Finally, Turn Off That Surface Home Button

Right now, the Surface Pro 3 is probably my favorite computing device.1 It's the right size for a tablet. Small and light enough to be very portable, but sporting a screen that is big and high-res enough for working, drawing, or watching movies. The aspect ratio is just right: it's perfect for comic books, wide enough for movies, but still tall enough for productivity apps.

The battery usually lasts through a day, the device has a fantastic pressure-sensitive pen, it's fast enough for most gaming needs, and the kickstand is pure genius. The keyboard cover is fantastic, and can easily be removed to turn the Surface into a "real" tablet. It's also quiet and looks good. The Metro apps work perfectly on the touchscreen, but if needed, the Surface also runs regular Windows apps. It's open, so there's nobody intentionally scaring developers into not creating innovative new apps for it.

In short, I love using my Surface Pro 3. This is what the iPad should have been, and what the iPad needs to become, if Apple wants to reverse its sales trend: a tablet that's more than just a big phone without the phone parts.

The only major issue I still had with my Surface was its Home button, which is positioned exactly where you put your palm when drawing, and which triggers on touch, because it's a capacitive button.

Well, this morning, I had an email from Bardi Golriz in my inbox, with a link to the Surface Hub app.

Install it on your Surface, launch it, and you get this setting:

A toggle that turns off the Home button

Yep, it's finally possible to turn off the Home button. Weirdly, the button still vibrates when touched, but at least it doesn't actually do anything anymore.

Thanks, Microsoft! Next time, put in a real button.


My Surface forgets that I've turned off the home button every time it sleeps. Restarting the Surface turns the button off — until the next time I let it go to sleep. I wasn't kidding about putting in a real button for the next Surface.

  1. Proving the old adage that Microsoft requires three attempts to get anything right. ↩︎

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