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Windows 7 on a Surface Pro?

    General discussion

  • Anybody going to put Windows 7 on a Surface Pro?

    Here's the situation. My IT dept is not ready for Windows 8. We won't be moving off of SCCM 2007 for another 9 to 12 months and we won't be have 2008 on the domain servers for another 7 to 10 months. So we're just not in a position to deploy W8 for a little while. However everybody wants Windows 8 hardware.  Bottom line, I will be building OSD driver packages for Windows 8 hardware like the Dell XPS 12 duo and the Surface Pro. Anybody else have any experience with W7 on W8 hardware. 

    Saturday, February 16, 2013 9:17 PM

All replies

  • Hi,

    Surface is only for Windows 8 right now. And it was not design for Windows 7.


    Leo Huang
    TechNet Community Support

    Monday, February 18, 2013 8:29 AM
    Moderator
  • Leo/Vegan, 

    As soon as I receive my Surface Pro tablets and load my corporate Windows 7 64 Enterprise image via OSD I will post my experience. I thank you for your input but you failed to grasp the real world situation of a Fortune 500 company. 

    Monday, February 18, 2013 6:36 PM
  • Leo/Vegan, 

    As soon as I receive my Surface Pro tablets and load my corporate Windows 7 64 Enterprise image via OSD I will post my experience. I thank you for your input but you failed to grasp the real world situation of a Fortune 500 company. 

    So, what happened?

    Are there even Windows 7 drivers available for all the hardware that would allow a Surface Pro to fully function on Windows 7?

    Even though people "don't like" the UI, the reason we can't use Windows 8 now is because there is some mandatory security software that must be deployed on all systems that may not be updated to support Windows 8 until 2014 and management would like to get Surface Pros (or similar Core i5 tablet) now.  

    Thursday, March 14, 2013 3:17 AM
  • Why do you want to use an touch unfriendly UI on a Tablet? Use Win8 but install StartIsBack and Modern Mix, to have a lot of Win7 features back:

    http://www.startisback.com/#download-tab

    http://www.stardock.com/products/modernmix/features.asp


    "A programmer is just a tool which converts caffeine into code"

    Thursday, March 14, 2013 6:11 AM
  • I am going to try this now, Install Windows 7 Ultimate X64 on my Surface pro using the Windows 8 Driver pack, I was able to get the windows 7 installer to launch by going into the advanced options boot menu in Windows 8, starting Command Prompt, changing the directory to the windows 7 drive cd D:/ and running Setup.exe
    Wednesday, June 26, 2013 9:12 PM
  • MS posted a KB and said that it doesn't owrk:

    Windows 7 Setup hangs at "Starting Windows" on Surface Pro

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2828074/en-us

    The Surface Pro is a Class 3 UEFI device that does not support legacy BIOS Interrupt 10 (INT 10H) video transitioning and it requires Windows 8 or later operating systems to run.


    "A programmer is just a tool which converts caffeine into code"

    Thursday, June 27, 2013 5:34 AM
  • MS posted a KB and said that it doesn't owrk:

    Windows 7 Setup hangs at "Starting Windows" on Surface Pro

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2828074/en-us

    The Surface Pro is a Class 3 UEFI device that does not support legacy BIOS Interrupt 10 (INT 10H) video transitioning and it requires Windows 8 or later operating systems to run.


    "A programmer is just a tool which converts caffeine into code"

    of course MS is going to tell you this, they dont want you to know you can turn off the UEFI in the bios.

    I find it very hard to believe that if people can get Ububtu Linux to run without issue on the Surface Pro(don't believe me go ahead and google it) that Windows 7 wont run, I suspect if you follow the instructions to turn off the UEFI that windows 7 will infact run on the surface pro

    Sunday, July 14, 2013 4:57 PM
  • Ubuntu supports Secure boot while Windows 7 doesn't. That's why it works. I don't have a Surface Pro so I can't look into the UEFI.

