Frustrated. That's how I felt last night after receiving a shipment of new Microsoft Surface Pros and trying to set the first one up.

The Surfaces arrived with a bootstrap for a Windows 8.1 Enterprise image to install, and it used the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2013 to finish up the installation on first boot. During the installation it requested a password to setup the local Administrator account so it could successfully complete the installation. After the installation completed and the Surface restarted, I was able to login and get started. Or, so I thought.

One of the first things to do after this type of installation is to associate the Surface with a Microsoft account. This is key because without it, you can't connect with SkyDrive which means your cross-device settings will not sync and a multitude of apps will not work. However, after attempting to associate the account, I was confronted with this error…

We're sorry, but something went wrong. This user wasn't added to this PC. Error: 0x800b0101

This is a pretty generic error message with no additional explanation. Searching online I was able to locate others who had experienced the problem, but, surprisingly, there exists no true solution. There were instances where MSFT offered steps to troubleshoot, but all of the threads were open-ended and no working solutions were available. So, I went through the normal procedures of emailing Microsoft support and then shutting the Surface down to wait for a response (which can take days, btw).

I let the Surface sit for an hour or so until I just couldn't take it anymore. I hate when a task isn't completed. My plate stays pretty full, as it is, and adding another, uncompleted task means rearranging my schedule and potentially missing a deadline. So, I picked up the Surface and decided to dig in a little further to see if I could locate the problem. After another 15 minutes I came upon the problem and the fix.

Windows 8.1 Enterprise assumes that you will connect to a domain immediately after installation and restart and, in doing so, will connect with the domain controller and sync the date and time. At the time, I had no domain available to which the Surface could connect. The image that came preinstalled on this Surface shipment was created in September 2013. I'm a bit ashamed that it took me so long to determine the actual problem, but since the Surface could not access a domain on first login, it had no way of synching the date and time to the proper setting. The date was 2 months in the past, and the time was 2 hours off.

So, I manually set the date and time and the Microsoft Account association was immediately successful.