Connecting Windows RT to your Exchange Mailbox

I’ve been observing some issues recently, where folks are having extra trouble setting up an Exchange mailbox on Microsoft Surface RT tablets/laptops/devices (whatever you want to label them).  Personally, I’ve not experienced problems, and it works great for both hosted and on-premise Exchange servers.  What I’ve identified is that if the end-users are attempting to configure it themselves they forget to look at the extra details page for setting it up.

So, here’s a quick walk-through for setting up an Exchange Mailbox for the Microsoft Surface.

1. First, make sure that ActiveSync is enabled for the user’s mailbox.  If not, enable it.

2. Grab the Username, Exchange domain, and Server address information that will be required as input.

3. On the Microsoft Surface, open the People Hub.  (you can perform this same procedure in the Surface RT mail app, but getting the user comfortable with the People Hub is good practice)

4. Once the People Hub opens, tap the “Connected To” spot at the top right.

Access accounts

5. When “Accounts” window slides in, choose “Add an account”.

Add account

6. Choose the “Outlook (Exchange, Office 365,” option.

Choose Outlook

7. When the “Add your Outlook Account” window displays, tap the “Show more details” option.

More settings

8. When the additional details fields display, enter the user’s information that you gathered earlier…

Email Address: The full email address.
Server Address: The Exchange Proxy Server.
Domain: The Exchange Domain.  (Alternatively, leave Domain blank and enter your full email address as Username)
Username: The Exchange Username.
Password: The mailbox password.

Exchange server info

9. Tap the “Connect” button.

10. You will be prompted to accept the security policy. Tap Enforce these policies as this is required to connect the account.

Enforce secure policies


You are now connected and Exchange mail will work on the Microsoft Surface.  The basics, email, contacts, and calendar will now sync with the device.  If you need tasks and notes to sync, you’ll need to look at a 3rd party solution for Surface RT.  Nitrodesk has released Touchdown (already famous on Android devices) that gives full sync capability for email, contacts, calendar, AND tasks and notes.  And, the interface is exceptional.

The price tag is a bit high for a Windows Store app, though, coming in at $19.99 per device, but when execs start complaining about Surface RT’s poor email handling capabilities, a $20 app will prove it’s value right away.

Check out Touchdown…

TouchDown app for Windows in the Windows Store



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