DirectAccess on the Microsoft Surface Pro?

UPDATE: Now you can use DirectAccess via Celestix SecureAccess (DirectAccess) Client on Surface Pro. For more information please visit

As a Surface Pro owner, I have to say that I really love it. I owned the original Surface Pro for many years, and while the battery life was less than stellar, I enjoyed the ease of use and flexibility it provided. I recently upgraded to the Surface Pro 3 and honestly, I think that Microsoft really got this one right. It has a generous screen size, a proper (optional) keyboard, and excellent battery life. Also, with a powerful Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD, I no longer travel with my laptop. It even has a USB 3.0 port and a MicroSD slot. The Surface Pro is now the only device I carry. I even have Hyper-V installed on it with a fully self-contained DirectAccess lab for customer demonstrations and testing! It really is an incredible device.

One question I am frequently asked is “Does the Microsoft Surface Pro support DirectAccess?” Unfortunately, in its out-of-the-box configuration, it does not. The Surface Pro ships with Windows 8.1 Professional pre-installed, which does not support DirectAccess. The only supported clients for DirectAccess are Windows 7 Enterprise or Ultimate, or Windows 8.x Enterprise.

That doesn’t mean that the Surface Pro will never work as a DirectAccess client though! To configure the Surface Pro to support DirectAccess you’ll need to upgrade the device to Windows 8.1 Enterprise. This can be done in a variety of ways. The easiest method is to simply mount the Windows 8.1 Enterprise media and run an in-place upgrade. I’ve done that countless times and it works like a charm.

For large organizations, interested in deploying the Microsoft Surface Pro with DirectAccess, I’d suggest reviewing the Microsoft Surface Pro Enterprise Deployment Quick Start Guide. This guide contains valuable information for deploying Surface Pro in the enterprise using a variety of different methods including local installation, network installation, and System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). Once you’ve deployed the Surface Pro with Windows 8.1 Enterprise you can configure them for DirectAccess as you would any other machine. You can then enjoy the power and flexibility that the Surface Pro offers, together with the seamless and transparent, always on remote network connectivity that DirectAccess provides. It’s definitely the best of both worlds!

DirectAccess is one of the features in Celestix Edge E Series Appliance.

UPDATE: Now you can use DirectAccess via Celestix SecureAccess (DirectAccess) Client on Surface Pro. For more information please visit

For further information, call us at +1 (510) 668 0700 or email us at [email protected].

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