    "A programmer is just a tool which converts caffeine into code"

    Sunday, July 14, 2013 6:47 PM
  • loolllll its true I tested it and my SP crashed and wouldn't want to load windows
    Friday, September 27, 2013 6:12 PM
  • As soon as the folks at the Microsoft store figure out how to process credit cards (they've been failing for 6 weeks), I'll be getting the SP 256GB.  As everybody knows, Windows 8 and 8.1 are horrible, unintuitive, ugly, and otherwise horrible operating systems.  I personally am not even interested in the touchscreen (it's the digitizer pen I want), and much less so in the crappy RT experience.  So, getting this excellent piece of hardware to run the currently best (though still disappointing) OS of Win7 would be amazing. 

    We've seen the official knowledge base item stating: "The Surface Pro is a Class 3 UEFI device that does not support legacy BIOS Interrupt 10 (INT 10H) video transitioning and it requires Windows 8 or later operating systems to run."  and some of us hopeful dreamers are still in doubt that this is the final word.

    I've seen hints that there is a way to install Windows 7 on a UEFI device, and that the secure boot can be turned off, and those together should mean that it is possible to get Win7 on the SP2.  Okay, so that will void the warranty, but I'd rather have a great and usable computer with no warranty than a brick of digital feces under warranty.  Drivers shouldn't be an issue, it's only the install that's questionable.  Anybody out there have a link to instructions on how to do this successfully?

    Friday, November 29, 2013 12:17 AM
  • Hello Vegan Fanatic, your comment implies, but does not state, that one can successfully install Windows 7 x64 (Ultimate) on the Surface Pro 2.  If that true, and you have succeeded in doing so and/or know somebody who has, then please post a more detail set of instructions on the materials needed (e.g. Win 7 x65 on USB drive formatted as...or using a specific installer gotten from...), the steps (e.g. first do ... to access the UEFI to turn off secure boot (or not), then ...).  There are lots of people who want to format the harddrive and start with a clean install of Win7, so if you can provide thorough and accurate instructions on how to do so you'd be a HERO!
    Friday, November 29, 2013 3:12 AM
  • I see.  The problem is that the assumption that the SP2 has nominally the same UEFI BIOS as other computers may not be true.  The knowledge base comment about it being a Class 3 UEFI device is supposed to imply that (in distinction from class 1 and class 2 UEFI devices) the SP and SP2 do not support legacy BIOSs...which is needed to run Windows 7 x64. Other UEFI do support legacy BIOS and the INT10H protocol needed, but reportedly not the one used by Surface Pros. 

    So what's needed is a person who really knows how these works actually doing this Win7 x64 install on a SP (or other Class 3 UEFI device) and showing how it works (and preferably explaining why the KB comment was only partially correct).  I've got some more info on a different thread (http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/445a83c7-12a0-471e-bdce-460a4d831fdc/clean-install-of-win7-on-surface-pro-2?forum=surfacesoftware2#2de1320a-76c5-4895-8149-5978b4de71f2). 

    Drivers are always a nuisance, but that doesn't phase me.  They exist and can be installed if Win7 can be.

    Friday, November 29, 2013 5:01 PM
  • I got my Surface Pro back in February, the first day they went on sale.   One of the first things I did with it was install the Hyper-V feature and create a Win 7 VM.  I suspect that the upgrade to 8.1 must have wiped out my VM but I'm currently rebuilding it.   If I remember correctly it worked quite well.   Perhaps something could be done to get the system to boot to the VM.

    WD

    Friday, November 29, 2013 5:34 PM
  • Well, I have my hyper-v Window 7 VM running on my Surface 8.1 Pro.  It's currently doing Windows updates while I am surfing YouTube in the 8.1.   Everything is running very well and I even have touch function in the VM.

    WD

    Friday, November 29, 2013 7:44 PM
  • That's all fine, I too used touchscreens and digitizer pens in XP, but that's besides the point.  Using Windows 7 through VM is certainly possible on the Surface Pro, but it wastes resources so you take a performance cut.  Even if it's still good enough for what Witchdoctor12 and many others want to do, it's still not a solution for the rest of us who (1) want to use all the computer's power under one OS, and (2) want that OS to be Win7. 

    So, is there a way to get Win7 (only) on a Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2?  If so, how?

