Surface Pro 3: Pen Can Be Paired With Other Devices

You can pair your Surface 3 or Surface Pro 3 pen to other devices.


This is more interesting than compellingly useful, but here’s what I found.

I picked up  an HP Stream 7 at the Microsoft Store last week.

I was trying to capture a screen shot with the thumb keyboard but trying to do that with the Windows-Volume_Down combination wouldn’t work because pressing the Windows button dismisses the keyboard. Then remembered that a double-click on the Surface Pen button opens OneNote Screen Clipping Tool.

I paired my Surface Pen via Bluetooth to the Stream-7. I was actually surprised that it worked. And after that I could click once to wake it up from sleep into OneNote, and double-click to open the OneNote Screen Clipping Tool  just like you can on the Surface Pro 3.

The Surface Pro 3 Pen doesn’t do anything else with the Stream-7, so I wouldn’t dedicate a Pen to it. But it was interesting to explore.

While I was digging around I found a few new tricks about OneNote. For example, once you register you can send an email to and it will deliver that email directly to your notebook.

Read more about that trick and more at

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Surface Pro 3: Wireless Display Adapter/Miracast

If you are having trouble connecting your Surface Pro 3 to the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter AND you have antivirus/firewall software running, try temporarily disabling the firewall. If that allows you to connect, then turn on the firewall again and set a rule/exception to your firewall settings.

Allow In/Out connections for TCP and UDP, Ports: All.

Here’s how it looks in ESET Endpoint Security

SETUP > Advanced Setup


Personal Firewall > Rules




General   Miracast   Direction:Both, Action:Allow, Protocol: TCP & UDP





And that should allow you to connect to your Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter through your firewall.

See also:

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Surface Tips: Thumb Keyboard and more

I had forgotten about the Thumb Keyboard because I have a Windows Phone and use the Word Flow keyboard.

Word Flow with shape writing in action GIF

As I result I don’t have much experience typing with my thumbs.  I really hope that this feature finds its way into a future release of Windows.

Back to the present:  I recently got an HP Stream 7 and it’s a perfect size to use the thumb keyboard.

Unfortunately I can use the Windows-Volume-Down* trick to take a screenshot of the onscreen keyboard or I could show you how well that onscreen thumb keyboard looks on a 7 inch screen.

See more forgotten Surface Tricks in the Surface Blog

* Press and hold the Windows button, and press down on the lower volume button on the side of your Surface. Your screen will dim a little for a moment when you do this. Your screenshots will be saved their own separate folder inside your Pictures folder.

Surface Pro 3: Great Service at the Microsoft Store

I dropped by the Microsoft Store to invest some time getting to know the Surface 3. Almost as an afterthought on the way in I decided to make an appointment to see a technical specialist while I was in there. The main problem was that the keyboard was unresponsive when waking from sleep. The keys would light up but the key presses did not register on the Surface Pro 3.

The workaround was to remove and replace the keyboard after resuming from sleep.  This was mildly annoying and downright embarrassing when I had to do this in front of other people. I had read through the forums and done hard shutdowns (two button shutdowns), but to no avail.

Another issue that had been nagging at me was that the fan seemed to be on more and more of the time.  It was on almost constantly lately when in the docking station regardless of what I was doing. 

As you would expect, a machine that was running hot with the fan on most of the time was going to run slowly and it was tough on battery life.  I was lucky to get more than an hour for the last week or so.  Sometimes it would not charge when I was using it. I had to charge it while it was asleep.  It was coming out of its carrying bag warm most of the time. It was hard to tell if this was because it went into the bag hot, or if it had woken up from sleep in transit. I had gotten into the habit of putting it into hibernate mode instead of sleep.

This was  death by a thousand cuts. I’ve been up against deadlines lately and as long as it was running I just pushed on.

I had a little time in a cafe before the store opened and I made a list. And once I had it down in writing it was clear that the minor annoyances had added up and it was time to deal with them.

I had provided my litany of grief to the person who booked the appointment with the technician. By the time the appointment rolled around, the technician  had read the list and was ready for me.

I”m probably not a typical user. I have four user accounts, and I switch between them frequently. By mid-day I usually have eight or nine applications open, four browsers going,  and dozens of windows on the go. The technician took the time to go through all the user accounts looking for problems like viruses and known rogue programs.  It took a couple of hours of investigation and discussion but he made the decision to exchange the unit. 

While he was doing all the paperwork  for the new one, I bought a 128 gig Micro SD card and backed up the data that was not on OneDrive.  That took a couple of hours so I let the new unit sync up with my Microsoft account and OneDrive and reinstalled my Windows Store Applications. While that was happening I bought the Wireless Display Adapter, and on an impulse I picked up an HP Stream 7.  More on that later.

It was a long day at the Microsoft Store. I was camped out at their service desk for hours and treated attentively, and respectfully throughout. It could have been an ordeal, but everyone was pleasant  and helpful. During the times that didn’t require my attention I got updates on the latest Xbox One and I spent some quality time with the Surface 3 and its new accessories. I spoke with another technician who gave me some excellent advice that I have since applied and my network is working much better.

