Top Surface tip: Find the hidden rotation lock


Paul Thurrott posted this useful tip on his WinSupersite.

The Surface tablet lacks a rotation lock button, and the location of the switch is not that obvious.

To lock the rotation of the screen, open the Charms > Settings > Screen and find the rotation lock switch on top of the brightness slider.

A bit of an odd place to find it – hopefully Microsoft will make it more obvious in a future update.


  • tN0

    Not obvious? There is the word “Screen” and a lock icon. I think this implementation and position is fine.

    Also cool little detail is that to change the brightness or volume you can simply swipe the icons up or down. You don’t have to wait to open the pop-up controls.

    • Bill Lee

      Awesome: I didn’t realize the thing about the volume and brightness but it works brilliantly. Also, this is with a Samsung series 7 slate, not a Surface.

    • Smity Smiter

      that could imply “Screen Lock / Lockscreen”.. But the rotaion lock would be the rectangle icon with a 2-headed curved arrow, above that brightness control slider.

  • Lasp24

    it would have been nice to access that from any screen at all times, I dont want to go into the settings everytime I watch a movie, then play a game, then work etc.

    • alukard

      The charms menu can be accessed anytime in any app, that’s the point.

      • Lasp24

        oh, well thats great then HAHA Microsoft is just perfect

  • Bugbog

    Whilst not ideal, it isn’t a poor placement. However it’s attachment to the brightness slider is.

    It would have been better if it had its own icon. I’ve found that I tend to adjust the brightness more often than not when trying to hit the lock icon!

  • jack frost

    found it from day one… also I had to tell Paul the you can watch TWIT on the surface hey were saying that you can’t on windows weekly.

  • rsgx

    What I’ve noticed, is that as soon as you have the keyboard out in front of the screen, the lock rotation option is greyed out – as soon as you flip the keyboard back, it gets enabled again.

    Very clever.

  • sepatown

    Anybody that followed Building Windows 8 should know about this. I’m surprised even Paul T didn’t figure this out (he was tipped about this) and he’s been using the Samsung Series 7 slate. This is old news

  • oly1

    I am finding that I never use the surface In portrait mode.

    • SouthDallas40

      Same Here

  • voodoo_lady

    I bet this is not just a “Surface tip”, but applies to other Windows RT tablets as well? There are other RT tablets than Surface, you know 😉

    • alukard

      yes its a general tip, but Surface is the high profile device right now, cant blame its mention.

      • voodoo_lady

        I’m really not blaming the mention, surface is most likely a great device. I bought the Asus VivoTab though (Surface is not available here). The great thing about Windows RT is that the OS experience is exactly the same between different devices, whereas For example Android can be a bit confusing and inconsistent if you switch from HTC to Sony or Asus. Therefore I think it would be good to call it a Windows RT tip rather than Surface.

  • Myclevername

    Windows key + L

  • Qdome

    Brightness adjustment is a pretty common need. While the way it functions seems smart, the actual setting should be able to be pinned to the Charms menu or as a tile. Reducing clicks (or swipes) is always the goal of better design. This feature (and most other preference settings) should be able to be accessed where the user wants/needs to access them, rather than dictated by the OS.