If you consider yourself tech-savvy and have a Surface tablet device, you may have wondered if you can run Linux on Surface Pro 3 tablets.
The answer is: YES, you can.
The guys who maintain the Surface Pro 3.
Ubuntu is a good choice for Linux on Surface Pro 3 tablets because the distro has, IMHO, done a better job of supporting touch than many of the other distros.
Run Linux on Surface Pro 3: Watch The Video
Assuming you have some decent tech skills, the video will teach you how to do the following:
- Partition the Surface Pro 3 SSD
- Install Ubuntu 15.04 and the required drivers.
- Recompile the kernel (because the drivers for Surface Pro 3 don’t work by default)
As you might expect, this isn’t something for a novice to try but, if you feel up to it, the video does a good job of explaining all of the steps.
In case you’re wondering, there are a few things you should do before you try to install Linux on your Surface Pro 3:
- Backup your data (this should be a no-brainer)
- Uninstall all of the apps you can (There’s only so much space on the SP3 drive, after all)
- Make a Recovery USB drive (just in case you want to go back to Windows)
Run Linux on Surface Pro 3: What If I Want To Only Have Linux?
If you decide to completely replace Windows with Linux on the Surface Pro 3, just have the installer wipe the whole drive. The downside is that without Windows, you won’t be able to get firmware updates for your hardware because they are distributed through Windows Update.
This may not be a big deal for you but you need to be aware of that fact, nonetheless.
Run Linux on Surface Pro 3: What about Restoring Windows?
So, what happens if you want to get rid of the Linux partition and reclaim the space for Windows again? You have a couple of options depending on whether or not you kept the Windows partition on the Surface Pro 3:
If you kept a Windows Partition:
- Use the Disk Management Tool to delete the Linux partition then expand the Windows System volume to reclaim the space.
- Use the Disk Management Tool to delete the Linux partition then create a new, separate, volume for Windows to use.
If you didn’t keep a Windows Partition:
- Your only choice is to use the USB Recovery Drive (you did make one, right?) to wipe the partition and re-install Windows from scratch
So, now you know how to install Linux on Surface Pro 3 tablets and also how to go back to Windows – if you want.
Tim Rolston is a professional geek with over 23 years of experience working in Information Technology and dealing with everything from large-scale storage to remote systems management and automation for organizations such as Texas Instruments, Mobil Oil, and the University of Michigan (where he was an Academic IT Director).
He co-founded JTRTech along with Joanna to realize his long-time dream of working for himself.