Surface 3 not Windows 10 compatible yet, warns Microsoft

May 11, 2015 // 11:15 a.m.

Tags: #atom #barb-bowman #intel #surface-3 #tablet #windows-10 #windows-10-technical-prev #windows-10-technical-preview #windows-insiders

Microsoft has warned buyers of the newly-released Surface 3 family of tablets to avoid installing the Windows 10 Technical Preview release, as optimised drivers for its Atom processor are not yet available.

Available for free download under Microsoft's new Windows Insiders programme, the Windows 10 Technical Preview allows both end-users and developers to try out the company's upcoming operating system ahead of its launch in the summer. As well as support for desktop and laptop systems, Windows 10 Technical Preview is available for selected smartphones and non-RT Windows 8.1 tablet devices. This should, in theory, include the new Surface 3, launched late last week, which ditches the ARM chip and cut-down Windows RT of its predecessors in favour of an Intel Atom processor and a full-fat Windows 8.1 installation.

Unfortunately, that's not the case - yet, anyway. In a warning on the Microsoft Community site last week, community moderator Barb Bowman stated that users should not attempt to upgrade their shiny new Surface 3 tablets to Windows 10 or risk an unusable device. 'There are no drivers in the [Technical] Preview Build because Intel has not yet provided drivers,' Bowman explained. 'There are no drivers for the Intel x5/x7 Atom processors. There is no block/check for these processors in current builds,' she added, meaning that the Windows 10 Technical Preview will install without warning the user of the problem, only to suffer from extremely poor performance owing to the use of generic drivers.

'Timing of availability for drivers is unknown,' Bowman warned, 'as Intel is still working on the needed drivers for the new chipset and processors.' Although Windows 8.1 drivers are available for the Atom processors used in the Surface 3 family, these are not installable under Windows 10. Anyone who has upgraded to the Windows 10 Technical Preview only to find their Surface 3 unusable should use the system recovery tool or a bootable USB stick to return to Windows 8.1, then try again following Intel's release of compatible drivers.
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