Surface Pro – Sleep oddities

No, this isn’t a post about me sleeping with my Surface Pro! My wife probably wouldn’t like that too much.

No this is a post about problems I seem to be having with this thing going to sleep. So, as a desktop replacement, it’s been pretty good so far. I’m still looking for a good way to split off the mini Display Port to two DVI monitors… I’m a dual 24″ monitor type of worker when I’m in the office. Using one and the Surface screen for work is not the best arrangement for me. But with that aside, I’ve been very happy so far.

I have noticed though that at times, when I go away from my desk, after hitting Windows Key + L to lock my screen, if I’m gone for more than just a minute or two, the SP seems to go into a deep sleep almost like hibernate mode – even when plugged into wall power. I’m a DBA, and I use SSMS all day long to interact with my SQL Servers… I try not to RDP to them to do work, unless I have OS level work to do. So, I might need to kick off a backup on a large DB that might take 30 minutes or longer to finish. I launch SSMS and run my TSQL command, all good. However, during the duration, if I lock my SP and then go to the rest room, and come back, I log back in, and my wireless connection is dropped… ergo, my backup has failed and I have to kick it off again.

It seems to me that perhaps there’s a proximity sensor on this thing, kind of like the XBOX Kinect camera that knows not only that I’ve locked my SP, but also that I’ve walked away, and it decides to override my power configuration and take a nap. That’s not a good thing… if I wanted to have to use a VDI type interface for all my work, I’d work off my Android phone with a Blue Tooth Keyboard, Mouse, and Micro HDMI to my monitor. If I can’t keep this thing running while on house power while I lock it, and go to a 30 minute meeting, it’s not useful as a workstation replacement. Off house power, I get it… but on it, let me decide – I am still a user, right Redmond?

Surface Pro initial post

I got a Surface Pro through work, some there are thinking that this might be a good laptop refresh replacement asset. All in all we got almost a dozen and spread them out pretty good among IT. We have some Client Services folks, our “Executive Liaison Group”, our AD Administrator who does way too much with GPO management, myself the DBA, and a couple managers (I know!) with one. I am going to focus on using this as a complete laptop replacement so lets break for a paragraph about that!

I’ve had my trusty old Lattitude e6410 since starting at this company, so almost 3 years now. I had the last RC of Windows 8 on it in a dual boot mode, and when 8 RTM’d, I “side-graded” to that release. I say that because I have a blog post on how I did it, and it really generated a lot of traffic for me. I happened to answer another DBA’s twitter post about the possibility of “upgrading” from RC to RTM, he also blogged about it, referenced me and my post, and that got picked up in a Computer World article. That generated around 10k hits last year, and close to that already this year. Boring, I know, but I wanted to point out that I’m already somewhat familiar with the Win 8 “Metro” interface. Even though the Dell isn’t a touch screen, and I immediately found and installed Classic Desktop, I still played around over the past few months with Metro.

Surface Pro

So, on to the goods. My plan is to hopefully write a weekly entry about how the week was. Today I just bought a plain and cheap Mini DisplayPort -> DVI adapter from Office Max. It is an iLuv Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter with the actual note on the bottom of the box “* MacBook Pro and DVI Cable not included”!


It was $24.99, but available today, so I grabbed it. It just worked, I was a little concerned about it hanging with all the other elite and ultra-cool Apple gear, but it just works. I have an old 19″ Dell LCD that does 1280 x 1024 and it works, and looks pretty darned good. Next week, I should be getting a mDP -> Dual DVI adapter from Monoprice. Here’s the part an ugly little thing, but at $40, I don’t care. I’ll tuck it up between my two 24″ Dell displays at work, and no one will see it.

That’s when the testing will start in earnest. I consider myself a power user, as a sole DBA at this large company, I’ve usually got dozens of windows open and activities happening in the background. Whether it’s powershell scripts to gather SQL Server documentation, fixing Merge Replication crashes, doing new installs, running XPERF to trace down driver/hardware induced DPC’s… I’m doing a lot. The specs of this tiny little Surface Pro are probably better than my laptop. It’s also got a Core i5 (at least one generation older), 4 GB of memory, a 250GB spinning magnetic drive, and a crappy little display. The Surface is so much better, with a 128GB SSD, latest gen i5, a super-duper-spectacular display, and also 4GB of RAM.

I’ll work on some better pictures for next week… and clean the screen!!! eewwww!


How I upgraded from Windows 8 Release Preview to RTM

I have been dabbling and playing in Windows 8 since the first Release Candidate was out. I like it. Of course, on my laptop I have installed Classic Shell which brings back my familiar Start Menu and Desktop. Metro seems ok for tablets, but for a Keyboard and Mouse setup, it drove me nuts.

Anyway, to the meat of the post here… When the RTM was released to MSDN yesterday I downloaded the ISO. I then mounted the ISO natively in my Windows 8 Release Preview install and ran Setup. I tried the upgrade path, the selection was available. After a couple of steps I was presented with the “This is not an available upgrade path, please visit http://noupgradepathforyou for more information”.

I decided to try the Windows 7 work around for this. This means mounting the iso in Read / Write (I just copied the already mounted iso to a new folder) and then modifying /sources/cversion.ini. I changed the values of MinClient and MinServer to 7100. I then ran Setup from that folder, and my upgrade was successful.

Now, keep in mind, that this is not supported, and could end up with a catastrophic failure if some bits are not properly upgraded. But 12 hours in, and things seem stable.