1. peter leung 10586's Avatar
    I performed an experiment. I installed a standard version of windows 10 onto a surface book.

    For standard I mean it is downloaded from Microsoft and it is not tailor made for surface book. It is the standard version for general pc.

    At first I take this as an experiment and think that the resultant windows will not be used for good. The main concern is I dont know the product key of the windows bundled with my surface book so I can't activate the windows installed in this way. But I am wrong. The windows installed in this way is mysteriously activated. I was surprised about this.

    Before the installation, I booted the surface book into command prompt and ran the diskpart program. I performed the clean command which killed everything including the recovery partition in the SSD. Why I did that? Because I like testing and I dont like the default partition layout which contained something like uefi, system, recovery, etc.. I like clean install. So I prepared the recovery Usb tailer made for surface book in case my experiment failed.

    I deleted everything in the SSD. I restarted the surface book. As expected, it didnt boot up. Then I inserted the standard (noted, the standard one, not the one for surface book recovery) windows installation Usb. The setup process proceeded. Finally the desktop emerged. Installation process completed. I looked around to see any differences. First thing I noticed was the touch screen was not a touch screen. It didnt response to my touch. It became a normal display. But this was not a permanent status. It lacked drivers. What if I let it update all necessary drivers? Will it be functioning? I dont know yet. I just finished the installation process and waiting for the updates (quite a lot and I dont have fast internet connections).

    Touch screen can't touch. brightness couldnt be controlled (always max brightness no matter how set). Missing some apps (for example the surface app). And many subtle differences. To me, the standard version is more clean then the bundled one. But, can I activate it? If not, i can't use it for long.

    I went to the settings and observed that my windows was already activated. I was very surprised. I never entered the product key during the installation process. I even dont know the product key. But it is activated. I can use this standard version of windows if I like.

    Now I am leaving the surface book alone for it to complete the windows update process which may take quite a lot of time. Then I will use it and see if all it hardware are functioning normally. If it doesnt perform normally, I will use the surface book recovery USB to reset it to factory state. But if it functions fully, I think I will adapt this standard version of windows because of its cleanness.

    I dont know the result yet. Will report later.
    Last edited by peter leung 10586; 03-08-2016 at 07:52 PM.
    03-07-2016 08:18 AM
  2. eusty's Avatar
    I would have guessed it's just standard Windows not a Surface specific version. Activation is based on UEFI and user account, so no surprises that it activated without any intervention.

    After upgrading to W10 (from 8.1) on my Surface Pro 3 I saw issues a bit like yours, with the volume key etc not working. I did a clean install sorted it!

    Once the drivers etc are installed hopefully it will sort itself out. You can download the drivers... https://forums.windowscentral.com/e?...token=msL51HBF
    03-07-2016 09:00 AM
  3. peter leung 10586's Avatar
    I would have guessed it's just standard Windows not a Surface specific version. Activation is based on UEFI and user account, so no surprises that it activated without any intervention.

    After upgrading to W10 (from 8.1) on my Surface Pro 3 I saw issues a bit like yours, with the volume key etc not working. I did a clean install sorted it!

    Once the drivers etc are installed hopefully it will sort itself out. You can download the drivers... Download Surface Book Drivers and Firmware from Official Microsoft Download Center
    I guess the mysterious activation is based on hardware. after the clean installation I even haven't sign-in to my microsoft account but the windows was activated.

    to be honest the windows out of the box (that is the bundled one) was not performing well. some odd behaviours occurred. for example during the initial setup, I chose "United states" as my location. then its default language showed "English (Singapore)" . when it was connected to WiFi and i was surfing the web, the "airplane mode" indicator was "on"...

    I'll report the result later. I hope the surface book will have full functionality after all hardware drivers had been download. If this is the case, I will use the standard version of windows instead of the bundled one. I will not recover using the surface book recovery image (although I prepared it).
    03-08-2016 04:32 AM
  4. zerospace-net's Avatar
    I guess the mysterious activation is based on hardware. after the clean installation I even haven't sign-in to my microsoft account but the windows was activated.
    This has long been true of windows activations (that they are based on hardware signatures). Once Windows is activated on a device/machine, it will continue to re-activate on the same device for clean installs/re-installs thereafter. Nothing magical here. MS has said this is normal behavior.

    to be honest the windows out of the box (that is the bundled one) was not performing well. some odd behaviours occurred. for example during the initial setup, I chose "United states" as my location. then its default language showed "English (Singapore)" . when it was connected to WiFi and i was surfing the web, the "airplane mode" indicator was "on"...
    Some of these issues are Windows 10 issues in general -- especially the airplane mode indicator and the like. Other issues were with the original disk image that shipped on some Surface Book units (some early units had corruption). Perhaps this was the issue with yours.

