What to do if Surface is running slower

Operating system:

If your Surface isn't running as quickly as it once did, try these tips to pinpoint and solve the problem.


Use top Windows tips to improve the performance of your Surface

If your Surface is slow, go to Tips to improve PC performance in Windows 10  to learn how to help improve the performance of your Surface.

Plug in and let your Surface cool down

Your Surface may be too hot. Move your Surface to a cooler spot, wait five minutes, and see if it runs faster. When possible, plug in your Surface.

If you are running a memory-intensive app, such as streaming video or playing a game, try closing it for a few minutes. That may cool your Surface down.

Restart your Surface

Go to Start , and select Power > Restart.

Identify hardware issues

To help identify specific hardware-related problems on your Surface, try running the following tools that are built into Windows.

Windows Memory Diagnostic tool

Run the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool to determine whether your Surface memory is working properly.

Step 1: Select the search box in the taskbar, enter memory, and from the search results, select Windows Memory Diagnostic.
Step 2: Select Restart now and check for problems (recommended).
When your Surface restarts, the diagnostic tool will run and display the test status on the screen. Although the test may appear inactive, it’s still running. Windows will restart automatically after the test is complete.

If the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool finds any errors, contact us.

Error Checking tool

Run the Error Checking tool to scan for errors on your hard drive.

Step 1: Open File Explorer in the taskbar and select This PC.
Step 2: Press and hold (or right-click) Windows (C:) and select Properties.
Step 3: Select the Tools tab, and under Error checking, select Check.
Follow the on-screen instructions.

If the Error Checking tool finds any errors, contact us.


If your Surface isn't running as quickly as it once did, here are some tips to help pinpoint and solve the problem.


Solution 1: Restart Surface

Sometimes, a simple restart is all that's needed to get your Surface running quickly again.

  • Go to Start Windows logo key, and select Power > Restart.

If your Surface still runs slowly, try Solution 2.

Solution 2: Close any unnecessary apps

Running multiple apps simultaneously can affect performance. Close any that aren’t critical to have open, and see if your Surface runs faster as a result.

If your Surface still runs slowly, try Solution 3.

Solution 3: Try multiple apps

Try running different apps to see if your Surface continues to run slowly. If the problem seems to be limited to one app, see Troubleshoot problems with an app.

If your Surface runs more slowly no matter what apps you have running, try Solution 4.

Solution 4: Install Surface and Windows updates

You may not have the most recent updates applied to your Surface. This can affect performance. Here’s how to check the update status:

Step 1:  Go to Start Windows logo key, and select PC Settings.
Step 2:  Select Update and recovery > Windows Update > Check now.
Step 3:  If updates are available, select View details.
Step 4:  Select the updates you want to install, and select Install.
You may need to restart your Surface after the updates have installed.

If your Surface still runs slowly, try Solution 5.

Solution 5: Check for low disk space and make some room

You may be able to improve performance if you free up some disk space on your Surface. For more info, see Tips to free up drive space on your PC.

If your Surface still runs slowly after you free up disk space, try Solution 6.

Solution 6: Let Surface cool down

Your Surface may be too hot. Move your Surface to a cooler spot, wait five minutes, and see if it runs faster.

If you are running a memory-intensive app, such as streaming video or playing a game, try closing it for a few minutes. That may cool your Surface down.

If your Surface still runs slowly, try Solution 7.

Solution 7: Refresh or reset Surface

If you think an app or driver that you recently installed may have caused problems with your Surface, you may be able to get things running normally again by refreshing or resetting your Surface (in that order).

Refresh Surface

Refreshing your Surface reinstalls Windows and keeps your personal files, settings, apps that came installed on your Surface, and apps you installed from the Windows Store. Desktop apps you installed on Surface will be deleted, but you can reinstall them after refreshing your Surface.

Note
If you upgraded your Surface from Windows RT 8.1 to Windows 8.1 RT Update 3, a refresh will reinstall Windows RT 8.1 and apps that came installed on your Surface. Your other apps and settings will be gone. You can reinstall them after the refresh is complete. You’ll need to reinstall Windows 8.1 RT Update 3.

