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  • Plan on the worst

    Posted on July 30th, 2021 at 22:16 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I have a love/hate relationship with Surface devices. They are my favorite for travel as the Surface Go is the lightest one, with the Surface Pro 7+ being right behind. But… and this is starting to be true for more and more technology…. they cannot be easily serviced. Battery needs replaced? You can’t fix it. Monitor stops working on it? Sorry. So if you stupidly do what I did the other day…. like have your Surface in your purse on the passenger seat of your car. Then you opened your car door when you didn’t realize your purse was way too close the edge of the seat…. and well you can see where this is unfortunately going can’t you?

    When it then hits the cement pavement just at the exact corner of the screen… you can guess what happened:

    Nailed it, right on the edge.

    The computer still booted up, it just was a bit…. crunchy in that corner of the screen with little bits of glass in the keyboard. Ugh.

    When I purchased this device, I did it as part of an All access for business plan. You can add an accidental coverage plan, which I did just in case I did something … well… stupid like this. “Sigh!”, I said to myself, “well I get to test it out this time”.  So I signed into the Surface business access site and started the process to get it replaced. As part of the “replacement” process you only ship the unit itself. You reset it to factory defaults and erase all of your data because you are NOT getting this unit back.

    So in my case, because I tend to use it to remote into other things, I honestly didn’t have to back anything up. I can easily install what I need on the device again. But I did have to remove the AT&T Cellular SIM card that was an extra accessory I got that allows the device to always have Internet connection as long as I’m within range of an AT&T cellular tower.

    Microsoft provided a physical address I needed to send it back to and off it went. I had heard from others that I might get a refurbished unit back and not a new unit, but because the unit they were replacing was a Surface Pro 7 plus, chances were good that I would receive a new unit, not a refurb’d. Sure enough, I received back a new unit.

    I went to reinstall the AT&T SIM and was surprised to see that cellular didn’t turn back on again. Okay I probably need to call AT&T and tell them the new IMEI or some other information that they need to reenable it. Turns out on the Surface Pro 7 plus it supports both an eSIM and a physical SIM there’s a little arrow key in the cellular networking section that you can pull down and choose eSIM or the physical SIM. Duh. Once I picked the physical SIM, the cellular connected right up without contacting AT&T.

    As an aside, remember that Surface devices can get updates for it’s Operating system AND it’s hardware and firmware but they still are not easily repairable. Therefore, plan accordingly.

    In July Microsoft released various updates for firmware and hardware on the following Surface devices:

    Surface Book – security fixes for firmware

    Surface Laptop 3 – various performance issues

    Surface Pro 4 – security fixes for firmware

    Surface Pro 3 – security fixes for firmware

    Surface Studio 2 – security fixes for firmware

    The moral of this story is, buy the support plan for accidental coverage for these types of tech devices that cannot be easily serviced. Even though most of the time you won’t use it, there will be that ONE time when the device slides out of your purse onto the concrete pavement as you open your car door. Trust me. It can happen.