you’re interested in this post, it’s probably because you either just got or are thinking about getting a Surface Pro 3 tablet and you’re wondering about how to set it up or what apps you need to optimize it for performance and security.

I have some advice for your to consider to optimize your Surface Pro 3 and ensure you have the best experience possible with your new tablet.

Optimize your Surface Pro 3: Setup backups

Before you get started making all kinds of changes, you need to setup backups. That way, if something goes horribly wrong, you can get back to where you started without losing any data.

Fortunately, we already have a post on how to do that, you can find it HERE

If you don’t want to setup backups for some reason, at least make sure you’re saving your data (documents, pictures, etc.) to your OneDrive. Microsoft recently bumped up the capacity for everyone so you should have plenty of space to do so.

Optimize your Surface Pro 3: Free up space

Another thing you should do is free up as much valuable drive space as possible. This is especially true if you get a 64GB i3 verson.

By moving the recovery partition from the internal drive and storing it on a USB drive, you can free up about 8GB of space. The downside is that you will need to make sure you don’t lose that drive in case you ever need to reload your Surface.

You can find some instructions on doing that in Part 1 of our series on freeing up space on Surface tablets HERE.

Optimize your Surface Pro 3: Install Apps

Ok, now that your Surface is backed up and you have the maximum amount of free drive space, it’s time to start filling it back up with useful apps 😉

Here’s my list of 3 “must have” apps for your Surface Pro 3. One of these apps is not free but it’s not overly expensive and potentially quite useful.

Ccleaner: Ccleaner (formerly known as Crap Cleaner) is a free PC cleaning app. It will go through your machine on demand and remove old temp files, trash files and dead registry entries.

This is really good for freeing up space and speeding up your SP3 a bit, I’ve used it for years and it’s never let me down.

Objectdock: If you use software that causes you to be in desktop mode a lot (like Office) you might want to consider installing Object dock from Stardock. It’s a cool app that let’s you put a customizable dock on your desktop. This let’s you use your touch screen to easily start apps from the dock and it looks cool 😉

You can see a screenshot of my dock below.

There used to be a free version of Objectdock and you can still find it on the CNet site but, it’s a little bit older and who knows how long it will remain.

The new version costs $10 USD and only adds a few features but, if you’re in the desktop a lot it’s worth it.

BitDefender Free Anti-Virus: Last but not least, you’re going to need a good Anti-Virus package since (unlike Windows RT) just about any app can run on your Surface Pro 3. This, unfortunately, includes viruses, spyware, and Trojans… Oh My!!

While Windows 8 comes with Windows Defender, it hasn’t been testing well against other free solutions out there. BitDefender has been around for a while and offers a top rated free solution.

Optimize your Surface Pro 3: Setup a local Administrator account

The last thing I’ll cover in this post is setting up a local account and set it up as your administrator account. This is a good thing to do since it allows you to assign your main account just standard user rights which can help prevent accidental installs of viruses and changes to system settings/files because your Surface will prompt you for a password before letting anything too bad happen.

The only downside is you will occasionally be prompted to enter the admin account information when you are installing software or changing settings but, for the extra protection this arrangement offers, it’s worth the short and rare inconvenience.

You can find instructions for setting up the local account HERE.

After you get the account setup, just follow these steps to reset your day-to-day user account to a standard user…

  • Log out of your user account
  • Log in to the administrator account
  • From the Search Charm look for Users
  • Tap on Add, delete, and manage other users
  • Select your user account
  • Tap Edit
  • Set the account type to Standard User
  • Tap OK

That’s it. You should probably repeat these steps for all of the other user accounts to maximize the security of your Surface tablet.

Hopefully you found this post helpful. I know I didn’t cover everything you could do to optimize your new Surface Pro 3. I also know that you may have your own favorite app or optimization methods. If you do, please feel free to share them in the comments section so others may benefit from your experience.


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