Applies to

Surface RT, Surface 2, Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3, Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1.


Surface support FAQ

Here are answers to some common questions about using and troubleshooting Surface.


Where can I find detailed information about the new Surface Pro 3?

Get the most out of Surface Pro 3 by learning what’s new and what you can do. Our User Guides are quick reads without sacrificing the details. See Surface User Guides to download yours.

Why isn’t my pen working with Surface Pro 3?

If your Surface Pen doesn’t work when you try to write or when you press the right-click or eraser button, you may need to install the latest Surface and Windows updates. For more info, see Install Surface and Windows updates.

Once the installation is complete, restart Surface and see if the pen works.

If you’re still having trouble with your pen, you may need to replace the battery. To learn more, see Troubleshoot Surface Pen.

If installing the latest updates or replacing the battery doesn’t solve the problem, your pen may need to be replaced. For more info, contact us.

Can I use the pen I got with Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2 with Surface Pro 3?

No, the pens are different and can’t be used interchangeably. This also means that the pen that comes with your Surface Pro 3 can’t be used with your earlier Surface Pro model. For more info, see Using Surface Pen.

How do I get the Windows 8.1 Update?

If you’re using Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1 and you get updates automatically, you don’t have to do anything. Windows Update will download and install the update for you.

To see if you already have the update, look at the upper-right corner of your Start screen. If you see a Search search iconbutton next to your account picture, you have the update.

If you don’t want to wait for the automatic update, see Install the latest Windows 8.1 Update.

I tried to install Windows 8.1 Update, but it failed. How do I get this to work?

Here’s what might be going on, and what you can do about it:

Free up some disk space. Before you install Windows 8.1 Update, make sure you have enough free disk space on your Surface.

You’ll need at least 1 GB of free disk space on your Surface RT or Surface 2. For Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2, you’ll need between 1.7 GB and 2.75 GB of free space, depending on which language packs you have installed.

You may need to move some files to OneDrive, a USB drive, or a microSD card, at least until you finish installing the update. For more info, see Tips to free up disk space.

Get previous updates. If you’re using Windows 8, you’ll need to update to Windows 8.1 first. If you have already installed Windows 8.1, make sure you have all available Windows updates installed, especially KB 2919442. See Install Surface and Windows Updates.

Plug in, stay connected. Have your Surface plugged into a power source during the update, and make sure you have a good Wi-Fi signal (or connect to a wired network.)

How do I set up my email?

The Mail app is your one-stop shop for email on your Surface. The first time you start the Mail app, you’re prompted to set up an account. You can add your Outlook.com, Gmail, AOL, and Yahoo! accounts, and even your work email (Exchange ActiveSync).

Some Surface devices include Outlook 2013 RT, in addition to the Mail app. Learn about your email options in Set up and use email, including everyday email handling, changing account settings, and managing messages and folders. Also check out Troubleshoot email if you run into problems.

What is a Microsoft account?

A Microsoft account is an email address and password that you can use to sign in to your Surface. When you sign in with a Microsoft account, your Surface is connected to the cloud, and the settings, preferences, and apps associated with your account “follow” you to any other Windows 8 or later PC.

A Microsoft account makes it easy to purchase apps, music, videos, and games for your Surface.

Another benefit of using a Microsoft account to sign in is that if you ever forget your password, you can reset it online.

For more information about the benefits of using a Microsoft account, see All about accounts: FAQ.

What if I forgot my password?

There are several ways to reset or retrieve your password, depending on what type of account you set up on Surface. For info, see I forgot my password.

How can I get Microsoft Office on my Surface?

  • Surface Pro: On the Start screen, tap or click Microsoft Office to see your options for getting Microsoft Office 2013 on Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, and Surface Pro 3. You can buy a version of Office 2013 or Office 365, or activate an existing Office 2013 product key, or install a one-month trial version of Office 365. If you buy Office 365, you can install it across multiple computers and devices. For more info, see Install and use Microsoft Office on Surface Pro.
  • Surface 2: You don’t need to do anything, because Office 2013 RT is pre-installed. This includes Office RT versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook. To learn more, see Microsoft Office 2013 RT.
  • Surface RT: Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 RT is pre-installed on Surface RT. This includes Office RT versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. You can also get Outlook when you update from Windows RT to Windows RT 8.1. For more info, see Update Surface from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1.

Do I have the latest updates installed on Surface?

Surface installs updates automatically as they become available through the Windows Update service. You can also check for updates manually. Here’s how:

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Settings.)
Step 2: Tap or click Change PC settings, tap or click Update and recovery, and then tap or click Windows Update.
Step 3: Tap or click Check now.
Step 4: If there are updates available, tap or click View details.
Step 5: Tap or click to select the updates you want to install, and then tap or click Install.
You may need to restart Surface after the updates have been installed.

To find out more, see Install Surface and Windows updates.

You can also check for updates to apps you use from the Windows Store. Learn how in Troubleshoot Windows Store apps on Surface.

What if I can’t connect to Wi-Fi?

If you're having trouble connecting to Wi-Fi, you may need to restart Wi-Fi on Surface or your network hardware. Sometimes fixing the problem is as simple as installing the latest updates for Surface. To get back online quickly, see the solutions in Can’t connect to a wireless network.

How can I extend battery life on Surface? What if the battery won’t charge at all?

There are several ways you can extend battery life—reduce the brightness of your screen, unplug USB devices you aren’t using, or turn off Wi-Fi if you don’t need it for a while. If you have Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2, you can also save your battery by choosing a power-saving power plan. For more info about your Surface battery, see:

If you're having problems charging your Surface, see Surface battery won’t charge.

My Surface doesn’t turn on; how can I fix this?

Whether the issue is with the power supply, the magnetic charging connectors, or just low-battery charge, usually it takes just a little detective work to fix this and get your Surface powered on. For help, see:

What if my Surface Cover isn’t responding, or responds only intermittently?

Sometimes this happens when your keyboard cover isn't aligned quite right with Surface. You may need to detach and reattach the cover a few times until you are sure that you have a good connection. For more info, see Troubleshoot your Surface Cover.

Which devices are compatible with Windows RT 8.1?

Surface 2 and Surface RT are compatible with printers, mice, speakers, and other devices that have the “Designed for Windows RT 8.1” logo. These devices work right out of the box—and you don’t have to install drivers. Some older devices might not work with Windows RT 8.1. To check what's compatible, see the Windows Compatibility Center.

Who can I contact for info about developing apps for the Windows Store?

If you’re a developer interested in designing, developing, and marketing apps for use with Surface through the Windows Store, see Windows Dev Center.

What are my options for getting help with my Surface?

There are several ways you can get help and support for your Surface:

  • Surface support online
    Help is available here on the Surface support site. Find how-to and troubleshooting info that you can browse at your own pace.
  • Surface community forums
    In Surface community forums, you can post questions and get answers from other Surface users.
  • Surface support agents
    Contact us to talk with the experts by phone or chat. Be sure to register your Surface online first and have your Surface product serial number handy. See Find the serial number on Surface or Find the serial number on your Surface Cover.

    Under the standard warranty coverage that comes with your Surface, you get 90 days of technical support for preinstalled software. After your warranty runs out, fees may apply.

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