Microsoft Surface RT (microsoft-surface-rt)

From postmarketOS Wiki

Released in 2012, the Surface RT was the first tablet and personal computer developed and manufactured by Microsoft. It ran on the extremely limited version of Windows, known as Windows RT 8, and that was its downfall, leading to eventual discontinuation in late 2013. Despite this, a community emerged to make the Surface RT more usable via jailbreaking and bypassing secure boot, allowing other armhf apps and even other Operating Systems such as postmarketOS to run.


Microsoft Surface RT
Surface RT with the XFCE Desktop
Surface RT with the XFCE Desktop
Manufacturer Microsoft
Name Surface RT
Codename microsoft-surface-rt
Released 2012
Category community
Pre-built images yes
Original software Windows RT
Original version 8
Extended version 8.1 Update 3
Hardware
Chipset Nvidia Tegra 3 (T30)
CPU 4x ARM Cortex-A9 @ 1300Mhz
GPU Nvidia GeForce ULP @ 420Mhz
Display 1366x768 IPS
Storage 32 / 64 GB
Memory 2 GB
Architecture ARMv7
Type tablet
Features
Touchscreen
Works
Display
Works
WiFi
Works
FDE
Works
Mainline
Works
Battery
Works
3D Acceleration
Partial
Audio
Partial
Bluetooth
Broken
Camera
Broken
Internal storage
Works
Sensors
Accelerometer
Works
Magnetometer
Works
Ambient Light
Works
Hall Effect
Works
Misc
Keyboard
Works
Touchpad
Works
USB-A
Works
HDMI/DP
Works
Memory Card
Works
Haptics
Works
U-Boot
Primary Bootloader
Partial
Secondary Bootloader
Partial
Mainline
Works
Internal Storage
Works
SD card
Works
USB Host
USB Peripheral
Works
Display
Works
Keyboard
Broken
Buttons
Works
This device is based on the Tegra 3.
See the SoC page for common tips, guides and troubleshooting steps
Note NOTE: Deep suspend does not work on this device.


How to boot from USB

  1. Turn Off device
  2. Plug in USB Drive
  3. Hold the volume down button
  4. Press the power button for a second
  5. Wait until the surface logo appears
  6. Release volume down

Installation

Preparation

Enable test signing and install yahallo to disable secure boot.

See the instruction on OpenRT GitBook.

Note Note: Device can't boot from a SD card. Boot with a USB storage.

Installation on USB storage

Unpack and flash a pre-built image to USB.

Edge Images

Or

24.06 Images

Installation on eMMC

Install pmOS on USB firstly. Boot into it, connect to internet and perform:

$ sudo apk add pmbootstrap
$ pmbootstrap init # select "microsoft" vendor and "surface-rt" codename 
$ pmbootstrap install --disk /dev/mmcblk0 --no-sshd # add --fde if you want FUll Disk Encryption

For the best experience, use "xfce4" for your desktop environment

Sometimes you will get an error with exit code 1 or 2. If you do, try installing to eMMC with Pmbootstrap again.

If it gets stuck at the same error over and over again, download a new image and flash your USB using the new image and try again.

WiFi

The WiFi firmware will go to sleep and break after some time (12 hours or less) with driver log talking about command timeout. The WiFi interface (mlan0) will vanish and trying to unload and reload the driver will block forever at trying to unload it. So the only way to recover is to hard reset.

It seems this can be avoided by disabling power management on the WiFi device. With NetworkManager this is nmcli connection modify <SSID> 802-11-wireless.powersave disable, otherwise iw dev mlan0 set power_save off

If this isn't enough, another thing to try is to disable and re-enable the WiFi device every so often through a cronjob:

>/etc/periodic/hourly/reset-wifi cat <<EOF
#!/bin/sh

ip link set mlan0 down
ip link set mlan0 up
EOF
chmod +x /etc/periodic/hourly/reset-wifi
service crond start
rc-update add crond default

Sound

All outputs (speakers, headphones, HDMI) work, but mics are not supported for now.

U-Boot

APX booting can be performed using generic Nvidia Tegra armv7 device port.

Other Issues

  • Shutdown/Reboot does not work properly

When the device is told to power off in the "Power menu", the device seems to never fully power off and ends up on a black screen until the user presses the power button. (Currently only tested on XFCE4, Results could vary)

  • Keyboard Issues (Microsoft Surface Keyboard Model 1535 and 1561)

The Super key (Windows key) seems to currently do nothing even when the keyboard preset is set to the "Surface Keyboard" preset. (Also currently tested on XFCE4, Results could vary)

  • Onboard Issues
   Onboard (The On-Screen Keyboard) currently only works on the lock screen. At this time, there is no way to get it working.

(Also currently tested on XFCE4, Results could vary)


Users owning this device


See also