Applies to

Surface RT, Surface 2, Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3, Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1.


Troubleshoot Surface screen rotation

Surface is designed to rotate the display automatically as you turn it, so that what you see on the screen is always right side up. If the display on your Surface doesn’t automatically rotate, try the following solutions in order.


Solution 1: Disconnect your Surface cover and any external displays

Surface is designed to display the screen in landscape orientation whenever you're typing on a Surface cover or using an external display.

Step 1:  Disconnect your Surface Typing Cover and any external displays to see if they are preventing your screen from auto-rotating.
Step 2:  Check to see if your Surface display auto-rotates when you turn Surface.

If the screen still does not auto-rotate, try Solution 2.

Solution 2: Check the auto-rotation setting

If the screen does not auto-rotate, the auto-rotation setting may be locked in one position. Here’s how to unlock it:

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, then click Settings.)
Step 2:  Tap or click Screen, then tap or click the screen icon above the brightness slider to unlock auto-rotation.

Tap the Screen icon in Settings

Step 3:  The screen icon includes a padlock when auto-rotation is locked. The screen will not rotate when you change the orientation of Surface.
Screen icon when autorotation is locked
Step 4:  Reattach your Surface Typing Cover, fold it back, and check to see if the display on your Surface rotates automatically when you turn Surface.
Notes
  • Screen rotation on Surface locks automatically when an attached Surface Typing Cover is in typing position.
  • Unless the screen rotation setting on Surface is locked, folding back your Surface Typing Cover allows the screen to auto-rotate, unless the screen orientation setting on Surface is locked.
  • If your Surface screen is in portrait orientation when you attach your Surface Typing Cover or connect an external display, the screen will automatically rotate to landscape orientation, even when auto-rotation is locked.

If auto-rotation still isn't working after you unlock auto-rotation, try Solution 3.

Solution 3: Turn your Surface off and back on

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, then click Settings.)
Step 2:  Tap or click Power, then tap or click Shut down.
Step 3:  Press the power button on your Surface to turn it back on and sign into Windows.

If turning Surface off and back on doesn't help, try Solution 4.

Solution 4: Install the latest updates

Installing the latest updates for your Microsoft Surface, including updates to Windows and the accelerometer or other sensors, may help fix a rotation issue. See Install Surface and Windows updates.

If auto-rotation still isn't working after installing updates, go to Solution 5.

Solution 5: Run a troubleshooter

Open the Sensors Troubleshooter. In the File Download dialogue box, tap or click Open, and then follow the prompts.

If running the troubleshooter didn't help, go to Solution 6.

Solution 6: Restore or refresh Surface

If you're still having problems with auto-rotation, try in this order: restore or refresh your Surface.

  • 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.

Note
Restore is not available for Surface RT or Surface 2.

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.

For detailed how-to info, see:

Still having a problem with screen rotation after doing a restore or a refresh? For more help, contact us.