Nerd’s Notes: The Journey to Make the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 a Desktop Substitute

Here are a few things I have learned –  a follow up to my former blog article, ,  taking advantage of the Microsoft Surface Pro 2’s portability and turning it into a functional, Microsoft 8.1, desktop substitute:

1. Fitting Windows Into a Tablet Interface ain’t easy, and you need at least a second monitor, two if you want one to be vertical for documents; (I am not giving up my iPad yet!)

2. It is easy to customize Windows 8 to emulate Windows 7 with the “Start Button” you are familiar with. In fact, you can switch back and forth; nice to know you don’t have to say “Goodbye Start Button” cold turkey;

3. When I tried to order a VGA or HD connector for a standalone monitor, or monitors, The Microsoft Store is “Out of Stock”! But not to worry.

4. I already owned what I needed, an U.S.B. device, sold by EVGA,  that connects via VGA to at least a pair of monitors, . They are small, @ 4″ by” 4 by 1″, and magnetized so they stack. I have used them to add 22″ vertical monitors to each of my paralegal’s Windows XP desktops.

5. So, I have ordered a pair for the Surface Pro 2; (Just remember, your monitor must either turn vertically or you need to go to and order a robust vertical monitor mount for @ $35. I have four of them. Search for “Vertical Dual LCD Monitor” and select the one with five stars for $32 plus shipping.

6. The Logitech wireless keyboard, mouse, and Microsoft docking station work as advertised.

7. My IT guy, Ike, surprised me this morning to advise we were nearly out of hard drive space! How can that happen? Easy. I was synched to 90 gigibytes of DropBox cloud storage!  I need only “unsynch”  long folders such as videos and photographs.  It is a simple matter of checking the folders to unsynch, and they are gone. Hard drive space restored.

8. I won’t kid you. This is not cheap, approaching $2000, but look at the versatility.  I now have; 
 a. a robust tablet;
 b. tablet with flat keyboard cover;
 c. laptop equivalent;
 d. desktop substitute, and; 
 e. will soon have it with horizontal and a vertical 22″ monitors!

9. A compromise we have had to make so far is that we had trouble synching to Microsoft Exchange Server with our hosted Microsoft Outlook so we connected to our e-mail via I will play with it to see if we still have full functionality, such as our mailing groups. 

10. Hosted Outlook  gives me the same calendar, e-mail, tasks, and contacts on my staff’s desktops, our laptops, and Nancy’s and my iPad and iPhones. Everything fully in-synch and accessible!

11. If this set up works as planned, staff will grab it, with flat keyboard, to meet with clients, calculate child support, and work during bathroom breaks (kidding I think); to take it home with the wireless keyboard and mouse when they want “flex time”, and to use it with both large monitors for the same, heavy duty, word processing and document assembly they now do with their desktops. Stay tuned if you care to know whether we are successful. 

Note: we just successfully added the Pathagoras “add-in” to Microsoft Word on the Surface Pro 2 for document assembly.

Have a great week-end. 


This post was written by Burton Hunter

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