Applies to

Surface 2 (4G), Windows RT 8.1.

Set up your Surface 2: mobile broadband (4G)

Ready to set up your new Surface? Grab it and let’s go!

Set up Surface

Step 1:  If you have one, attach a cover to your Surface. It clicks into place.
Attaching a Cover to Surface
Step 2:  Flip out the kickstand on the back of Surface.
Step 3:  Plug the power cord into an electrical outlet or power strip.
(Connect the plug to the power supply if needed).
Step 4:  Connect the power connector to the charging port on Surface.
The connector clicks into place (either direction works). When the small light at the end of the connector is lit, it means Surface is getting power.
Step 5:  If your Surface did not come with a preinstalled SIM card, install one.
Step 6:  Along the left side of Surface, press and release the SIM card tray with your fingernail to eject it.
Step 7:  Align the notch on your SIM card with the notch in the SIM card tray.
SIM card and SIM card tray
Step 8:  Push the tray back into place using your fingernail. Don’t force the SIM tray into place; it should slide in easily.
light on power supply cord
Step 9:  Press and release the power button (on the top right edge of Surface).
Surface turns on and Windows setup begins.

Set up Windows

Windows setup runs the first time you turn on Surface. Here’s what you need to do next:

Choose a language, colour and name for Surface

Choose a language, colour and name for your Surface. You can change these things later if you want. You will also need to accept the Licence terms to continue.

Connect to a network

Even though some Surface 2 models are designed to use mobile broadband Internet access in addition to Wi-Fi, you should connect to a Wi-Fi network first to complete the set up process. Wi-Fi is typically faster and less expensive than using a mobile broadband connection. If you have an active data plan, you can complete setup over a mobile broadband connection, but you will use data from your plan and could run up extra charges. If you need help connecting to a Wi-Fi network, see Can’t connect to a wireless network.

Step 1:  On the Get online screen, under Wi-Fi, tap a wireless network name.
Step 2:  If prompted, type your wireless network password and then tap Connect. If you don’t know your password, see How to find your wireless network password.
If you can’t connect to your wireless network or mobile broadband, tap Skip this step and follow the steps on the screen to set up to a local account. You can connect to a Microsoft account later by following the steps in Switch a local account to a Microsoft Account.

If you choose to use mobile broadband to complete setup, you’ll need to have an active data plan associated with your SIM card. If you are unsure, contact the mobile operator to check. To connect:

Step 1:  On the Get online screen, under Mobile broadband, tap or click a mobile broadband network name.
Step 2:  If prompted, type your SIM card PIN and then tap Connect. If you don’t know your PIN, contact the mobile operator.

If you don’t have an active SIM card and try to connect to a mobile broadband network during setup, you will be prompted to enter mobile account information. Tap or click the back arrow to return to the list of networks and select a Wi-Fi network to continue.

Choose your default settings

On the Settings screen, tap Use express settings to use the default settings or tap Customise to choose your settings. You can always change these settings later.

Create an account on Surface and sign in

For the best, cloud-connected experience, we recommend using a Microsoft account—an email address and password. When you use your Microsoft account to sign in to your Surface, you'll get free online storage, mobile entertainment, tons of apps in the Windows Store, and connecting your devices and accounts seamlessly.

Not sure if you have a Microsoft account? A Microsoft account is the email address and password that you use to sign in to Microsoft services like, OneDrive, Xbox or your Windows Phone. If you've used these services, then you already have a Microsoft account. Use your Microsoft account (email and password) to sign in to your Surface.

You have more than one Microsoft account? If you have more than one Microsoft account, you’ll need to choose one for your Surface. To figure out which Microsoft account to use, see Choose a Microsoft account (English only).

Got all that? Now, let’s create an account on Surface and sign in.

If you already have a Microsoft account

Great! Follow these steps:

Step 1:  Type the email address for your Microsoft account and then tap Next.
Step 2:  Enter the password for your Microsoft account, tap Next, and then follow the instructions to add or change your security info.
If you've forgotten your Microsoft account password, go to and click Can’t access your account?

If you don’t have a Microsoft account

No problem. Setup can create a Microsoft account for you using an existing email address, or you can create a new email address.

To create a Microsoft account using an existing email address:

Step 1:  Enter your favourite email address, and tap Next.
Step 2:  Enter a new password for your Microsoft account, tap Next, and then follow the instructions to add or change your security info.

To create a Microsoft account using a new email address:

Step 1:  Tap Sign up for a new email address at the bottom of the Sign in to your PC screen.
Step 2:  Choose an email address, enter the info needed to create your Microsoft account, and then tap Next.
Step 3:  Add security verification info and then tap Next.
It will take a moment for Surface to set up. Once set up completes, you'll be taken to the Start screen.

If you already have a PC or Surface with Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1, you can apply the settings you use on it to your new Surface by simply signing in using the same Microsoft account. See Sync settings between PCs with OneDrive for more information.

Set up your mobile broadband connection

Now that you’re through the basic setup process, let’s set up your mobile broadband connection. First, make sure the SIM card is installed in your Surface. All set? Next:

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, then click Settings.)
Step 2:  Tap or click the wireless network icon Wireless network icon.
Step 3:  Make sure Mobile broadband is switched to On.
Step 4:  Under Mobile broadband, tap or click the name of your mobile operator.
Step 5:  If you want to connect to this network every time it's in range, choose Connect automatically.
Windows will automatically switch from Wi-Fi to mobile broadband as needed. You might incur extra charges if you allow roaming.
Step 6:  Tap or click Connect.
If you don’t have an active data plan, you may be directed to an operator app or website for steps to set one up.
If you have an AT&T SIM and you don’t have an active data plan, the AT&T AllAccess app will launch, and you can activate a data plan there.

OneDrive options

If this is your first time setting up a PC or Surface with Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1, you'll see the new OneDrive options. See the Using OneDrive on Surface for more info about how this cloud storage system works. If you click Next, your Surface will use these default OneDrive settings:

  • Photos you take with your Surface are saved to your camera roll folder, and a smaller copy of each photo is automatically backed up to your OneDrive.
  • When you create a new document, the default save location is OneDrive. But you can always choose to save individual documents locally or on another drive.
  • Windows will save a backup copy of your Surface settings to OneDrive. If something ever happens to your Surface and you need to replace it, your settings are saved in the cloud and you can transfer them to a new Surface instantly.

You can change any of these settings later in Change PC settings. If you'd prefer to turn off all of these settings now, tap or click Turn off these OneDrive settings (not recommended).

  • If you already have a PC running Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1, and you chose to sync settings on that PC and have signed into your Surface using the same Microsoft account, then your OneDrive settings will also sync from your existing PC to your Surface, and you might not see the options screen.
  • Syncing or sending data across a mobile broadband connection could result in extra charges. For more info, see Manage your mobile broadband data use.

Great! You're all done! Ready to explore?

To learn more about what you can do with your Surface, see Get started with Surface RT or Surface 2.