Exchange 2003 and the new Surface Pro Windows 8 Mail App

Posted on 2013-10-30
Last Modified: 2013-11-18
My boss just got one of these new Surface Pro 2 tablets.  I cannot seem to configure the mail client on it and I have been all over the Internet looking for clues.

Does anyone know anything tricks or secrets to setting up an email client on this new OS.  My back-end server is Exchange 2003.  I have mobile email as well as OWA turned on.

Any and all help is GREATLY appreciated.  I've been at it for over 2 hours and could really use some pointers.
Question by:fabi2004
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 39613715

Are you using a 3rd party SSL or self signed? This may be your issue, as it should work with Exchange 2003 no problem.

Does your OWA URL report any issues at under the Exchange ActiveSync test?
LVL 26

Expert Comment

by:Tony Johncock
ID: 39613721
Hi there

There does seem to be an awful lot of mixed messages and misinformation out there with regard to surface and surface 2 devices and Exchange.

One thing that does seem to come up very often is the use of self-signed certificates. It appears if you use them and allow Surface to install to the default location it won't work - you  need to install to the trusted certs location.

Also, there are some step-by-step instructions from MS here:

Author Comment

ID: 39617989
Hi netflo and thank you for responding.  I do not have SSL setup.  I usually have to uncheck that option when configuring mobile devices, however, the Surface does not give that option.  The website reports that I do not have ActiveSync turned on.  I didn't think I did.  But I've never needed it for OWA or for mobile devices and I can connect to OWA fine using a browser on the Surface.

Hi Tony104, I am not using certs at all.  

BTW...I spent over two hours on the phone with MS a couple of days ago and they were not able to figure this out either.   :-(  I'm supposed to call them back -'s such a beating.

I am willing to explore other options for getting email on these new Surface 2s.  They belong to two of our O-levels.  So if I have to reconfigure the Exchange server to get it done, then that's an optional path.

I appreciate any ideas and suggestions!
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LVL 18

Accepted Solution

Netflo earned 500 total points
ID: 39618975
Have a look at this article for the SSL setup on your Exchange server:

I would recommend shopping around for an SSL certificate, I would recommend GoDaddy as they are relatively inexpensive. You're after a single domain standard SSL cert:

Get that going first and then test again via

Author Comment

ID: 39618987
Is there no way to get email on the this Surface Pro 2 without setting up SSL on the Exchange server?
LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 39619000
Typically you would have a SSL connection to your server, it's deemed as secure this way. Even if you had an SBS, it would create a self signed cert for you.

Again just to reiterate, for the relatively small cost, it's worth having and then not worrying about.

Author Comment

ID: 39619074
Yes, but if I set up SSL on the server that means I have reconfigure 70 mobile devices, one by one.  If there is a way to connect with Surface Pro 2 Mail App without using SSL, like there is on smartphones, then that would be a much better option.  Even if I had to use a different mail app or possibly RPCP over HTTP?  I don't know, I'm certainly open to suggestions but need to minimize the work load involved in getting 2 of these new Surface tablets up and running with corporate email.

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