If refreshing your Surface doesn't resolve the problem, reset your Surface.

Reset Surface

Resetting your Surface reinstalls Windows but removes your personal files, settings and apps that did not come installed on your Surface. Reset keeps the apps that came installed on your Surface.

Note
If you upgraded your Surface from Windows RT 8.1 to Windows 8.1 RT Update 3, a reset will reinstall Windows RT 8.1. You’ll need to reinstall Windows 8.1 RT Update 3.

For detailed how-to info, see Refresh or reset Surface RT or Surface 2.

After you've refreshed or reset your Surface, check to see if its performance is better. If your Surface still doesn't run as quickly as it once did, it needs service. See Get my Surface fixed.


If your Surface isn't running as quickly as it once did, here are some things to try to help pinpoint and solve the problem.


Solution 1: Restart Surface

Sometimes, a simple restart is all that's needed to get Surface running quickly again.

Step 1:  On the Start screen, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, then tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down and then click Settings.)
Step 2:  Tap or click Power, then tap or click Restart.

If Surface still runs slowly, try Solution 2.

Solution 2: Close any unnecessary desktop apps

Running multiple desktop apps simultaneously can affect performance. Close any that aren’t critical to have open, and see if Surface runs faster as a result.

If Surface still runs slowly, try Solution 3.

Solution 3: Try multiple apps

Try running different apps to see if Surface continues to run slowly. If the problem seems to be limited to one app, see Troubleshoot problems with an app.

If Surface runs more slowly no matter what apps you have running, try Solution 4.

Solution 4: Install Surface and Windows updates

You may not have the most recent updates applied to your Surface. This can affect performance. Here’s how to check the update status:

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, then tap Settings.
(If you’re using a mouse, point to the bottom-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, then click Settings.)
Step 2:  Tap or click Change PC settings, tap or click Update and recovery, then tap or click Windows Update.
Step 3:  Tap or click Check now.
Step 4:  If there are updates available, tap or click View details.
Step 5:  Tap or click to select the updates you want to install, then tap or click Install.
You may need to restart Surface after the updates have been installed.

If Surface still runs slowly, try Solution 5.

Solution 5: Check for low disk space and make some room

You may be able to improve performance if you free up some disk space on your Surface. See Tips to free up drive space on your PC for how-to info.

If Surface still runs slowly after you free up additional disk space, try Solution 6.

Solution 6: Let Surface cool down

Your Surface may be too hot. Move your Surface to a cooler spot, wait five minutes, and see if it runs faster.

If you are running a memory-intensive app, such as streaming video or playing a game, try closing it for a few minutes. That may cool your Surface down.

If Surface still runs slowly, try Solution 7.

Solution 7: Check for and remove malware and viruses

It’s possible that a virus or other malicious software is responsible for Surface running slower. Check whether your Surface Pro has a virus by using Windows Defender, which is included with Windows 8.1. For more info, see How do I find and remove a virus?

If Surface still runs slowly, try Solution 8.

Solution 8: Two-button shutdown

Important
Don’t use this process on Surface RT or Surface 2.

Use this two-button shutdown process to ensure that Surface is turned off completely. Here’s how:

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap or click Settings, tap or click Power, then tap or click Shut down to shut down Surface.
If you can’t shut down Surface normally, press and hold the power button on your Surface for 30 seconds.
Step 2:  Once Surface turns off, press and hold volume-up button and the power button at the same time for at least 15 seconds, and then release both buttons.
Step 3:  The screen may flash the Surface logo, but continue holding the buttons down for at least 15 seconds.
Step 4:  After you release the buttons, wait 10 seconds.
Step 5:  Press and release the Power button to turn your Surface back on.

If your Surface still runs slowly, try Solution 9.

Solution 9: Restore, refresh, or reset Surface

If you think an app or driver that you recently installed may have caused problems with your Surface, you may be able to get things running normally again by restoring, refreshing or resetting your Surface (in that order).

