If you buy Surface 3, you will normally get Windows 8.1 “Core,” and not Windows 8.1 Pro. But what if you need Windows 8.1 Pro? What are your options then?
Harry G. asks:
I need for my tablet to be able to connect to a domain. I know Windows 8.1 Pro does, but I haven’t seen any mention of what Surface 3’s capabilities are.
Surface 3 ships with Windows 8.1 “Core” not Pro, normally. That is, if you buy the product now from any of the places I mentioned in All Surface 3 Accessories are Now Available for Pre-Order (Microsoft Store, Amazon and so on), you will get Windows 8.1 “Core.” (Core is the internal name of the product; Microsoft identifies it only as “Windows 8.1”.)
But you have options.
First, businesses (and educational customers) can buy Surface 3 with Windows 8.1 Pro. The base Surface 3 (2 GB/64 GB) costs $549.99 in that configuration (up from $499) and the higher-end Surface 3 (4 GB/128 GB) version costs $649.99 with Windows 8.1 Pro (up from $599). Where do you buy such a machine? From a Microsoft reseller. I assume these options will start popping up before or when Surface 3 is generally available later this month.
Second, you could always upgrade to Windows 8.1. You can do this a few ways.
You can upgrade electronically right in Windows—search for features and then choose Get more features with a new edition to Windows—and then use the app that pops up. The Windows 8.1 Pro Pack upgrade is $99.99 in the US.
You can get this a bit cheaper online, however. A Windows 8.1 Pro Pack in PC key card form is just $80.50 at Amazon.com right now, for example. (A downloadable version is a bit more expensive at $90, but will be immediate.)