    Friday, November 29, 2013 9:09 PM
  • Hyper-V hardly requires a server.   If it did MS wouldn't have shipped it in every copy of Windows 8 pro and enterprise.  If you want to virtualize some servers then, yes, load up Hyper-V server on server grade hardware.

    And yes, touch screens are not novel, but in a discussion about whether drivers might be available I think it's interesting that the touch screen is supported in the VM.  I currently have about 5 devices in the VM that drivers can't be found.

    And the machine has been running non-stop for several hours with the VM running and it's no warmer than it normally is.

    Friday, November 29, 2013 9:56 PM
  • If I can get the boss to let me, I'll experiment on the spare Surface.  Don't want to try it on my personal machine.

    Might be a while though, the spare Surface is currently on loan to a new administrator.

    WD

    Friday, November 29, 2013 9:59 PM
  • Vegan Fanatic: It seems reasonable that computers with a given set of specs will perform almost identically regardless of the size and shape of the metal and plastic container.  It is true that the Surface Pro has less ventilation than some other computers, so that might cause the fan to be on more, and may in the extreme case cause some heat limitations.  But if Witchdoctor12 has a 4gb ram version, then that's the biggest limitation for VM because it leaves just 2gb per OS.  And THAT'S only a problem for certain applications.  Some people have never used a computer with more than 2GB of ram and have no need for more.

    So, Hyper-V works for Witchdoctor12.  That's great.  And now that I understand your point about the touch screen (i.e., the drivers work, but there are some you still need), that's good information to have as well.  My guess is that with some extra effort all of the necessary drivers can be found for Win7 (in fact, most of the Win8 drivers work in Win7 for other computers that come released with Win8).

    If you do get a chance I'd love to see the results of a native Win7 install on a Surface Pro.  Please keep us informed.

    Friday, November 29, 2013 10:18 PM
  • Win7 doesn't support Graphics Output Protocol (GOP) so it requires the old legacy VGA which the Surface doesn't offer. I also had to disable this GOP on my Dell Laptop to dual boot Windows 7.

    After joining the forum 4 years ago, I'll leave it soon. The abusive behavior of moderator and CGS users to repost already posted answers or only posting generic and useless replies like "Do a clean boot" to nearly all question and marking their own replies as answer reduces the quality of the forum dramatically. I'm tired of such trolls and no longer wasting my spare free time. If you're an user who whats high quality answers and help by analyzing your crash dumps, xperf/xbootmgr trace or CBS logs ask on msfn.org, I'll take a look at them. After December 1st 2013 I'll only post to topics where I already replies to. So hurry up and ask your question.

    Saturday, November 30, 2013 7:16 AM
  • Andre,

    Thanks for the response.  So are you saying that the Surface ONLY supports Graphics Output Protocol (GOP), and so only OSs that can use GOP (such as Win 8 or later) can be used on it?  (Well, I've read that people have successfully loaded Linux on the Surface Pro, so probably that also supports GOP.)  And because Win7 requires legacy VGA, and it is somehow impossible to get legacy VGA support on the Surface Pro, it is just flat out impossible to load Win7 on it either as a dual boot or as a fresh install.

    So you are implying that this legacy VGA support cannot be added to the SP UEFI, and that the GOP cannot be disabled.  That is, that the UEFI that comes with the Surface Pro is the only option for it, and it can't be flashed or updated to include support for Win7? 

    If that's true then it's very disappointing, but not unbelievable since Microsoft would want to force us to use their new, though inferior, OS.  I'd say it was a deal-breaker for the SP, but there are currently no better options for a penabled tablet with 8gb of ram.  Only Wacom's own Cintiq Companion (odd form factor for normal usage) and the Thinkpad Helix (pad stylus use and ugly) currently exist. I guess I'll be loading up on the 3rd party apps to made the thing run with a decent UI.

