Currently, the portability of devices is the key. Therefore, those devices that combine portability with lightness are the ones that get all the applause from the public. One example of this is the Surface Pro brought to us by Microsoft, which comes with Windows as its operating system. But is installing Linux on it an option? Today, we will talk about how to install Linux on Surface Pro 8.
What is the Surface Pro 8? Is it really good?
According to Microsoft’s website,
“Microsoft Surface Pro 8 is a device combining the power of a laptop with the flexibility of a tablet.“
In short, it’s a mixed device that combines the functions of a tablet with those of a laptop. The catch is that it has the power of a professional computer.
This makes it an expensive and premium device that not many people can afford, but it is also true that not everyone requires so much power.
On the technical side, we are talking about a device with 11th generation Intel processors which according to the model can be i5 or i7. In addition to this, you can incorporate up to 32Gb of RAM in the configuration of your choice.
Regarding storage, there are 256 GB, but it can go up to 1 TB so that you don’t miss anything. Another important aspect is the large battery, which you can use to get the most out of it with applications.
As it has tablet functions, then you can expect everything related to it, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, speakers, front and rear cameras, USB-C ports, accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, and so on.
If we make a summary of all the features that the device has, we will realize that it is high-end. And the fact that it’s a laptop-tablet makes it ideal for students and other users who need versatility and power.
Can you run Linux on a Surface Pro 8?
With a device like this, many Linuxes will be pining for one, and that’s where the question arises whether we can run Linux on a Surface Pro 8.
The short answer is YES, but we will have many problems with it.
The reality is that the Surface Pro 8 is a really new device that uses proprietary drivers that are very new and whose support is incomplete in the kernel.
This indicates that support is experimental and therefore poor as of today, there’s a chance that you may encounter a kernel panic if you install it. Of course, it will improve with time and with new versions of the Linux kernel.
As of today, if you install Linux on the Surface Pro 8 you won’t be able to enjoy all the hardware to the fullest, for example, you won’t be able to use the cameras. This means you won’t be able to take pictures, but neither will facial recognition nor any other operation with the work.
On top of this, we have another issue, and that is that we won’t have access to the tablet mode, losing much of the potential of the device. This goes even further, as we won’t have touch or Microsoft pen support either. A serious problem for those who would like to use it for tasks such as illustration.
Apart from all this, it’s not all bad, and besides the above, everything else works. That is, for a user who doesn’t mind not having active cameras or the touchscreen, it can work.
How To Install Linux on Surface Pro 8?
There are a few steps we need to follow to run a Linux installation on a Surface Pro 8. The first thing we need to do is, on an external computer, set up a USB Bootable with our favorite Linux distribution. Remember that it is recommended that it has a modern or recent kernel.
If you are using Windows on the other computer, then it is best to use Rufus. If you are using Linux, Etcher is one of the best.
Preparing the Installation
Before you start, I recommend you make a backup of all your important data to avoid any regrettable losses. For this, we have many tools in the cloud or on a portable disk.
It is also advisable to have a recovery image that you can download from this site and have ready in case something has gone wrong in the process. This way, you will be able to revert unwanted changes.
Disable secure boot
To achieve this, open the Windows options panel and from there look for the boot options under “Change PC settings” and then from “General” > “Settings” > “Advanced Boot” then go to “Troubleshoot” and from there to the UEFI options. Once inside, disable secure boot.
This is a precautionary measure to prevent problems from occurring, but most current Linux distributions have no problems with UEFI.
Booting from the USB stick
Now we need to make the device boot from the USB stick. To achieve this, we have to configure the system startup.
To achieve this, go to Windows Settings and from there to “Advanced Startup Options”. Then, search for the option “Use a device” and choose your USB Device (usually shown with the name Linpus Lite). This will tell the system that when it restarts, it can boot from the USB stick and start the whole installation process.
In case you have no flash drive available, you can use this method instead.
Install Linux on Surface Pro 8
When the device starts, it will load the main screen of your distribution. In this case, you have to do the installation normally as if it were a computer. If you select distributions like Ubuntu that allow you to run it live, it is recommended that you do this to test the system before installing it.
Once you touch the system partitions, there is no going back.
Microsoft’s devices as well as Apple devices have a successful business model that is in part due to the operating system that runs them. Proof of this is the Surface Pro 8, which is shaping up to be a versatile device that we can install Linux on. The procedure is not as complicated as it seems, but the results are sometimes not what we expect.
Thanks for reading.