So, you just got your Surface 3 out of the box and turned it on. So…. now what?
In this article, I’m going to give you some basic advice on setting up your new Surface 3. I’ll cover the MINIMUM basic configurations and applications you should consider installing in order to make your Surface 3 a little quicker, more secure, and easier to use.
Don’t worry, it’s not a long list of things and, frankly, you were probably already going to do some of them.
Setup My Surface 3: Setup Backups
OK, before you do anything else, let’s get backups configured on your Surface 3.
Why do this first? Well, honestly it’s because if you don’t do it now, you probably never will. If you don’t know how to setup backups, you can find instructions in this article: Backup My Surface
Keep in mind that if you use a USB drive for your backups then backups can only happen when the USB drive is plugged in. Just get in the habit of doing so, at least once a week. I know it can be a pain but if something ever goes horribly wrong and your Surface dies you will really happy you did it.
If you happen to have a CIFS file share available on your home network (like a NAS or server) I recommend setting the backups to go there. That way, you only have to have that network share connected for the backups to occur. This is a much more convenient option.
Setup My Surface 3: Setup Security
Next, let’s configure your Surface 3 to be more secure. To keep this section simple, I made the bulleted list below. If you need advice or instructions on how to do any of these things, just follow the provided links:
- Picture Password or PIN: You should create a Picture Password or PIN on your Surface 3. This will make it easier for you to log in after sleep or a restart since it’s far simpler to enter a 4 digit number or a draw pattern on the screen than entering a full password.
- Install Anti-Virus Software: Because the Surface 3 runs a full-blown version of Windows 8.x, you’re going to want to install some anti-virus software. Technically, it comes with a built-in anti-virus package (Defender) but, frankly, it’s not that good. You should replace it ASAP.
- Surface 3 in addition to anti-virus software. This will help pickup malware threats that even the best anti-virus may pass over.
- Surface 3.
There are other things you could do to make your Surface 3 more secure but these four things should cover the basics without making it a pain to use.
Oh, in case you’re wondering why having a Picture Password or PIN increases security, it’s because it reduces the temptation for you to do things like turn off the lock screen to avoid the pain of entering a password like “[email protected]” every time you want to use your Surface.
If that happens to be your password, I’ll bet you’re freaking out right now 🙂
How Should I Setup My Surface 3: Useful Apps to Install
Now that you have your backups and security setup to protect you from threats, it’s time to install a few optional utility applications that, I think, every Surface should have installed. Some of these are from the Windows store and some are not.
Again, I provided links to get you started on each:
- Surface 3 from getting bogged down with old crap (hence the name) and slowing down over time. It’s been around for a long time and I always have it on my Surface(s). They have a pay-for version but the free version will do the job just fine.
- TouchMe Gesture Studio: This application will let you setup custom gestures on your Surface 3. This is pretty handy if you want to be able to really take advantage of your Surface 3’s touchscreen.
- AppyMouse: This app creates a virtual touchpad to drive your mouse pointer around the desktop. It is handy because a lot of apps and webpages are still not very touch friendly (though it’s getting better) and you probably won’t always have your keyboard cover with you.
- Surface 3 is missing an optical drive. This program won’t let you directly read CDs or DVDs but it will let you mount an ISO file as if it was in an optical drive which can be pretty useful.
Notice that I’m not recommending things like my favorite Facebook app or alternative web browser. That’s because those things are more of a personal preference and you can figure what personal apps to install.
The settings and apps above are utility or customization apps intended to make your Surface faster or easier to use regardless of what other apps you want to install.
So, that’s the basics. If you’d like more in-depth instructions on setting up your Surface 3, sign up for our free updates and receive our free e-book, Surface Quick Start Guide along with updates on posts and free tips for 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.