Restore Surface

Restoring your Surface is a way to undo recent system changes that may be causing problems. Restoring Surface doesn’t change your personal files, but it might remove recently installed apps and drivers.

If restoring Surface doesn't resolve the problem, refresh Surface.

Refresh Surface

Refreshing your Surface reinstalls Windows and keeps your personal files, settings, apps that came installed on your Surface and those you've installed from the Windows Store. Desktop apps you installed on Surface Pro will be deleted, but you can reinstall them after refreshing Surface.

Note
If you updated Surface Pro from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1, refresh will reinstall Windows 8 (not Windows 8.1) and apps that came installed on Surface Pro. Other apps and your settings will be gone. You can reinstall them after the refresh is complete.

Reset Surface

Resetting your Surface reinstalls Windows, but removes your personal files, settings, and apps that did not come installed on your Surface. Reset keeps the apps that came installed on your Surface.

Note
If you updated Surface Pro from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1, a reset will reinstall Windows 8 (not Windows 8.1). You’ll need to reinstall the Windows 8.1 update.

After you've refreshed Surface, check to see if its performance is better.

For detailed how-to info, see Restore, refresh or reset Surface Pro or Surface 3.

If your Surface still doesn't run as quickly as it once did, it needs service. See Get my Surface fixed.


If your Surface isn't running as quickly as it once did, here are some things to try to help pinpoint and solve the problem.


Solution 1: Restart Surface

Sometimes, a simple restart is all that's needed to get Surface running quickly again.

Step 1:  On the Start screen, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, then tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down and then click Settings.)
Step 2:  Tap or click Power, then tap or click Restart.

If Surface still runs slowly, try Solution 2.

Solution 2: Close any unnecessary apps

Running multiple apps simultaneously can affect performance. Close any that aren’t critical to have open, and see if Surface runs faster as a result.

If Surface still runs slowly, try Solution 3.

Solution 3: Try multiple apps

Try running different apps to see if Surface continues to run slowly. If the problem seems to be limited to one app, see Troubleshoot problems with an app.

If Surface runs more slowly no matter what apps you have running, try Solution 4.

Solution 4: Install Surface and Windows updates

You may not have the most recent updates applied to your Surface. This can affect performance. Here’s how to check the update status:

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, then tap Settings.
(If you’re using a mouse, point to the bottom-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, then click Settings.)
Step 2:  Tap or click Change PC settings, tap or click Update and recovery, then tap or click Windows Update.
Step 3:  Tap or click Check now.
Step 4:  If there are updates available, tap or click View details.
Step 5:  Tap or click to select the updates you want to install, then tap or click Install.
You may need to restart Surface after the updates have been installed.

If Surface still runs slowly, try Solution 5.

Solution 5: Check for low disk space and make some room

You may be able to improve performance if you free up some disk space on your Surface. For more info, see Tips to free up drive space on your PC.

If Surface still runs slowly after you free up additional disk space, try Solution 6.

Solution 6: Let Surface cool down

Your Surface may be too hot. Move your Surface to a cooler spot, wait five minutes, and see if it runs faster.

If you are running a memory-intensive app, such as streaming video or playing a game, try closing it for a few minutes. That may cool your Surface down.

If Surface still runs slowly, try Solution 7.

Solution 7: Refresh or reset Surface

If you think an app or driver that you recently installed may have caused problems with your Surface, you may be able to get things running normally again by restoring, refreshing or resetting your Surface (in that order).

Refresh Surface

Refreshing your Surface reinstalls Windows and keeps your personal files, settings, apps that came installed on your Surface and those you've installed from the Windows Store. Apps you installed on Surface will be deleted, but you can reinstall them after refreshing Surface.

If refreshing Surface doesn't resolve the problem, reset Surface.

Reset Surface

Resetting your Surface reinstalls Windows, but removes your personal files, settings, and apps that did not come installed on your Surface. Reset keeps the apps that came installed on your Surface.

For detailed how-to info, see Refresh or reset Surface RT or Surface 2.

After you've refreshed Surface, check to see if its performance is better.

If your Surface still doesn't run as quickly as it once did, it needs service. See Get my Surface fixed.


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