Applies to

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


Install Surface and Windows updates

Two types of updates keep Surface performing its best: Surface hardware updates (also known as firmware) and Windows software updates. Both types install automatically as they become available.


Before you begin

Here are some important tips:

  • Plug your Surface into a working electrical outlet before installing updates. Don’t unplug or power off your Surface while it’s updating.
  • If you have a Surface Cover or Surface docking station, make sure they’re attached before you turn on your Surface so they get the latest updates, too.
  • You must be connected to the Internet to download updates for Surface. If you can’t install updates because of Wi-Fi problems, see Can’t connect to a wireless network.
  • If you use mobile broadband to connect to the Internet, your connection is automatically set to metered. Windows updates may not download over a metered connection, and it’s best to connect to Wi-Fi to make sure you get all updates. For more info, see Manage your mobile broadband data usage.
  • If you have no other connection options or have an unlimited data plan, you can change your settings to allow all updates over your mobile broadband connection. For more info, see Metered Internet connections: FAQ.
  • The amount of time it takes to install updates will vary depending on the speed of your Internet connection and the number and size of the updates.

Update Surface and Windows

When updates become available, they’re installed automatically on your Surface over Wi-Fi, but may be limited over a metered connection. To get all the updates, connect to Wi-Fi first. Windows notifies you if you need to restart Surface to complete the installation of an update.

You can also check for updates manually. Here’s how:

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the bottom-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up and click Settings.)
Step 2:  Tap or click Change PC settings and tap or click Windows Update.
Step 3:  Tap or click Check now.
Step 4: If updates are available, tap or click View details.
Step 5:  Tap or click to select the updates you want to install, and tap or click Install.
You may need to restart Surface after the updates have installed.
Note
When a Surface firmware update is available, you’ll see a notification on your Surface. Follow the on-screen instructions to update Surface using Windows Update.

Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3: Download and install Surface updates manually

If you have Surface Pro 3 or Surface 3, you can download a single update file directly to your Surface and install updates manually. If you’re having trouble connecting your Surface to the Internet, you can download the file to another PC and use a USB drive to transfer it to your Surface.

Download the update file to your Surface

If you have an Internet connection, you can manually download the update file to your Surface Pro 3 or Surface 3.

Step 1:  Go to the Surface software, firmware and drivers page on the Microsoft Download Center.
Step 2:  Tap or click Download.
Step 3:  Choose the MSI.zip file, and tap or click Next. The file name is in the format Surface model month year MSI.zip (for example, Surface Pro 3 January 2015 MSI.zip or Surface 3 March 2015 MSI.zip).
Step 4:  Next to the Save button, tap or click the down arrow, tap or click Save As and choose your desktop for the save location.

Then follow the steps in Extract and install the update file below.

Download the update file to another PC and copy it to Surface

If you’re having trouble connecting your Surface to the Internet, you can use another computer with Internet access to download the update .zip file to a USB drive, then transfer it to your Surface. Here’s how:

Step 1:  On another PC, go to the Surface software, firmware and drivers page on the Microsoft Download Center.
Step 2:  Insert a USB drive into the PC.
Step 3:  On the downloads page, tap or click Download.
Step 4:  Choose the MSI.zip file, and tap or click Next. The file name is in the format Surface model month year MSI.zip (for example, Surface Pro 3 January 2015 MSI.zip or Surface 3 March 2015 MSI.zip).
Step 5:  Next to the Save button, tap or click the down arrow, tap or click Save As, navigate to the USB drive, then tap or click Save.
Step 6:  Remove the USB drive from your PC and insert it into the USB port on your Surface.
Step 7:  On the Start screen on your Surface, tap or click Desktop, and in the taskbar tap or click File Explorer.
Step 8:  In File Explorer, open the USB drive, and drag the .zip file onto the desktop on your Surface.

Once you have the .zip file on your Surface, you’ll need to extract the update file and install it.

Extract and install the update file

Step 1:  Press and hold (or right-click) the .zip file, and tap or click Extract All. Make sure that the save location is your desktop.
Step 2:  Tap or click Extract.
Step 3:  On your desktop, open the folder that contains the file.
Step 4:  Press and hold (or right-click) the file, and tap or click Install.
Step 5:  When the operation is finished, tap or click OK.

You can delete the folders from your desktop after you’ve successfully installed the updates.

See your update history

To see what Windows and Surface updates you already have installed:

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and tap or click Settings, then tap or click Change PC settings.
Step 2:  Tap or click Update and recovery, then tap or click Windows Update.
Step 3:  Tap or click View your update history. A list of the installed updates is shown.

Updates to your Surface hardware appear in your update history as either “System Firmware Update - XX/XX/XX” or “System Hardware Update - XX/XX/XX”. (“XX/XX/XX” stands for the date that Microsoft made the Surface update available.)

Surface updates are cumulative—if you have the latest Surface update installed, you’re up to date.

For descriptions of the Surface updates released so far, see Surface update history.

Change Windows Update settings

Surface RT and Surface 2: You can’t change Windows Update settings for Windows RT. These settings are always on and can’t be disabled.

Surface Pro models and Surface 3: You can change the Windows Update settings for Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3 or Surface 3. Here’s how:

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap or click Settings, then tap or click Change PC settings.
Step 2:  Tap or click Update and recovery, then tap or click Windows Update.
Step 3: 

Tap or click Choose how updates get installed, select the settings you want, then tap or click Apply.

For example, if you had turned off automatic updating during setup, and you want to turn this feature back on again, choose Install updates automatically (recommended).

Problems installing updates?

If you’re having trouble installing an update, see Trouble installing Surface and Windows updates?

For more info about Windows Update, see Windows automatic updating: Frequently asked questions.