Installing Windows 8 Enterprise on the Microsoft Surface Pro for DirectAccess

Recently I wrote about the fact that the Microsoft Surface Pro is not supported as a DirectAccess client, because it ships with Windows 8 Professional pre-installed. Only Windows 8 Enterprise (and Windows 7 Enterprise and Ultimate) are supported for DirectAccess. However, that doesn’t mean that the Surface Pro will never support DirectAccess. I simply meant to state that the Surface Pro didn’t support DirectAccess out-of-the-box. That said, using your Surface Pro with DirectAccess will require installing Windows 8 Enterprise edition. Thankfully my good friend Kurt Shintaku documented in detail the steps required to accomplish this. Once you’ve completed these steps you should be able to join your Surface Pro to a domain and enable it as a DirectAccess client just like any other Windows 8 Enterprise device. Have fun!

Update: Read my post on how to install Windows 8 Enterprise and configure DirectAccess on the Microsoft Surface Pro here.

DirectAccess and the Microsoft Surface Pro

With the recent release of the Microsoft Surface Pro, many people have been asking me about DirectAccess connectivity for these devices. One of the requirements for DirectAccess connectivity is that the device be joined to a domain, a capability that the Surface RT lacked. Although the Surface Pro runs the full version of Windows 8, it is Windows 8 Professional. Sadly, DirectAccess connectivity is only supported for Windows 8 Enterprise edition clients, along with Windows 7 Enterprise and Ultimate editions.

Windows Server 2012 DirectAccess Client Requirements

So, if you have just purchased a new Microsoft Surface Pro and are hoping to configure it as a DirectAccess client, I’m afraid you’re out of luck. In my opinion, the lack of DirectAccess support for Windows 8 and Windows 7 Professional is a serious flaw, especially when you consider all of the great use cases you can imagine when you have a full featured tablet with always-on, secure remote network connectivity. It’s a shame, really. Let’s hope this changes in the future!

Update: Read my post on how to install Windows 8 Enterprise and configure DirectAccess on the Microsoft Surface Pro here.

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