Surface Pro Boot Camp - Launch-Day Tips

It's official: The Microsoft Surface Pro will arrive in 7 days.

I have begun compiling a list of useful Boot-Day activities to get the most out of the tablet. The information here ranges from which mouse to purchase to recovering a vital 8GB from the internal SSD. This list is meant to be a composite list - if you have something to add, I'll place it in the main body of this post.

In this post:

Recovering Physical Disk Space

Customizing the Windows Interface

Performance Improvements

Useful Programs

Useful Hardware

Recovering Physical Disk Space

1. Remove the Recovery Partition:

Removing the Recovery Partition should net you about 8 GB of free space. A warning to the wise though - keep your USB key safe. You'll need it to refresh or recover your operating system.

2. Disk Clean-Up

I highly doubt you'll find very much here at this point, but if you hit the Windows Button and type in clean, you should find the disk cleanup manager.

3. Customize Windows 8 Recovery

Type in "Recovery" after you have pressed the start button, and select 'Recovery' under settings. By proceeding to select 'Configure System Restore' and 'Configure' you can set how much space you want to reserve for the automatic system restore.

4. Reduce Recycle Bin Size

Unless you want to regularly keep items in your recycle bin, you can reduce the maximum size of the recycle bin by double clicking the Recycle Bin icon and selecting the 'Recycle Bin Properties' button. Set the size that you would like to be able to keep after you've deleted files.

5. Remove Programs

I personally like to uninstall everything that is installed on a computer and proceed to reinstall only the programs that I use. I highly doubt that there will be much to uninstall, but it couldn't hurt to check.

Customizing the Windows Interface

1. Get the Windows 8 Start Button Back

If you're a Windows 8 hater, but love the Surface Pro, this may be the way for you. Classic Shell has been said to be "the ultimate free tool for bypassing Windows 8's most controversial features." It basically adds the start button back into the desktop while allowing many of the Metro features to be used as well. Note that you will have to customize the app a bit to get exactly what you want out of it.


2. OS X Skin Pack

If you're a Mac OS X fan, you can get the OS X Skin Pack to replicate the interface of OS X on a Windows 8 computer.


Performance Improvements

1. Startup

Hit ctrl-alt-del and open the task manager. Select start-up and disable all the programs you do not wish to start when the computer boots up. This should increase performance on boot and provide a slight boost in performance.

2. Performance Options

Go to your System Properties, and then click the ‘Advanced' tab. You should be able to select what different performance effects you would like to include. I would advise leaving at least 4 GB for the paging file.

Useful Programs

1. Office 365/2013

You should start out with a 30 day free trial of Office 365. I believe that these programs should be your bread and butter of Office on the Surface Pro. They have been optimized for touch and should provide the best experience with Office.

2. AutoDesk Sketchbook Pro

Although I have not personally used the program, Sketchbook Pro has been widely rated as one of the best drawing and sketching apps. If you're going to break-in your new inking pen, you might as well try one this program to see what it can do.

Price: $38


Useful Hardware

1. Microsoft Mouse

When I installed Windows 8, I found a pleasant surprise with my Microsoft Mouse - the ‘Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center'. The program has some nice functionality that includes accessing the Instant Viewer when you click the middle mouse button. You can customize what each button will do in different programs. It has easily become one of my favorite parts about using Windows 8 on my laptop.

1.1 Bluetooth Microsoft Sculpt Mouse

Sculpt mouse appears to be the best all around Bluetooth mouse. It has a touch feature on the middle mouse button that allows for scrolling. There have been some complaints about the middle mouse button not clicking all the time.

Price: $29.99

Link: Microsoft Wedge (Bluetooth)

1.2 Bluetooth Microsoft L2 Mouse

This mouse is a little better than your every day USB mouse. It's Bluetooth, but has the regular wheel. The complaints have been that the 4th button is a bit sensitive and the overall design feels slightly ‘cheap'.

Price: $31.99


1.3 Bluetooth Microsoft Wedge Mouse

Despite having used one of these before, I couldn't really tell you much about it other than it's just a touch mouse. Reviews have been good, but I don't really like the wedge shape personally. It's still worth mentioning.