Applies to

Surface 3, Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3, Surface Pro 4, Surface Book.

Applies to

Surface RT, Surface 2.

Applies to

Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface 3, Surface Pro 3.

Applies to

Surface RT, Surface 2.

Operating system:

Using a Surface USB recovery drive

If you ever have a problem getting your Surface to start, you can use your Surface USB recovery drive to access recovery tools.


If you ever have a problem getting your Surface to start, or if the built-in recovery info has been removed from your Surface, you can use your USB recovery drive to access recovery tools and solve problems.

Important

  • Surface USB recovery drives are not interchangeable between Surface models. Use only a USB recovery drive that is for your specific Surface model.
  • The USB drive must be formatted to FAT32 (not NTFS). For more info, see Create a USB recovery drive.
  • How to start Surface using your USB recovery drive

    To start your Surface from your USB recovery drive:

    Step 1:  Make sure your Surface is turned off and plugged in.
    Step 2:  Insert your USB recovery drive into the USB port on your Surface.
    Step 3:  Press and hold the volume-down button while you press and release the power button on your Surface.
    Step 4:  When the Surface logo appears, release the volume button.
    Step 5:  Follow the on-screen instructions, such as selecting the language and keyboard layout, to enter the recovery tools menu.
    Note
    You can also use the Surface USB recovery drive if Windows prompts for installation files when trying to refresh or reset under Start > Settings > Update & security > Recovery. When the prompt pops up, insert the recovery drive into the USB port on your Surface.

    How to reset Surface using your USB recovery drive

    Important
    A reset returns your Surface to its factory settings.

    Notes
    • Resetting your Surface deletes all of your personal files, resets your settings, and removes all apps that you installed.
    • Make sure you have access to the product keys and installation files for any desktop apps (for example, Microsoft Office) that you plan to reinstall after the reset. This includes desktop apps you installed from websites, discs, or USB drives.

    To reset your Surface from a USB recovery drive:

    Step 1:  Make sure your Surface is turned off and plugged in.
    Step 2:  Insert the USB recovery drive into the USB port on your Surface.
    Step 3:  Press and hold the volume-down button while you press and release the power button on your Surface.
    Step 4:  When the Surface logo appears, release the volume button.
    Step 5:  When prompted, select the language and keyboard layout you want.
    Step 6:  Select Troubleshoot > Reset your PC.
    If prompted for a recovery key, select Skip this drive at the bottom of the screen.
    Step 7:  Select the target operating system you wish to reset. This refers to the current operating system installed on your Surface.
    Step 8:  Select Yes, repartition the drives, and on the next page select Next.
    Step 9: 

    Choose either Just remove my files or Fully clean the drive.

    The option to clean the drive is more secure but takes much longer. For example, if you are recycling your Surface, you should clean the drive. If you are keeping your Surface, you just need to remove your files.
    Step 10: 

    Select Reset.

    Surface restarts and the Surface logo displays while the reset process continues (this can take several minutes).

    If the USB recovery drive doesn’t work on your Surface

    If you can’t boot from your USB recovery drive, you may need to configure the boot order so the USB drive is the first option. For more info, see How do I use the BIOS/UEFI?

    Also, make sure that the USB recovery drive is formatted to FAT32 and that the recovery image is the correct one for your model of Surface. For more info, see Create a USB recovery drive.

    How to create a USB recovery drive

    There are two ways to create a USB recovery drive for your Surface.

    • To create a USB recovery drive from the recovery partition on your Surface, see Create a USB recovery drive. Use this method if you have not previously deleted the recovery partition in order to free up storage space on your Surface.
    • To download recovery files from the Surface website, see Download a recovery image for your Surface. Use this method if you no longer have access to the recovery partition on your Surface or if your Surface won’t boot to Windows.

    If you can’t create your own USB recovery drive or download the recovery image from the Surface website, contact us.


    Using a Surface USB recovery drive

    If you ever have a problem getting your Surface to start, you can use your Surface USB recovery drive to access recovery tools.


    If you ever have a problem getting your Surface to start, or if the built-in recovery info has been removed from your Surface, you can use your USB recovery drive to access recovery tools and solve problems.

    Important

  • Surface USB recovery drives are not interchangeable between Surface models. Use only a USB recovery drive that is for your specific Surface model.
  • The USB drive must be formatted to FAT32 (not NTFS). For more info, see Create a USB recovery drive.
  • How to start Surface using your USB recovery drive

    To start your Surface from your USB recovery drive:

    Step 1:  Make sure your Surface is turned off and plugged in.
    Step 2:  Insert your USB recovery drive into the USB port on your Surface.
    Step 3:  Press and hold the volume-down button while you press and release the power button on your Surface.
    Step 4:  When the Surface logo appears, release the volume button.
    Step 5:  Follow the on-screen instructions, such as selecting the language and keyboard layout, to enter the recovery tools menu.
    Note
    You can also use the Surface USB recovery drive if Windows prompts for installation files when trying to refresh or reset from the Recovery menu under Settings > Change PC settings > Update and recovery > Recovery. When the prompt pops up, insert the recovery drive into the USB port on your Surface.

