Microsoft’s Surface Pro lets you load an alternative operating system, by turning off Secure Boot


Surface Pro

In a Reddit “ask me almost anything” question and answer session, Microsoft’s Surface team answered a barrage of questions regarding the upcoming Surface Pro device. One of the questions asked was in regards to installing any other operating system on the Surface Pro. Microsoft’s answer? You can do it!

“For the Surface Pro….is the boot loader unlocked? Can I do what I want with my (potential) property? Or am I locked in to Windows 8?” a question that Microsoft’s Surface team was asked. Microsoft suggested turning off secure boot in the device’s BIOS to load any other operating system. “Like other Windows 8 machines, you can access BIOS settings and turn off secure boot, enabling you to load other OSes,” Microsoft replied. For those who are not familiar with Secure Boot, the idea is pretty simple. Since the boot process is vulnerable to attacks or malicious loaders due to the fact that they can remain undetected to the operating system security measures and anti-malware software, Secure Boot ensures that only properly signed and authenticated components are allowed to execute. In other words, the system knows what files are being loaded by Windows 8 before you even reach the login screen.

This is great news and opens up a wide variety of possibilities for the hacker/developer community. While it should come as no surprise, considering that the Surface Pro is a full fledged computer, just in a different form factor, the ability to have a different operating system should be well accepted by those who want to use something other than Windows 8. It will be interesting to see what sorts of reports and videos surface (no pun attended) showing the Surface Pro running Linux or any other operating system aside from Windows 8.