Using Windows 10 on a Microsoft Surface RT.

How to Use Windows 10 on a Microsoft Surface RT

Microsoft really nailed it when they released Windows 10 to the delight of over 100 million PC users who have already installed it within the first three months. Unfortunately, tablets sporting ARM chips and Windows RT cannot get the upgrade. This includes the original Surface RT that I had been using for the last three years.

Fortunately, there is a workaround that works remarkably well if you have a PC running Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, or Education on your home network. Just Remote Desktop into that computer with your Surface RT! It functions virtually lag free and as if Windows 10 was running natively on the tablet. Gestures, screen rotation, window resizing, sound and Desktop and Tablet modes all work well.

But why run Windows 10 when Windows 8.1 RT runs perfectly well on a Surface RT? There are a few reasons:

  1. You will have access to much more software. This includes legacy x86 apps and new Windows 10 universal apps. Now that Windows 10 is out, almost no one is creating (and hardly updating) Windows 8-specific apps anymore, though Windows 10 computers can run them.
  2. Windows 10 has several handy new features like the Action Center for displaying notifications and quickly changing settings (such as to switch from Desktop Mode to Tablet Mode). It also has Cortana.
  3. The performance can be MUCH better if you are Remote Desktopping into a super fast computer, such as my custom i7 workstation.

Below is a video demonstrating the above. I was using Desktop Mode for the first 1:22 of the video and Tablet Mode thereafter.


This workaround worked well for me—at least when I was at home and a good network connection to the Windows 10 Pro workstation. Now that I am on the road more, I traded in the Surface RT for the just-released Surface Pro 4. The SP4 is simply an incredible device. But I still have fond memories of using the Surface RT, such as taking meeting notes during Spanish Conversation or traveling for five weeks in Europe.

Note: I do not think this will work with a PC running Windows 10 Home (instead of Pro, Enterprise, or Education) because since that edition cannot function as a server for Remote Desktop.

Using Windows 10 on a Microsoft Surface RT.
Using Windows 10 on a Microsoft Surface RT via Remote Desktop.