How to Set Up Your New Surface RT Tablet

surface rt tablet

Guest post: Lenin VJ Nair works as the chief editor for Blue Bugle technology magazine. He can find him on Twitter and Facebook.

Microsoft (MSFT) has released their own tablet computer last year with Windows RT operating system, known as Surface. It has already become one of the devices to receive a lot of media attention.

This year, Microsoft also released an upgraded version known as Surface Pro. Surface RT runs Windows RT operating system, which is a toned-down version of the desktop Windows 8 OS.

Windows RT works only on ARM-powered tablets, while Windows 8 works on Intel x86 computers (regular PCs and laptops). Here’s the detailed differences.

In this article, let me give you some important tips on setting up a new Surface RT tablet.

1. Your Surface’s Personal Identification Number (PIN)

Your Surface tablet comes with a built-in integration to Microsoft account (earlier known to be Windows Live). In order to unlock the Surface tablet for the first time you have to use your Windows ID and password. Doing this every time you start your tablet is an inconvenience. Hence, Microsoft has given us an option—to create a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to use with your Surface. To create your PIN, go to Charms menu->Settings->Change PC Settings option. Go to the sign in options and create your secure PIN.

2. Use Picture Passwords

Better security can be ensured to your account with the help of picture passwords. These are actual images working as a way to access your tablet. In order to set it up, go to Charms->Settings and Change PC Settings. Go again to User’s sign in options and select the option ‘Picture Password’. Use your own images for this rather than selecting a system-provided image.

3. Set Up Other Color Schemes

In order to change the look of your Surface, you have the option of changing the color scheme altogether. You can select a number of color schemes based on the availability. The color schemes are available at PC settings (as in previous tip)->Personalize. Select a good-looking color scheme that matches your style.

4. Manage Metro Tiles Effeciently

Microsoft has come up with a new user interface language with this version of Windows. It is known as Metro. The UI is characterized by live tiles (rectangular) that update important data in real time. The data may be anything such as new tweets, Facebook updates, news stories, weather, etc. Within RT, you have only the Metro interface, while in Windows 8 regular edition, you can run non-metro applications as well.

Press and hold the tile you want to modify and then you can arrange it as you like. Resize the tiles to make it display more information. If you want to disable information on a tile, go to Charms Settings->Tiles option. Here, tap on ‘Clear’.

You can also group a few tiles into a particular category and name it. In order to do this, pinch-to-zoom out from the tiles display and use a flick downward gesture to open up the context menu associated with the tile group. Here, you can change the name of the group.

5. Update Your OS and Apps

Most probably your Surface comes without the latest operating system updates installed. You have to change that. As soon as you get the tablet, one of the first things you have to do is updating the OS and apps. In order to update the OS, you have to go to Change PC settings option, and select Windows Update. Here, you won’t find the app updates. For that, go to the store app provided with Surface and look for updates for each app that you have installed.

6. App Switching

You can do better multitasking with a new feature known as app switching on Surface. If you do a sliding gesture from the left-hand edge of the tablet, it brings up the multitasking toolbar. From this toolbar, you can open the apps you use frequently. As an alternative, you can go with app switching, in which a sliding gesture from the left edge automatically takes you to the last app you were using. This can immediately improve your multitasking capabilities. To turn this feature on, go to Change PC Settings and turn on App switching option.

7. Integration to Social Networks

Surface RT has great integration to all your social networks – Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. RT comes with a preinstalled app called ‘People’ that can help you set up your important social profiles to work with the tablet. When you are ready to set this up, go to Charms->Settings->Accounts, and add some of your social media profiles.


In order to make your Surface tablet more productive, these tips will come handy. Selecting the tablet with an appropriate style is very important. Surface with RT is a beautiful tablet with amazing new features, and you should take advantage of it in a very good way. The new Windows operating system has a fresh new interface that competes with the well-known interface found in iPhone and Android phones.  This makes Surface RT a truly different tablet.

image via CNET

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