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April 15, 2014

Windows Update Makes Surface Better

Here on the Surface team we have a dedicated set of engineers working constantly to improve your Surface experience, long after you take the device home. Your Surface is  a powerful computer that  also senses how you are holding or using it and gives you the most advanced ways to interact with it including touch and (for Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2) pen. All these things are driven by software in some way, and Windows Update is the way we are able to enhance most of those experiences over time. Examples so far include:

  • Improving the visual experience with better color rendering, wireless displays and better graphics performance
  • Improving your connected experiences with more robust connections to more network types
  • Making your keyboard smarter in more positions and more precise at capturing your commands
  • Improving the sound of your Surface
  • Providing the Windows 8.1 Update and its new improvements for free.

It is really easy to get these improvements.

If you didn’t opt in to Windows Updates when you set up your Surface you can turn them on at any time (Swipe from the right. Tap Settings. Tap Change PC Settings. Select Update and Recovery, then Windows Update). We generally release updates on a monthly cadence, most often second Tuesday of the month. If you are set up to automatically receive updates they will come to your Surface in the background while you are online and your network is not too busy with other things. Once there, they will automatically install the next time you restart your Surface. (You may notice your Restart button change to Update and Restart, for example.) For important stuff, if you haven’t restarted yet, you will be prompted to update and restart four days after your Surface receives the updates. That’s it until the next month. You can also check for updates manually at any time at the same place.

One place to look for the latest and best.

Many of us have the well-meaning cousin who tells us something like “Go to the COMPANY X website and get the driver with optimized IOCTLs for the Barium drive …”.  We’ve made the delivery of updates so much easier than all that, and removed the requirement for you to go hunting. When we put new stuff on Windows Update we include the complete set of the latest and greatest updates for your Surface. So if the best Type Cover stuff we have came out in January and we’re giving you new graphics capabilities in April, we’ll include the Cover software along with everything else that would get your machine to the best known state. If you missed any updates along the way we’ll take care of it. If one update depends on another we’ll take care of it. It is all tested together and you don’t have to worry about looking anywhere else than this month’s update.

Curious to know what you have or what is waiting for you?

It is easy to see your history or find the details of what is in a monthly release. At the same time that we publish new updates to Windows Update we publish a description of what they are doing for you.

Surface Pro 3:

Surface 2:

Surface Pro 2:

Surface RT :

Surface Pro:

If you would like to see what updates have been applied to your machine, search for and tap on Windows Update:

Are you missing out? Check the status of your updates here.

Then tap on View Update History.

You’ll see a window that looks like this:

Geek corner:I see “System Hardware” updates and “System Firmware” updates – what’s the difference?System Hardware updates are device drivers – software programs that run things like your graphics chip or keyboard. We are just updating those programs. System Firmware updates typically have some of that, plus code that is actually re-programming chips in the Surface. To us that makes a big difference in how we install things. To you there shouldn’t be any difference.

Our team is obviously excited to provide some insight into the work we do to make Surface great. We also want you to understand that you don’t need to be an expert in finding and installing anything to get the very most from your Surface – Windows Updates will do that work for you! .

James Duffus
Group Program Manager – Microsoft Surface