    How to reset Surface using your USB recovery drive

    Important
    A reset returns your Surface to its factory settings.

    Note
    Resetting your Surface deletes all of your personal files, resets your settings, and removes all apps that you installed.

    To reset your Surface from a USB recovery drive:

    Step 1:  Make sure your Surface is turned off and plugged in.
    Step 2:  Insert the USB recovery drive into the USB port on your Surface.
    Step 3:  Press and hold the volume-down button while you press and release the power button on your Surface.
    Step 4:  When the Surface logo appears, release the volume button.
    Step 5:  When prompted, select the language and keyboard layout you want.
    Step 6:  Select Troubleshoot > Reset your PC.
    If prompted for a recovery key, select Skip this drive at the bottom of the screen.
    Step 7:  Select the target operating system you wish to reset. This refers to the current operating system installed on your Surface.
    Step 8:  Select Yes, repartition the drives, and on the next page select Next.
    Step 9: 

    Choose either Just remove my files or Fully clean the drive.

    The option to clean the drive is more secure but takes much longer. For example, if you are recycling your Surface, you should clean the drive. If you are keeping your Surface, you just need to remove your files.
    Step 10: 

    Select Reset.

    Surface restarts and the Surface logo displays while the reset process continues (this can take several minutes).
    Step 11:  Surface 2 only: After restarting, your Surface may prompt you to clear this computer’s TPM (Trusted Platform Module). Press F12 or the volume-up button to clear the TPM.

    Surface 2 continues the reset process (this can take several minutes).

    If the USB recovery drive doesn’t work on your Surface

    If you can’t boot from your USB recovery drive, you may need to configure the boot order so the USB drive is the first option. For more info, see How do I use the BIOS/UEFI?

    Also, make sure that the USB recovery drive is formatted to FAT32 and that the recovery image is the correct one for your model of Surface. For more info, see Create a USB recovery drive.

    How to create a USB recovery drive

    There are two ways to create a USB recovery drive for your Surface.

    • To create a USB recovery drive from the recovery partition on your Surface, see Create a USB recovery drive. Use this method if you have not previously deleted the recovery partition in order to free up storage space on your Surface.
    • To download recovery files from the Surface website, see Download a recovery image for your Surface. Use this method if you no longer have access to the recovery partition on your Surface or if your Surface won’t boot to Windows.

    If you can’t create your own USB recovery drive or download the recovery image from the Surface website, contact us.


    Using a Surface USB recovery drive

    Your Surface USB recovery drive contains recovery tools for your Surface.


    If you ever have a problem getting your Surface to start, or if the built-in recovery info has been removed from your Surface, you can use your USB recovery drive to access recovery tools and solve problems.

    Important

  • Surface USB recovery drives are not interchangeable between Surface models. Use only a USB recovery drive that is for your specific Surface model.
  • The USB drive must be formatted to FAT32 (not NTFS). For more info, see Create a USB recovery drive.
  • How to start Surface using your USB recovery drive

    To start your Surface from your USB recovery drive:

    Step 1:  Make sure your Surface is turned off and plugged in.
    Step 2:  Insert your USB recovery drive into the USB port on your Surface.
    Step 3:  Press and hold the volume-down button while you press and release the power button on your Surface.
    Step 4:  When the Surface logo appears, release the volume button.
    Step 5:  Follow the on-screen instructions, such as selecting the language and keyboard layout, to enter the recovery tools menu.
    Note
    You can also use the Surface USB recovery drive if Windows prompts for installation files when trying to refresh or reset from the Recovery menu under Settings > Change PC settings > Update and recovery > Recovery. When the prompt pops up, insert the recovery drive into the USB port on your Surface.

    How to reset Surface using your USB recovery drive

    Important
    A reset returns Surface to its factory settings.

    Notes
    • Resetting your Surface will delete all of your personal files, reset your settings, and remove all apps that you installed.
    • Make sure that you have access to the product keys and installation files for any desktop apps (for example, Microsoft Office) that you plan to reinstall after the reset. This includes desktop apps you installed from websites, discs, or USB drives.

    To reset your Surface from a USB recovery drive:

    Step 1:  Make sure your Surface is turned off and plugged in.
    Step 2:  Insert the USB recovery drive into the USB port on your Surface.
    Step 3:  Press and hold the volume-down button while you press and release the power button on your Surface.
    Step 4:  When the Surface logo appears, release the volume button.
    Step 5:  When prompted, select the language and keyboard layout you want.
    Step 6:  Tap or click Troubleshoot, and tap or click Reset your PC.
    Step 7:  If prompted for a recovery key, tap or click Skip this drive at the bottom of the screen.
    Step 8:  Tap or click the target operating system you wish to reset. This refers to the current operating system installed on your Surface.
    Step 9:  Tap or click Yes, repartition the drives, and on the next page, tap or click Next.
    Step 10:  Choose either Just remove my files or Fully clean the drive.

