On my third Surface Pro 3, /knock wood

Discussion in 'Microsoft' started by Solrax, Dec 2, 2014.

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  1. Solrax

    Solrax Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I'm now on my third Surface Pro 3 (i5/8GB/256). Thank goodness I bought it at a Microsoft Store (and sprung for Microsoft Complete)! Skip to the end for my warnings based on my experience.

    My first was dead out of the box. The salesperson did not offer to do an initial setup (which as it turns out I think she was supposed to). I asked her to take it out of the box and make sure it's OK. She tried to power it on, nothing happened, she said "It must need to charge for 15 minutes". I decided not to wait around. For anyone else who may buy one that was the first WARNING SIGN- they are supposed to come partially charged, and should be able to turn on out of the box. Anyway, I got it home, put on the charger and nothing. Tried all the troubleshooting etc, let it charge a couple of hours, before coming to the conclusion that it was indeed dead. I bought it on a Saturday, so I brought it back to the store to exchange it Sunday. They said it was the first one they'd ever seen dead out of the box.

    BTW, they had asked whether I was a student or was going to use it for home and I told them I'm a software developer - they gave me the 10% educational discount :)

    So I got my second one. I tested the pen and touch in the store, so I was fairly confident in it. I'd been using it most of the month I had to decide to return it or not, when I decided to see how good the microphones on this were (because they totally suck on my Asus VivoNote 8). Nothing. Silence. Again I go through the troubleshooting, rebooting, finally resetting. The microphones were just dead. I had done a full image backup, as well as using File History to save my documents. This was my second mistake. I brought it back to the store and after some amount of troubleshooting of their own they agreed that the microphones were indeed broken.

    So, on to my third. This time I checked the pen, the display, the touch, the cameras, the microphones in the store. I was pleased to discover that this one already had Windows 8.1 installed. Who knows what the first one had, the second still had Windows 8 and I had to upgrade myself. So I got home and went to restore my image with all my installed programs etc. No go, it turns out that the Windows 8.1 system image doesn't just want to restore the working area of the disk, it wants to restore the recovery partitions and it won't do it because they are being used for the recovery itself! I was supposed to have made a bootable 16Gb memory stick or something ridiculous. I had no choice available to just restore the C drive. I didn't WANT to replace the recovery partitions - the ones backed up were Windows 8, the new ones were 8.1 which is what I wanted! So much for a quick recovery. Oh well, I'll restore my documents from File History. There they are, listed in the restore list. But no, they all aren't actually on the disk at all! WTF? Only some of them are present. Luckily I lost nothing important (being a portable machine my important stuff is on One Drive). But really what good is the Image or File History if they don't work for the most basic example of why you'd use them?

    Anyway, so far so good. Before my 30 days were up I also tested the USB 3 port, the mini-display port and the micro SD port.

    So here are my tips and lessons for anyone buying one of these (which I do recommend because I love the thing).

    • Try it out in the store, make sure it works! Try out the pen, camera's, microphones at least. If it doesn't turn on in the store ask for another one.
    • Try out all the other ports at home before your 30 days (or whatever your return window) is up. These apparently have a pretty high defect rate. I've NEVER had a piece of electronics dead out of the box EVER. Nor has any of my laptops or tablets ever had completely dead microphones.
    • Don't use Microsoft's File History or Disk Image to try to get something recoverable. Use a third-party tool. I'm going back to Acronis True Image.
    • I do recommend the Microsoft Store, they gave me no trouble (within the 30 day return) and I don't think I'll have any trouble exchanging it if something else goes wrong.
    • I also recommend Microsoft Complete. Sadly the reliability of these may not be what it should be so this will give you a couple of years of peace of mind. Plus the accidental damage coverage which is useful for portable devices.
    Anyway, that's my experience so far. I do like the thing very much, I even find the keyboard fine much to my surprise. I hope I can learn to trust #3 :)
     
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