Category: Surface Pro

Word of advice: If you have no experience with installing Microsoft Server products and configuring a Domain Controller, DHCP server and WDS: Make sure you have plenty of time to learn all this or just follow a guide on the Internet to install Windows 8.1 via an USB stick. From here on I presume you have the knowledge to do all that and in fact already have done some or all of the work of setting up a Windows domain, DHCP server and WDS server

After I bought a Surface Pro I decided to reinstall Windows 8.1 Pro on it. Mainly because the device was pre-installed with an image of Windows 8.1 Pro in Spanish, Portuguese or Italian as language choice.

The first thing you need for this is an original Microsoft USB Ethernet adapter. Other brands will not work (for using PXE boot, after installation other USB Ethernet adapters will work). This is because of some firmware code that only supports the Microsoft USB Ethernet adapter.

The second step is to upgrade the firmware of the Surface Pro to the newest version. There is a download available with all the drivers and firmware software you need. Link to the download location.

To install the new firmware you have to go to Computer Management and Device Manager and expand the Firmware section. Update all four of the Firmware devices found there with the software from the link above. Just double click on the first, go to the second tab (Driver) and choose Update Driver. Point to the location of the downloaded software on your drive and let Windows do the magic. Repeat this for all four of the firmware items.

If you have not already installed a WDS server it is time to do so.

Install the WDS role on your server (if it is a home setup like I have, the easiest way is to use the DHCP server machine to install the WDS role).

Configure the WDS role by adding two boot images for Windows 8.1 (x64) (one specifically for the Surface and one for normal installations) and a Windows 8.1 install image. If you have a custom image for Windows 8.1 that could be added too. The second boot image can easily be renamed to Surface Boot Image (x64) or something else so you see the difference.

Add drivers to the WDS server by downloading the drivers from the above mentioned link. Next step is to add the driver of the USB network adapter to the boot image. Make sure the driver “msu30x64w8” is added to the Surface boot image.

After all this is done make sure the Surface Pro is completely off. Press, and hold, the Volume Up button and power on the Surface Pro. (keep the Volume Up pressed) and release the Volume Up button when you are in the settings screen of the firmware. Disable the Secure Boot Control option. Exit and reboot and immediately shutdown the machine by pressing the Power Button.

To install via PXE boot and WDS press an hold the Volume Down button and power on the Surface Pro. Keep the Volume Down pressed until the PXE boot information is displayed. After a few seconds you need to press Enter to start the network boot. From there on the installation is pretty straight forward.

Do not forget to enable the Secure Boot Control option in the firmware settings and install the default keys before you exit and save the firmware settings.