Sync Google calendar with Surface Pro

As we noted in an earlier post, Sync Google Mail/Calendar/Contacts to Surface RT, beginning February 2013, Google announced the end of life for Google Sync and with it end of support for Exchange ActiveSync. The result (as you probably know) is that most people can no longer sync Google calendar with Surface Pro or Surface RT.

This means that there’s really no way to get it working for “normal” Gmail users until Microsoft and Google come to some sort of understanding (or one side gives in and starts using the other’s technology again).

Both Microsoft and Google have released suggested workarounds for the fundamental lack of cooperation between the two tech giants but neither actually allows you to sync the free Google calendar with Surface/Windows 8.

  • The option from Google basically says to use the web interface from a browser
  • Microsoft’s answer is to import your Google Calendar into and stop using Google.

Google Apps for Business or Education

Unlike for the “normal”Google users, Support for users of Google Apps for Business and Google Apps for Education users was to continue. However, for many people using (and paying for) these services, the calendar and contact sync stops working if you update the Mail/Calendar/Contacts app in the Windows store.

But don’t worry if you’ve updated your Surface Pro, I came up with a workaround.

Here is the process to sync Google Apps calendar with Surface Pro (this should also work with Surface RT):

  • Backup your data. If you’re using a Microsoft account to log into your Surface, a lot of your data will be automatically backed up for you but it’s always a good idea to copy all of your data to a USB key, just in case. See my post on How Can I Back up My Surface.
  • Delete your profile:
    • Login with a different account. You will need admin rights. You can find information on how to setup a local Admin account in my post on Microsoft Surface Security.
    • Once logged in with your admin account, swipe in from the right of the screen to bring up the Charms menu.
    • Type in “User” or in the search charm.

    • Select Settings then Remove User Accounts.
    • You will be taken to Desktop mode where you’ll see the Manage Accounts window appear. Select the account you want to delete. In this case, I’m deleting my “Tim Rolston” account.

Sync Google calendar with Surface

    • Select Delete the account.

    • Next, you’ll be asked if you want to keep your files. Select Keep files.

  •  Now you’ll get an “are you sure?” message – you are. Click Delete Account.

  • Recreate your account/profile, see Step 1 in my Microsoft Surface Security post.
  • Reconnect to your Mail, Calendar & Contacts, see Sync Google to Surface RT – the steps are the same.
  • Never, ever update the Mail, Calendar, and People apps from the Windows Store again – or at least for as long as you’re not forced to.

What about Windows 8.1?

There have been some rumors that Windows 8.1 (Coming out in October 2013) will restore Google sync functionality to the Calender and People apps on the Surface. We’ve been able to test a release copy of Windows 8.1 for exactly this functionality and we’re sorry to report the rumors are not true. Windows 8.1 update does not fix the Google Calendar sync problems.


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