What to do if Surface is running slower

Applies to

Surface Studio, Surface Book, Surface Book with Performance Base, Surface Pro 4, Surface Pro 3, Surface 3, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro.

Applies to

Surface 2, Surface RT.

Applies to

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

Applies to

Surface Book, Surface Book with Performance Base, Surface Pro 4, Surface Pro 3, Surface 3, Surface Pro 2, Surface 2, Surface Pro, Surface RT.

Operating system:

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


Note

If any of the following is happening, go to Surface won’t turn on, Windows won’t start, or the battery won’t charge:

  • The screen remains black when you turn your Surface on or wake it from sleep.
  • Your Surface gets stuck on the Surface logo screen.
  • Windows doesn't start correctly (for example, Windows goes to the Automatic Repair or the Choose an option screen at startup).
  • The Surface battery won’t charge.

Solution 1: 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 Settings > Update & security > Windows Update.
Step 2: Select Check for updates. If updates are available, select Details.
Step 3: 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 2.

Solution 2: Restart your Surface and keep open apps to a minimum

Sometimes, a simple restart is all that you need to get your Surface running quickly again.

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

After your Surface restarts, only open apps that are necessary to have open and close them after you are done. If the problem seems to be limited to one app, run the Windows app troubleshooter.

If your Surface still runs slowly, try Solution 3.

Solution 3: Disable unnecessary startup programs

When you turn on your Surface, some programs start automatically and run in the background. You can disable these programs at startup to improve Windows startup time and overall system performance.

Here’s how to disable startup programs:

Step 1: Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete and select Task Manager.
You may need to select More details in the lower-left corner.
Step 2: Select the Startup tab.
Step 3: Disable any programs that you don’t want running in the background or enabled at startup.
If you have questions about a specific app or program, see the program’s support page for more information.

If Surface is still running slowly, go to Solution 4.

Solution 4: Check for and remove malware and viruses

A virus or other malicious software could cause your Surface to run slowly. Check whether your Surface has a virus by using Windows Defender, which is included with Windows 10. For more info, see Protect your PC .

Note
If you’re using other antivirus software, refer to the program’s documentation for info on scanning your Surface for malware and viruses.

If your Surface still runs slowly, try Solution 5.

Solution 5: Check your wireless network speed

If the apps you are using are connecting to the Internet, a poor network connection may be causing them to run slowly. For detailed info on checking your network, see Surface is connected to a wireless network but Wi-Fi is slow

If your Surface still runs slowly, try Solution 6.

Solution 6: 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.
Disk Cleanup can delete temporary and system files, empty the Recycle bin, and remove other items you might no longer need.

Step 1: Select the search box in the taskbar, enter disk cleanup, and in the search results, select Disk Cleanup.
Step 2:

In the Disk Cleanup window, select the types of files you want removed.
By default, Windows pre-selects file types that generally are not necessary for you to keep. However, before proceeding, make sure you don’t need the files that are selected. Microsoft isn’t responsible for the loss of personal data.

Step 3:

Select OK, and in the confirmation message, select Delete Files.

If your Surface still runs slowly after you free up disk space, try Solution 7.

Solution 7: 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. If available to you, plugging in your Surface keeps it charged and running as fast as possible.

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 8.

Solution 8: Two-button shutdown (Surface Pro models and Surface Book only)

Important
Don’t use this process on Surface RT, Surface 2, or Surface 3.
Step 1: Go to Start Windows logo, and select Power > Shut down.
If you can’t shut down your Surface normally, press and hold the power button for 30 seconds.
Step 2:

After your Surface turns off, press and hold the volume-up button and the power button at the same time for at least 15 seconds and then release both.
The screen may flash the Surface logo, but continue holding the buttons down for at least 15 seconds.

Step 3:

After you release the buttons, wait 10 seconds.

Step 4:

Press and release the power button to turn your Surface back on.

If your Surface still runs slowly, try Solution 9.

Solution 9: Restore or reset your 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 or resetting your Surface, in that order.

Restore your Surface

Restoring your Surface is a way to undo recent system changes that may be causing problems. This option takes your Surface back to an earlier point in time, called a system restore point. Restore points are generated when you install a new app, driver, or Windows update and when you create a system restore point manually . Restoring won’t affect your personal files, but it will remove apps, drivers, and updates installed after the restore point was made.

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

Reset your Surface

Because a reset reinstalls Windows completely, any problems you have after you perform a reset are most likely with your Surface or with a specific application.

There are three options for resetting your Surface:

  • Keep my files: This option reinstalls Windows 10 but keeps your personal files and any apps that came with your Surface. It removes changes you made to settings and any apps and drivers you installed.
  • Remove everything: This option reinstalls Windows 10 and any apps that came with your Surface. It removes your personal files, changes you made to settings, and any apps and drivers you installed.
  • Restore factory settings: (Not available on all devices.) You may have this option if you upgraded your Surface to Windows 10. It reinstalls the version of Windows that came on your Surface and any apps that came with it. It removes personal files, changes you made to settings, and any apps and drivers you installed.

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

After resetting your Surface

To help pinpoint what might be causing the performance issue with your Surface, it’s important that you test and evaluate how it’s running immediately after you perform a reset and before you reinstall any updates, apps, or accessories.

