April 6, 2009
Last week I needed to completely reset my surface unit back to factory settings due to erratic behavior (mostly in VS 2008). I followed the docs on the process Microsoft released in their SDK, but I had a couple of hiccups I thought I would share with you.
1. When you restart your surface you will want to hit your delete key once a second when the bios screen appears. Then when that screen changes you will want to hit F8. For some reason I had difficulty timing these key strokes.
2. you will need to switch from the X: drive to the C: drive to run the recovery.cmd command. Believe it or not, I tried cd C:\ to switch drives. I haven’t needed to switch drives in a long time in a command window. The proper way to switch drives is to type in just C:\ without the cd part. How embarrassing.
3. I know some threads on the Surface forum suggest that you might need a “secret” password to do this (maybe I misread them), however I found out from Josh (Surface guy at Microsoft who really knows his stuff) that this password is only needed for more advanced bios stuff. He didn’t detail what that was exactly, but restoring my surface unit wasn’t one of them.
Other than these hiccups the restore went quite smooth and relatively quickly if you follow the docs Microsoft provides.
April 6, 2009
I tried my first attempt at running an application in user mode yesterday and learned a couple of things. You can find both of these things in the documentation, but who actually reads the docs? If you want to test out an application in user mode, but don’t feel like going through creating and copying the xml file to the proper folder, there is a way around this. I copied the exe file into the “T” users Documents folder (anywhere else would work to). Then I clicked on the “Enter User Mode” shortcut which you have on an administrator account. Once you have been switched over to user mode then hit “Ctrl-Shift-Esc.” At this point you will see the task manager, which will allow you to browse to and start the exe you saved earlier. Simply hit Ctrl-Alt-Del to get back to Admin mode. If you try to switch to user mode and you get an error message that says something like “object is in an incorrect state” (or something like that, I can’t remember it exactly). You probably changed your table user account password. To fix this problem you need to use SurfUser.exe. Change the directory in your command line to the folder containing the surfuser.exe executable and run the surfuser regen command. The surfuser app will regenerate and register that new password with the system for the default table user account. You can change the default password for the table user account, but you must use the surfuser app to do this. The docs will tell you how to go about this.
P.S. Don’t forget to make sure the bios on your surface unit is updated to the latest version which at the time of this writing is 0206. See “BIOS updates for a microsoft surface unit” in the SDK docs for further details.
March 24, 2009
When I first started learning Surface I quickly realized how to turn a WPF app into a surface app. Basically, I did a search and replace for each control in the WPF app that has a matching control in Surface such as Button and TextBox. By doing simple replacements I was able to get a surface app up and running quickly. However, I recently learned a way to really extend this method.
All you need to do is edit the control template for the particular WPF control (that doesn’t have a surface twin) and in the template convert all instances of Button into s:SurfaceButton, all instances of Slider into s:SurfaceSlider, and the Thumb into s:SurfaceThumb, etc.. Just make sure you change both the controls themselves, as well as the control styles (for instance, if the first control in the template is a <Button> and it has a <Button.Style>, so change this to <s:SurfaceButton> and <s:SurfaceButton.Style>).
See my previous blog post for a way to get at the entire default control template for editing.
March 23, 2009
The ScatterViewItem is a very useful way to get the “surface feel” into your apps very quickly. However it is likely you will want to customize how your ScatterViewItem looks and reacts to user input. The following steps will help you customize it to your hearts content. This procedure could be applied generally to any other control as well.
1. Create a WPF application in Visual Studio, add a ScatterView and ScatterViewItem. Save the project.
2. Open project in Expression Blend.
3. Under Objects and Timeline, right click on the ScatterViewItem control, select Edit Control Parts (Template) -> Edit a Copy…
4. Give it a new name like ‘ScatterViewItem_Customized’ and click OK.
5. Save the project and return to VS. VS will prompt you to reload changed files.
6. Now you will have the entire default control template to modify to your hearts content.