Microsoft Surface RT exchange process and experiences

Posted: January 22, 2013 in Information, Surface RT
Tags: , , , ,

My daughter dropped her brand new Surface tablet from a height of about 2 feet (from her lap while sitting). Somehow it managed to land in an orientation that wasn’t one of the 72 tested by Microsoft and managed to smash the glass in one corner of the screen. This happened about 3 hours after it was opened on Christmas day and was disappointing for several reasons, one of which was the significant points that had been made about how strong the tablet was supposed to be.

Anyway, long story short, we had several other issues with touch covers splitting and Microsoft agreed to exchange the tablet at no charge. Greatly appreciated.

It still took about 2 weeks to go through the process of organising the exchange. The tablet was still useable, however two weeks means there was now content that needed to be backed up and transferred to the new device. There were three different users profiles and various photos and documents that we wanted to save.

To backup the existing device, I used the “Easy Transfer” utility and saved it to a network location. I’m quite familiar with this as I use the USMT tool quite a lot as part of the OS Deployment work I do for a living. How it would behave regarding Windows 8 RT was something I was curious to see.

The good news, all profiles restored, photos, data etc, however there are a few items of frustration that need to be kept in mind that still need to be done manually

  • Apps are not auto installed. From the Store though you can open “Your Apps” to see which ones need to be downloaded again. Not a huge issue but it would be great if it captured a list of the apps that were already installed and gave you the option to reapply them without needing to pick and choose them individually again
  • The Mail app settings aren’t saved. Need to reconfigure the mail profile all over again
  • Have to sit through the “welcome” setup and animation stuff again even for profiles that were restored. Annoying
  • Picture password isn’t kept and needs to be reconfigured. I did expect this might be the case as this doesn’t sync across devices anyway
  • Location settings don’t seem to roam or restore. e.g. Location setting for Weather
  • If you removed some of the default apps from the Start screen (e.g. Travel, Sport, Finance) then they are all back again after the restore and need to be cleaned up again
  • Family Safety needs to be enabled on each childs profile again. I had thought this might have been restored automatically
  • No game progress from Apps is captured by Easy Transfer at all. If a game doesn’t use cloud storage of some kind to record your progress will be reset

The biggest drama with resetting or getting a new Surface device is the updates. Already there are so many to apply, and don’t forget the need to re-apply the Office RTM and Firmware updates as well. All up this takes HOURS! Not really a good “Out of Box” experience. I actually have a WSUS server at home, and had hoped I’d be able to use that to manage updates on the two Surface tablets we now have, but nope, Windows RT will *only* do updates direct from Microsoft. So that means several hundred MB’s of download over my internet connection x 2.

Other comments and observation:

  • I’m wondering how well the power cord will last. Apart from being a bit fiddly to attach, the only way to remove it is to tug on the wire. This has already created a permanent bend (not badly) in the wire at the point of the connector itself. I wonder if this will be a point of fatigue in the long run?
  • One issue I logged with Microsoft was about a “light tingle” that can be felt when you brush your fingers against the back of the surface while it is connected to the power supply. You can also feel it if you touch a person who is holding the tablet when it is connected to power. Needless to say, at first Microsoft seemed to express significant concern about this report, however eventually came back to say it was “normal”. More on that here:
  • Amazingly enough I am finding my typing speed using the touch cover is nearly the same as when using a full size keyboard. I’m absolutely amazed by this. My biggest adjustment was due to the slightly smaller space bar, but other than that I can bash out text at close to full speed
  • We have had both of the touch covers experience the “splitting” near the centre at the point where cover connects to the tablet. One cover was also separating at the bottom corner. Both covers have been replaced without any drama from Microsoft. However…
  • After being replaced one of the new covers started to develop the exact same split within 1/2 and hour of being unboxed! Serious quality control issues here I think
  • In the Microsoft US online store, there is an option to get an extended warranty (for drops and spills) and also an awesome bundle with screen protector, case, hdmi adapter and the aforementioned warranty. apart from the hdmi adapter, none of these items are available from the Australian store. Most disappointing

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