    Sunday, December 01, 2013 7:42 PM
  • tablets are not designed for a brutal workload desktops can manage, running it that way will likely cause it to degrade from overheating a lot.

    a tablet is not a substitute for a server

    Off topic, but that's where you're totally wrong. Servers have been around for decades you know, since the Internet was created. The Surface Pro has the performance to replace loads of servers of the past, present servers will always have more horse power due to them being bigger (things start big then shrink in the tech industry). Just 'cause there's newer tech out there, doesn't mean you need that horse power to run a server; it depends on the tasks you wish to accomplish with the server. Running Virtual Machines on the Surface Pro is possible and I have XP and Linux running fine on it.

    Back to the topic, I've been following this thread for over 8 months now hoping something interesting pops-up. I've so far come across YouTube videos like this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4520Ee7NDlc) showing Mac OSX on the Surface Pro, but so far, none of them boot off the SSD...wonder if that could help in materializing this quest to run Windows Se7en on the Surface Pro.



    Static From MrElectrifyer

    Monday, December 02, 2013 6:38 AM
  • Wow

    Thank you!!!! Just what i was looking for!!!!

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014 4:58 PM
  • One way I know for a fact it would work, is removing the HD that the surface pro comes with, install the OS using a different system, and then reinserting the drive with only the general drivers that the OS comes with. That will allow you to insert the HD back in, you could also do an upgrade of your HD, and then once it's in the tablet configure the OS with all the necessary and proper drivers. I don't know if you could get away with a larger drive than what MS offers. But at least you could buy the 64gb drive and replace it with a 256. I would also try to buy a used or new SSD that is the same exact one that comes with the 256 version. To eliminate compatibility issues.

    http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/surface/forum/surfwinrt-surfgetstart/is-it-possible-to-replace-the-64gb-or-128gb-ssd/2b66b8b3-ad6c-4ff2-bece-f54f34a926e1

    Monday, April 07, 2014 12:37 PM
  • Hey DionysusPL,

    That's a really good idea.  I mean, of course it requires opening up the casing which probably voids the warranty, and without actually looking inside I can only guess that the form factor won't make it easy to move things around in there.  But presumably the hard drive in a Surface Pro breaks occasionally and needs to be replaced, so it can't be too hard to swap it out if the tech support people can do it. The worst case scenario is that it requires a special tool (like a star-shaped bit) to disassemble.

    But yeah, if one buys a 512GB HDD of the same size, installs Win7 while it's in a different system, then puts it in the SP2, then that seems like it SHOULD work.  Except that it begs the question of why I couldn't just format the drive that's already inside the SP2 with an USB drive installer and install a new OS that way?  Or take out the HDD in there, format it, install Win7, and put it back in.  The BIOS is saved on the motherboard, not the hard drive, so replacing the HDD won't change the non-legacy-VGA-supporting BIOS of the Surface Pro 2.  One still needs to worry about compatibility of the OS and BIOS of the new hard drive with the motherboard and other components of the SP.

    You said "I know for a fact it would work", which implies that you have done it or have seen the result of it being done.  Is that really true.  Or do you really just think in theory that it should work (but you are really confident)?  There is a big difference.  The BIOS seems unaffected by swapping the hard drives in the way you describe, and the BIOS is the problem, so the only way to know "for a fact" that it works is to do it and see that it works.  Have you done that?  Is there some link you can share showing this?  I'd love to know that this was a real thing, I'd even consider buying a used Surface Pro 2 to try it out on.  But there'd have to be a way to fix/change the BIOS in addition to swapping the hard drives...or so it seems to me.

    Monday, April 07, 2014 1:01 PM
  • It appears the original question still stands? Patience seems to introduce, wait for it, Win9 anyone?

    "If I'd asked my customers what they wanted, they'd have said a faster horse." ~ Henry Ford

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014 8:15 PM
  • It appears the original question still stands?

    Despite mucho diniero spent ramming one-ring-for-all down our respective orifi Win8 will always be - relatively - unproductive in most Workplaces most of the time.

    Patience [or necessity] seems to introduce, wait for it, Win9 anyone?


    "If I'd asked my customers what they wanted, they'd have said a faster horse." ~ Henry Ford


    • Edited by Aspasa Wednesday, May 21, 2014 8:19 PM 1st post was Beta....
    Wednesday, May 21, 2014 8:18 PM