I have really enjoyed using the Surface RT device. The battery life has been phenomenal and the device itself is rock solid. Everything about the device was done very well. It has a very solid construction and while they could have done a few things differently, overall it really is a great device that looks great too.
I have been using it since the release date over a year ago now. I pre-ordered and got it the day they released. That was great. Nothing better than getting your tech news updates for the day and seeing all of the release info for a device you are holding in your hand.
I remember unboxing it that morning and thinking how impressive the device was, especially coming from Microsoft. I am somewhat of a Microsoft fan boy, but I really didn’t think they had it in them to make a sleek device. Apple has really captured the market with their devices and none of the other hardware manufacturers seem to understand how to make a good looking device. Samsung is probably the closest, but even there the quality tends to be missing, so Microsoft did a great job putting this little device together.
Ok, so it is great device, but…. I had my first issue last week. My wife texted me and said the surface asked her to do a refresh, and then it failed and now it was saying it needed to reboot every hour because Windows was not genuine. Not genuine? It is a Surface device and came with Windows pre-loaded, how can it not be genuine?
I had loaded the 8.1 preview on there as soon as it was available. But I had not yet gone back around to upgrade to the actual 8.1 release. I also have a Surface Pro and I primarily use that unless I am traveling so this has been on the tech to-do list for a while but that keeps taking a back seat to the house to-do list. Especially when the hot water tank leaks all over the floor. I guess they really can’t go 20 years.
Now back to the story. Since that issue a week ago, the surface has been rebooting every hour. That has been an experience in itself, especially at 2 in the morning when there is suddenly a strange orange glow in the room. My wife has been putting up with this “experience” like a champ, if it was me I would probably be throwing the think against the wall. Why? Mostly because I was dumb enough to skip the recovery media creation. Yes, I know, big surprise. A tech guy that didn’t read the manual or bother with recovery media. That never happens to me.
So here I am about to go on a flight to VMware Partner Exchange and the surface, aka plane entertainment is going to reboot every hour. Not really convenient for watching movies, reading books, etc while on the flight even if the thing boots in 10 seconds.
Enter Microsoft Tech support. I finally had to make time tonight to call support and see what could be done for the dummy that didn’t make recovery media. I was pretty much counting on the fact that I have FiOS and this is 2014, so I should be able to download the recovery ISO without the need to plan ahead.
After being on hold for less than 5 minutes, I got a Andy a nice young tech that quickly verified my information and got right to troubleshooting the issue. He asked only a couple questions, caught onto the fact that I knew what I was talking about and then provided the link to the download for the recovery partition. Perfect. 4GB USB stick is formatted FAT32 and I am ready to recover the Surface.
The 3.7GB download is still running, but it should be an easy enough process to get this thing back online and ready for my trip to SF. Good news because the constant reboots might have gotten me an introduction to a sky marshal since I assume it is frowned upon to throw a hard object when in a confined space.
Microsoft support was great and it was really refreshing to get right to a native English speaker with virtually no wait time. And, if this happens to anyone else out-of-warranty like me, they didn’t charge me for the recovery help which is great because really it is my fault that I don’t have it. Andy acknowledged right away that it was a Microsoft issue with their preview (beta) version of Windows RT and the failed refresh and got me taken care of. After this experience I can definitely recommend a Surface to anyone that needs a lightweight long lasting tablet that runs Office.