So while out today I found a Windows RT Surface for $25

I had to pay another $15 for the charger.  I should have run away, but I’m a sucker.

Yes, there are basically NO apps, but thanks to this little guide

QuakeWorld on Windows RT

I was able to port over some trivial stuff, the usual things like hello world, Infocom Interpreter, a f2c build of Dungeon, then I went with something I’d been messing around an old GDI driver for WinQuake that builds with the NT 3.5 SDK (finally got it!).  So with a few minor tweeks here it is cross compiled from my x86_64 to the surface.

Last time I talked about the Surface was nearly 6 years ago…  The platform’s fate was pretty much sealed on day one.  With no open Win32 API it shunned traditional devs, and with some completely new and insane model it was such a hurdle for new devs, why put so much effort into such an old tired company like Microsoft?

I figured for the price of a good lunch it’d be a fun toy.

Too bad the speakers don’t work though.

I know the window on Windows 8.1 apps is closing soon.  I should put something together for the dead platform.  Maybe for phone too.  But for tonight, it was kinda fun doing a copy/paste attack to then run unsigned EXE’s on the device.

I might upload the tool chain later, but at the moment getting Visual Studio 2012 Ultimate is a breeze.

6 thoughts on “So while out today I found a Windows RT Surface for $25

  1. I assume this is Windows 8.0 not 8.1? I thought only 8.0 would allow unsigned Win32 apps to run, and 8.0 is no longer being patched/updated? If my memory is right, you might want to take steps to ensure it never upgrades itself to 8.1.

    • I went through all kinds of hell trying to scrape a small enough storage to re-load the OS in English. Oddly enough the only North American version of RT I could find was 8.0. I guess it was that way for a reason.

      • I recently tried resurrecting mine at the beginning of the year and jumping through the 8.1 upgrade (Windows updates took about 2 days!). In the end, it turned out one of the updates pushed out to 8.1 ends up killing the system (KB3033055) and the only option was to start over again!

        I gave up after that.

        • I think I’m going to leave mine at 8.0 …

          It took me about 2 hours to find a small enough flash drive to format to FAT32 to restore the 8.0 image to. If your surface boots at all it’s an option to change to select the boot device. As long as your OS is signed you are good to go…. 🙂

          Surprisingly the Surface RT 8.0 North recovery file is still available @ Microsoft.

          It was easy enough, with a translate OCR app in one hand I went through the simplified Chinese menus to select a repair/reboot thing to USB, and waited for this incredibly slow thing to do it’s job. It took well over 90 minutes, but I suspect it’s the ancient USB stick I have. I erased and tossed all the small stuff as 4-16GB is just too impractical these days.. The smallest I usually have is 128GB but that is FAR too big for Fat32. sigh what a nightmare!

          I don’t know if there really is any point to an obsolete ARM desktop at this point… A Windows Phone running 10 is about a billion times more useful. I didn’t realize that browser tech had changed so much in the last 6 years. None of my favorite javascript sites (Scripted Amiga,WipEout PSX Model Viewer) will run.

          If my speakers worked it’d be a movie/music player but it feels silly needing a Bluetooth set as the headphone jack doesn’t work either.

  2. “The smallest I usually have is 128GB but that is FAR too big for Fat32. sigh what a nightmare!”

    I’m no expert, and I don’t fully understand the details of what you’re trying to do. Especially Windows installations, I have almost no experience there.

    But what exactly is the problem? IIRC, Windows won’t format a FAT32 partition larger than 32 GB, but of course FAT32 supports up to 2 TB, right? So just use a different OS (Linux or even FreeDOS, maybe?) to partition first. I don’t know why it would be a problem otherwise. I think Windows can read larger FAT32 drives fine, but their alleged excuse for that formatting limitation (back in the day) was something like, “Oh, well, MS-DOS keeps the FAT in conventional memory, and it becomes very very slow with larger FAT32 partitions.” (Which is irrelevant in this day and age, sadly. I don’t think Win10 even comes with system floppy image anymore. Obviously Vista on up won’t boot from FAT anymore either, due to “security reasons”.)

    Or is it some other limitation or bug that I’m misunderstanding?

    • I was trying to re-load Windows RT. it wouldn’t format a 128GB flash drive as FAT32. I eventually found an old 4GB stick that worked fine.

      I don’t know what Windows RT 8.0’s issue is, but it didn’t work.

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