My new Surface Pro 3 is doing fine. I had to reinstall all my legacy applications, user accounts and preferences and I’m still migrating data. I’m happy to report that the unit is only slightly warm, and I haven’t heard the fan once.

When you live with technology you know that things fail. What matters is what people do when that happens. The people at the Microsoft store stepped up and did a great job.

Surface 3: Hands On

I finally got my hands on a Surface 3. Here it is (red keyboard) beside my Surface Pro 3 (black keyboard) at the Microsoft Store.


Keyboard and Typing Experience

You’ll notice that the actual keys on the keyboard appear to be the same size.  The difference in width is in the border on the sides of the keys. That border is much slimmer on the Surface 3 keyboard. The Trackpad is about the same width, but not as tall.  They trimmed some of the border between the top row of keys and the screen. Overall the typing experience seemed comparable to what you get with the Surface Pro 3 keyboard, and I like that.


As you can see the Surface 3 screen is nice and bright. I set both machines to Show more tiles on the Start screen.  On the Surface 3 you get five rows of medium sized tiles. On the Surface Pro 3 you get six. At a glance the tiles look to be about the same size so if you can read the tiles on the Surface Pro 3, you’ll be fine with the Surface 3.  I looked at several of the applications that I use daily and found that the Surface 3 is just as easy to read and work with as the Surface Pro 3. There’s just less to see on the screen, about 11% less.  If you are routinely working at the edges of the screen of a Surface Pro 3 you might miss that extra content.  But otherwise, you probably won’t.

If you are used to working at a 16:9 aspect ratio [1920 x 1080], the switch to the 3:2 aspect ratio [1920 x 1280] on the Surface 3 will give you 200 pixels  more vertical space in which to work. This is a really noticeable difference and it’s a nice change.

Kick Stand

The three position kickstand gives you three very usable viewing angles. I would have preferred that the lowest of these was a little lower, but that’s because I do a lot of work with the Pen on my Surface Pro 3.  Still I could see using all three positions and getting lots of productive work done.  The lowest setting would be great at a conference where you don’t want your device to be upright like a barrier between you and the other people at the table.


The Surface 3 is just 1.37 pounds (622 grams).  My most demanding application for it will be standing and walking and talking with it. I’ll be using the pen and not the keyboard. I do that now with my Surface Pro 3 and it’s great but from what I could tell, I’m going to really enjoy the Surface 3. It is 6.25 ounces (176 grams) lighter than the Surface Pro 3. That’s a noticeable difference, and I was glad to shed the weight.

Pen Experience

The Surface Team did a great job of carrying the Pen experience from the Surface Pro 3 to the Surface 3.  I use OneNote a lot for cursive notes and this wall worked fine.  There wasn’t time to test this with drawing applications though, but from what I saw, the experience should be similar.


I wasn’t expecting great performance with the Quad-core Intel Atom x7-Z8700 processor.  I was very pleasantly surprised to find that the Surface 3 demo units with the modest 2 gigabytes of RAM were snappy and responsive. I tried watching some video over the net at full screen. This was really good, and I didn’t notice any lag or hesitation for any of the kinds of things I would do for casual or business use. I didn’t try any video editing or heavy duty graphics, but that’s not what this machine is designed to do.

Wireless Display Adapter

This is almost an after-thought for me, but I noticed and played with the Surface 3 connected to a gigantic monitor using the Microsoft Digital Display.  This was a snap to connect and worked very well. I’ll be writing more about that in a few days.

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Surface Pro 3: Show Hibernate in the Power Options Menu

In my last post I noted that Mouse Without Borders was able to wake up my Surface Pro 3 from Sleep mode. That makes perfect sense if the system is in front of me and I want to wake it up with the mouse. It doesn’t make sense if the system is in a bag, out of sight and out of mind.

I’ve added Hibernate to the Power Options Menu and putting the system into Hibernate mode this seems to have eliminated the problem. I just need to consciously choose to put the system into Hibernate mode instead of just flipping the keyboard closed. That’s a small price to pay for this little bit of added comfort.

Here’s how.

On the Start menu choose Run

In the Run dialog type: gpedit.msc


Click OK

In the Group Policy Editor navigate to:

Administrative Templates > Windows Components > File Explorer > Show hibernate in the power options menu.


Click and then set the option to Enabled.


That’s it. OK your way out. 

Next time you want to Hibernate tap Start > Shutdown and choose Hibernate.


What about InstantGo?

Yes, when I turn on Hiberate I lose the instant resume from standby, and the background updates for email or connectivity by Skype.  I have my Windows phone with me all the time so I don’t need the connectivity while the system is asleep. It does take a longer to wake up from Hibernate but at least now I can choose to go there immediately if I want.

Here’s some more background about Surface Surface Pro and Surface 3 power states: On, off, sleep, and hibernate

Here are some more interesting things to explore.