    I'll report the result later. I hope the surface book will have full functionality after all hardware drivers had been download. If this is the case, I will use the standard version of windows instead of the bundled one. I will not recover using the surface book recovery image (although I prepared it).
    I really don't understand why you keep insisting that it is some "special" version of Windows 10. It is not. It is Windows 10 Pro with proper drivers for all of the Surface Book's very proprietary hardware. Microsoft has provided custom driver packages for the SB's drivers for those having issues with drivers updating through Windows Update or for enterprise or custom OS installs. Your initial issues may have been easily solved by simply loading up the fresh Surface Book recovery image from USB. A link to the Surface Book driver packages is below:

    Download Surface Book Drivers and Firmware from Official Microsoft Download Center

    With the drivers at the above link, you should be able to gain full hardware functionality back.
    03-08-2016 10:29 AM
  5. peter leung 10586's Avatar
    This has long been true of windows activations (that they are based on hardware signatures). Once Windows is activated on a device/machine, it will continue to re-activate on the same device for clean installs/re-installs thereafter. Nothing magical here. MS has said this is normal behavior.



    Some of these issues are Windows 10 issues in general -- especially the airplane mode indicator and the like. Other issues were with the original disk image that shipped on some Surface Book units (some early units had corruption). Perhaps this was the issue with yours.



    I really don't understand why you keep insisting that it is some "special" version of Windows 10. It is not. It is Windows 10 Pro with proper drivers for all of the Surface Book's very proprietary hardware. Microsoft has provided custom driver packages for the SB's drivers for those having issues with drivers updating through Windows Update or for enterprise or custom OS installs. Your initial issues may have been easily solved by simply loading up the fresh Surface Book recovery image from USB. A link to the Surface Book driver packages is below:

    Download Surface Book Drivers and Firmware from Official Microsoft Download Center

    With the drivers at the above link, you should be able to gain full hardware functionality back.
    thanks for your concern. I know the bundled one is a windows 10 pro with all necessary drivers. and it is somehow customized for surface book. the initial setup process is slightly different from the standard one. the standard one doesn't prompt you to pair with your pen during initial setup process.

    finally the experiment succeeded. i don't need to manually download the surface book driver and firmware package from the link provided above. they automatically downloaded and installed via windows update. after all updates finished, the surface book have full functionality. brightness control, detach button, touch screen, all come back.

    some pre-installed apps in the bundled version didn't appear. i checked update in store. the "surface" app didn't appear in the "update available" list. i forgot what else were pre-installed in the bundled version. i only remember this.

    although i performed the "clean" command before windows installation, the SSD still has partitions. i tried "create part primary" command but found that the windows couldn't install. for the windows to install, i need to delete the only partition i created and let windows decide the partition layout. the outcome was better than the bundled one. the bundled one contained a recovery partition of the size 1.7GB. now it disappeared.

    i will stay with this version. thanks for watching.
    03-08-2016 09:09 PM
  6. Zohar_Dreamers's Avatar
    I am interested in this as I want to do the same thing to my surface book. I am wondering about the following.
    1. Windows Hello - does it work without any hiccups.
    2. Batter life - I usually only get 6 - 8 hours on my surface book. does install a fresh version get me longer battery life.
    03-09-2016 11:46 PM
  7. zerospace-net's Avatar
    I am interested in this as I want to do the same thing to my surface book. I am wondering about the following.
    1. Windows Hello - does it work without any hiccups.
    2. Batter life - I usually only get 6 - 8 hours on my surface book. does install a fresh version get me longer battery life.
    You can just download a recovery image for the Surface Book from Microsoft and do a clean install with it. Or, if you really want, you can follow the above procedure, but just download the driver and firmware package from Microsoft to install after doing your clean install of Windows 10.

    FYI -- Windows Hello is broken for pretty much everyone in some way right now (since the 2/17 firmware update), so no amount of clean installing is likely to fix it until Microsoft fixes it with a firmware or driver update. For me, the only time Windows Hello does not work consistently is after charging the Surface Book while it is in hibernation.
    03-10-2016 09:22 AM
  8. peter leung 10586's Avatar
    I am interested in this as I want to do the same thing to my surface book. I am wondering about the following.
    1. Windows Hello - does it work without any hiccups.
    2. Batter life - I usually only get 6 - 8 hours on my surface book. does install a fresh version get me longer battery life.
    i heard many problems about windows hello but maybe I am the lucky one. my surface book updated 17/2 firmware and windows hello works fine. but i never use sleep or hibernate mode. i set the screen and system "always on". when the lid is open, both screen and system operate. when the lid is closed, screen goes off but the system is still operating. effectively my surface book is working 24/7. it never sleeps.

    i sometimes unplug it and use it outside. for battery life, it lasts more than 8 hours with moderate use. but mine doesn't have dGPU so i think the energy consumption is lower than other models.
    03-10-2016 10:11 PM

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-09-2016, 11:55 PM
  2. Random BSOD's since installing latest Preview build on my SP3
    By Mark Kaplan in forum Microsoft Surface 3
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-09-2016, 09:43 PM
  3. SmartThings plans monthly updates for Windows Phone app going forward
    By WindowsCentral.com in forum Windows Central News Discussion
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 03-09-2016, 08:42 PM
  4. Android gets split screen before windows 10 mobile.
    By Krystianpants in forum Android Phones
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 03-09-2016, 08:25 PM
LINK TO POST COPIED TO CLIPBOARD