    The option to clean the drive is more secure but takes much longer. For example, if you are recycling your Surface, you should choose to clean the drive. If you are keeping your Surface, you just need to remove your files.

    Step 11:  Tap or click Reset.

    Surface restarts and the Surface logo displays while the reset process continues (this can take several minutes).

    If the USB recovery drive doesn’t work on your Surface

    If you can’t boot from your USB recovery drive, you may need to configure the boot order so the USB drive is the first option. For more info, see How do I use the BIOS/UEFI?

    Also, make sure that the USB recovery drive is formatted to FAT32 and that the recovery image is the correct one for your model of Surface. For more info, see Create a USB recovery drive.

    How to create your own USB recovery drive

    There are two ways to create your own USB recovery drive for your Surface.

    • To create a USB recovery drive from the recovery partition on your Surface, see Create a USB recovery drive. Use this method if you have not previously deleted the recovery partition in order to free up storage space on your Surface.
    • To download recovery files from the Surface website, see Download a recovery image for your Surface. Use this method if you no longer have access to the recovery partition on your Surface or if your Surface won’t boot to Windows.

    If you can’t create your own USB recovery drive or download the recovery image from the Surface website, contact us.


    Using a Surface USB recovery drive

    Your Surface USB recovery drive contains recovery tools for your Surface.


    If you ever have a problem getting your Surface to start, or if the built-in recovery info has been removed from your Surface, you can use your USB recovery drive to access recovery tools and solve problems.

    Important

  • Surface USB recovery drives are not interchangeable between Surface models. Use only a USB recovery drive that is for your specific Surface model.
  • The USB drive must be formatted to FAT32 (not NTFS). For more info, see Create a USB recovery drive.
  • How to start Surface using your USB recovery drive

    To start your Surface from your USB recovery drive:

    Step 1:  Make sure your Surface is turned off and plugged in.
    Step 2:  Insert your USB recovery drive into the USB port on your Surface.
    Step 3:  Press and hold the volume-down button while you press and release the power button. When the Surface logo appears, release the volume button.
    Step 4:  Follow the on-screen instructions, such as selecting the language and keyboard layout, to enter the recovery tools menu.
    Note
    You can also use the Surface USB recovery drive if Windows prompts for installation files when trying to refresh or reset from the Recovery menu under Settings > Change PC settings > Update and recovery > Recovery. When the prompt pops up, insert the recovery drive into the USB port on your Surface.

    How to reset Surface using your USB recovery drive

    Important
    A reset returns your Surface to its factory settings.

    Note
    Resetting your Surface will delete all of your personal files and settings and remove all apps that you installed.

    To reset your Surface from a USB recovery drive:

    Step 1:  Make sure your Surface is turned off and plugged in.
    Step 2:  Insert the USB recovery drive into the USB port on your Surface.
    Step 3:  Press and hold the volume-down button while you press and release the power button. When the Surface logo appears, release the volume button.
    Step 4:  When prompted, select the language and keyboard layout you want.
    Step 5:  Tap or click Troubleshoot > Reset your PC.
    Step 6:  If prompted for a recovery key, tap or click Skip this drive at the bottom of the screen.
    Step 7:  Tap or click the target operating system you want to reset. This refers to the current operating system installed on your Surface.
    Step 8:  Tap or click Yes, repartition the drives, and on the next page, tap or click Next.
    Step 9:  Choose either Just remove my files or Fully clean the drive.

    The option to clean the drive is more secure but takes much longer. For example, if you are recycling your Surface, you should choose to clean the drive. If you are keeping your Surface, you just need to remove your files.

    Step 10:  Tap or click Reset.

    Your Surface restarts and the Surface logo displays while the reset process continues. This can take several minutes.

    Step 11:  Surface 2 only: After restarting, your Surface may prompt you to clear this computer’s TPM (Trusted Platform Module). Press F12 or the volume-up button to clear the TPM.
    Surface 2 continues the reset process. This can take several minutes.

    If the USB recovery drive doesn’t work on your Surface

    If you can’t boot from your USB recovery drive, you may need to configure the boot order so the USB drive is the first option. For more info, see How do I use the BIOS/UEFI?

    Also, make sure that the USB recovery drive is formatted to FAT32 and that the recovery image is the correct one for your model of Surface. For more info, see Create a USB recovery drive.

    How to create your own USB recovery drive

    There are two ways to create your own USB recovery drive for your Surface.

    • To create a USB recovery drive from the recovery partition on your Surface, see Create a USB recovery drive. Use this method if you have not previously deleted the recovery partition in order to free up storage space on your Surface.
    • To download recovery files from the Surface website, see Download a recovery image for your Surface. Use this method if you no longer have access to the recovery partition on your Surface or if your Surface won’t boot to Windows.

    If you can’t create your own USB recovery drive or download the recovery image from the Surface website, contact us.