Surface RT and Surface 2 USB to Ethernet Connection

Tags: Windows 8.1, Surface RT, Surface 2, Surface

My company has a very secure WiFi connection. Part of that security comes at a cost though. We can’t do remote debugging of the NOOK for Windows 8 app over WiFi. As many of you know the Surface RT and Surface 2 don’t have an Ethernet port. Under Windows 8 there was a single USB to Ethernet device that you could use, and it worked well. Microsoft asked people hosting that ARM based driver to remove it, and Windows 8.1 appears to be purposely blocking that connection.

I received notice today that Microsoft supports USB to Ethernet connectors on Windows 8.1 for the Surface RT and Surface 2 in box. I have tried this with the official Surface connector that Microsoft sells as well as the Linksys USB 300M that we were using before and they both work. The trick is that you have to manually install the drivers. Here are the steps:

  1. Plug the USB to Ethernet connector in and wait for installation to fail.
  2. Open Device Manager and find the device that has failed.
  3. Right click on it and choose “Update Driver” from the context menu.
  4. Select “Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer”
  5. Select Network Adapters from the type of device list.
  6. For the Microsoft USB to Ethernet adapter select Realtek from the left hand side and choose the only option on the right.
    For the Linksys USB 300M or compatible device select ASIX from the left and ASIX 88772C from the right hand list.
  7. Accept the compatibility warning and then you should have network connection!

I’d like to thank Andy Rathbone (a fellow MVP) and Paul Thurrott for helping out with this information and instructions.

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