Surface Pro 3: InstantGo vs. Mouse without Borders

Every now and then I reach into my case and find a warm Surface Pro 3 running. I’m always careful that the machine is actually asleep before I put it into the case.  I thought that this was happening spontaneously (like spontaneous combustion),  And then I remembered: Mouse Without Borders will wake a machine from sleep. 


I use Mouse Without Borders because it is an absolutely terrific virtual keyboard sharing program. And when I have all my machines lined up in front of me it makes perfect sense that if I mouse into a machine that is asleep, it should wake up.  But I don’t want it doing that if the machine is in an enclosed space, out of sight and out of mind. 

I’m going to have to rethink my workflow around this. Maybe I will add Hibernate to the Power Options menu.  Then I can put the system directly into Hibernate Mode when I know that I won’t be needing it to wake up instantly – deliberately or by accident.
I’ve been thinking of doing that anyway so that I can avoid accidentally waking up the system by bumping the power button.

I’ll let you know how that works.

Surface 3: Looking Better By The Day

What do you think of Surface 3? You can read the reviews and most of what I’ve read is that it’s a brilliant little machine. There’s generally some balking at the price, but setting that aside for a minute:

I DO need an all-day full-Windows device. That is, something that will run legacy applications.  Previous versions of Surface (not Pro) have given me the all-day experience, and the Surface Pros have given me full-Windows with support for legacy applications. It just seemed that I couldn’t have both.

When I need to be completely portable, and by that I mean walking around with my Surface (any model) in one hand here’s what I’m thinking:

  • Weight: Surface 3
    178 grams (0.39 lbs =6.24 ounces) is going to make a difference.
    That is the  difference in weight between Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3
    Surface 3:          622 g (1.37 lbs)
    Surface Pro 3: 800 g (1.76 lbs)
  • Screen Resolution: It’s a draw
    Screen resolution probably won’t matter given  what I do when standing.  I’m usually writing, sketching, doing annotations on the screen, or navigating through a presentation. I think it’s a draw.
    Surface 3:           1920 x 1280 
    Surface Pro 3:  2160 x 1440
  • Battery life: Surface 3
    Battery life is a state of mind and more than just the difference in the specifications. If I am not absolutely confident that my device will go the distance on its battery, I have to bring along and use the charger. That’s an anchor on a glider and completely changes my perception of the device. For what I do when standing,
    (presentations and learning events) I need to know that I that run about 3-4 hours with confidence. I frequently use Skype to share my screen and Skype is a battery killer. It also puts me at the outside edge of what I can do with my Surface Pro 3.  I plug in the Surface Pro 3 at breaks, and that’s a drag.
    If the Surface 3 behaves like its predecessors then I should be able to leave the anchor behind.
  • Charging: Surface 3
    Finally I can charge a Surface with micro USB chargers. That means that I should be able to use readily available battery packs and phone chargers or use my Surface charger with other devices. 
  • Size: Surface 3 ?
    It’s hard to know until I get my hands on Surface 3. The aspect ratio is the same as Surface Pro 3, and I really like that and from what I’ve read I expect that it will be easier to manage in one hand while I’m writing or sketching with the other.
    Surface 3:          267.0 x 187.0 x 8.7 mm
    Surface Pro 3: 292.1 x 201.4 x 9.1 mm

The principle complaint I’m seeing in the reviews is the cost. 

I think that the most expensive device is the one you don’t use. Second to that is a device that you need to supplement with another one. 

I could use a Surface 3 for a lot things that I do every day. It looks like it will handle my most frequently challenging application (walking around while talking, writing) for hours at a time. And finally free of the nagging concern about battery life, this could be a great device for me.

What do you think? Is there a Surface 3 in your future?

Surface 3 Review

Surface MVP Frank Garcia shared this review from

We Tested the Surface 3 (translation by Microsoft Translator).

Here are a few of the pictures that appear in the review.

Notice the size of the Surface 3 keyboard. The keys are the same size but the keyboard is a little smaller.


And here is a shot of the Surface 3 attached to and on top of a Surface Pro 3 keyboard. This gives you a pretty good idea of the size.


And here are the ports. Micro USB for charging and data, USB, and mini-display port.


Be sure to read the whole review. There’s lots of great first-hand impressions.

We Tested the Surface 3 (translation by Microsoft Translator).

And after you have read the review here are some more interesting things to explore.

StaffPad–Made for Surface Pen

Yesterday I wrote about Killer Applications. The one that grabbed my attention today is StaffPad. Follow the link and watch the video (shown using a Surface Pro 3 pen) and see someone writing sheet music faster than you could do it with pen and paper.

This quote from the website captures the heart of pen computing applied to a human endeavour..


From the website: “StaffPad is a brand new class of notation app, designed to take advantage of the advanced pen and touch input found on Microsoft Surface* and other compatible Windows 8.1 devices. As you write notation using the pen, StaffPad recognises your handwritten music and converts it into a beautifully  typeset score which you can further edit, playback, print and share….

*Surface 3, Surface Pro or compatible device required “

For some great insights about why the Pen (the Surface Pen) was an essential aspect of this application see: StaffPad Blog – Looking through windows

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