You just got your new Surface Pro 4 or Surface Book, you’ve turned it on, and paired the pen but now you start wondering “what’s the best way to setup my new Surface, so I don’t have problems down the road?”
OK, maybe you’re not wondering something that specific but you get the idea.
Even if you’ve set up a Surface before, do you know what you should do to setup and configure your new SP4 or Surface Book? How are you going to get the files from your old computer moved over? How are you going to keep it secure and protected from viruses?
Well, have no fear, if you follow the steps outlined below, you’ll have your new Surface up and running, problem-free, in just a short time…
Setup My New Surface: Check for Updated Firmware and Drivers
Even though your Surface came with Windows 10, it’s possible that you don’t have all of the latest drivers and firmware installed. This will be particularly true if you waited a while after the new models were released before getting yours.
However, it’s pretty easy to make sure you have the latest firmware and drivers. Just visit the appropriate link below to download and install them.
- Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Software, Firmware, and Drivers
- Microsoft Surface Book Software, Firmware, and Drivers
It doesn’t matter when you’ve found this article because Microsoft keeps these pages up-to-date with the latest drivers and firmware when they are released.
Setup My New Surface: Transfer Settings and Applications
If you have an older Surface (or other Windows 8.1/10 machine) and you’re using a Microsoft account with OneDrive you may not need to do this step – especially if you’ve only been installing apps from the Windows store. This is because many of your settings will be automatically transferred and software from the Windows Store can be automatically installed when you use it for the first time.
However, if you have an older (Windows XP, Vista, or 7 desktop/laptop), you may want to use Laplink’s PCMover software which you can download free from Microsoft.
This free version of PCMover will move your profile information and data from your old computer to your new Surface, however, it will NOT transfer any installed applications.
If you want your installed applications transferred as well, you can pay $29.95 USD to get a copy of PCMover Professional which will move installed apps from your old computer to your new Surface. Otherwise, you’ll need to reinstall everything on your new Surface manually.
The same goes if you have an older Surface but you have non-Windows Store items installed (Photoshop, GIMP, etcetera).
- For instructions on how to use the software, you can find the PCMover user guide here: PCMover User Guide
- Download the free version of the PCMover software from Microsoft‘s website here: PCMover Personal Edition
Setup My New Surface: Install Anti-Virus, VPN, and Anti-Malware
Even with Windows 10, computer viruses and other security threats are an annoying part of online life. However, with just a little knowledge, it’s not hard to protect yourself and your new Surface.
Microsoft includes Windows Defender that is installed with Windows 10. Unfortunately, Defender does a poor job at detecting or cleaning virus infections. So, you’ll want to get an alternative anti-virus package right away. In addition, it does very little to block other types of malware or cyber-snooping.
To better secure your new Surface, follow these steps:
- Install better Anti-Virus Software: If you don’t already have a favorite anti-virus package, take a look at our Free Antivirus for Surface – 2015 Guide where we suggust a couple of options for you.
- Install Anti-Malware Software: Anti-malware software is different than anti-virus software and you need them both. We recommend you use MalwareBytes on your Surface. It works really well and is highly respected in the industry.
- Install a VPN: You can install a Virtual Private Network (or VPN) if you travel or use public networks. A VPN encrypts all of your network traffic before it goes over the network. This prevents someone on a public WiFi spot from “listening in” on what you’re doing. We highly recommend VyprVPN because it does a great job and there’s a free option if you use less than 500MB/month on the VPN. See our article on safe computing practices on public Wi-FI networks.
Setup My New Surface: Install Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office is almost as ubiquitous as Windows itself. It’s almost impossible to do any sort of “serious” work without Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. So, you’re going to want to make sure you have Microsoft Office installed on your new Surface.
Unfortunately, Microsoft did not include an Office 365 subscription as part of the purchase price for your new SP4 or Surface Book like they did with the Surface 3. However, you can still get Microsoft Office on your new Surface even if you don’t already have a copy.
Here are three options for you to get Office on your new Surface:
- If you had a copy of Office on your old computer and used the PCMover software and you paid for the professional version, the old version you had should be installed on your new Surface.
- If you have an Office 365 subscription, you can go to this web page (you’ll need to log in) and install Office onto your new Surface. Be aware that you will probably need to deactivate the subscription on your old computer to use it on your new one.
- You can go to the Windows Store and download Mobile Excel, Mobile PowerPoint, and Mobile Word for free to your Surface. These versions aren’t “full-featured” but they will do just the basics. But if you are a power-user, you’ll need to go with one of the other two options.
Setup My New Surface: Create a Local Admin Account
Finally, I recommend that you Surface in addition to the account you use day to day.
This way, if something goes wrong with your account, you may be able to fix the problem with the local admin account. Just make sure you use a really secure password and you store the password in a safe place where you can get to it, like Passpack.
If you followed the advice above, your new SP4 or Surface Book should be good to go. Yes, you’ll probably need to do other things, like install additional software or pair up your favorite Bluetooth accessories, but the 5 things above will cover the basics.
Have fun with your new Surface.
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.