Once you’ve checked the performance of your Surface, install the latest Surface and Windows updates and test it again. After each installation, evaluate how your Surface is running before continuing on to the next step. Testing the performance of your Surface after installing each app and device can help you pinpoint the application or process that is causing the problem.

If your Surface is still running slowly after a reset, you may have a hardware issue. Try Solution 10.

Solution 10: Identify hardware issues

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


Note
If any of the following is happening, go to Surface won’t turn on, Windows won’t start, or the battery won’t charge

  • The screen remains black when you turn your Surface on or wake it from sleep.
  • Your Surface gets stuck on the Surface logo screen.
  • Windows doesn't start correctly (for example, Windows goes to the Automatic Repair or the Choose an option screen at startup).
  • The Surface battery won’t charge.

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, and 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, and 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, and then tap Settings.
(If you’re using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Settings.)
Step 2: Tap or click Change PC settings, tap or click Update and recovery, and 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, and 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.

You can run Disk Cleanup to reduce the number of unnecessary files on your drive, which can help your Surface run faster. Disk Cleanup can delete temporary and system files, empty the Recycle bin, and remove other items you might no longer need.

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge and tap Search.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and click Search.)
Step 2: In the search box, enter disk cleanup, and in the search results, tap or click Free up disk space by deleting unnecessary files.
Step 3: In the Disk Cleanup window, choose the types of files you want removed.
By default, Windows pre-selects file types that generally are not necessary for you to keep. However, before proceeding, make sure you don’t need the files that are selected. Microsoft isn’t responsible for the loss of personal data.
Step 4: Tap or click OK, and in the confirmation message, tap or click Delete Files.

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

A virus or other malicious software could cause your Surface to run slowly. Check whether your Surface 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?

Notes
If you’re using other antivirus software, refer to the program’s documentation for info on scanning your Surface for malware and viruses.

If Surface still runs slowly, try Solution 8.

Solution 8: Two-button shutdown (Surface Pro models only)

Important
Don’t use this process on Surface RT, Surface 2, or Surface 3.

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 and tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and click Search.)
Step 2: Tap or click Power > Shut down.
If you can’t shut down your Surface normally, press and hold the power button for 30 seconds.
Step 3: After 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.
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: Disable unnecessary startup programs

When you turn on your Surface, some programs start automatically and run in the background. You can disable these programs at startup to improve Windows startup time and overall system performance.

Here’s how to disable startup programs:

Step 1: Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete and tap or click Task Manager.
You may need to tap or click More details in the lower-left corner.
Step 2: Tap or click the Startup tab.
Step 3: Disable any programs that you don’t want running in the background or enabled at startup.
If you have questions about a specific app or program, see the program’s support page for more information.

If Surface is still running slowly, try Solution 10.

Solution 10: Optimize (defragment) your hard drive

Defragmentation consolidates data on a disk or storage device so it will work more efficiently. The disk defragmenter tool rearranges the data and reunites fragmented data so your computer can run more efficiently.

Here’s how to defragment the hard drive on your Surface:

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap Search.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and click Search.)
Step 2: In the search box, enter file explorer, and in the search results, tap or click File Explorer.
Step 3: Tap or click This PC.
Step 4: Press and hold (or right-click) the C: drive and tap or click Properties.
Step 5: Tap or click the Tools tab.
Step 6: Under Optimize and defragment drive, tap or click Optimize.
Step 7: Tap or click the drive you want to defragment.
Typically this will be Windows (C:), but you can also defragment external drives connected to Surface.
Notes
In the drive selection screen, you can also schedule optimization. Tap or click Change settings to review your settings.
Step 8: Tap or click Optimize.
Disk defragmentation may take a while to finish. When the process is complete, tap or click Close.

If these steps don’t fix the problem, try Solution 11.

Solution 11: 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. This option takes your Surface back to an earlier point in time, called a system restore point. Restore points are generated when you install a new app, driver, or Windows update and when you create a system restore point manually. Restoring won’t affect your personal files, but it will remove apps, drivers, and updates installed after the restore point was made.

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.

If refreshing your Surface doesn't solve 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. Because a reset reinstalls Windows completely, any problems that you have after you perform a reset are most likely with your Surface or with a specific application.

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.

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

After resetting your Surface

To help pinpoint what might be causing the performance issue with your Surface, it’s important to test and evaluate how it’s running immediately after you perform a reset and before you reinstall any updates, apps, or accessories.

Once you’ve checked the performance of your Surface, install the latest Surface and Windows updates and test it again. After each installation, evaluate how your Surface is running before continuing on to the next step. Testing the performance of your Surface after installing each app and device can help you pinpoint the application or process that is causing the problem.

If your Surface is still running slowly after a reset, you may have a hardware issue. Try Solution 12 to help determine the specific problem.

Solution 12: Identify hardware issues

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

Windows Memory Diagnostic tool

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

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap Search.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and click Search.)
Step 2: In the search box, enter memory, and in the search results, tap or click Diagnose your computer’s memory problems to open Windows Memory Diagnostic.
Step 3: Tap or click 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: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap Search.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and click Search.)
Step 2: In the search box, enter file explorer, and in the search results, tap or click File Explorer.
Step 3: Tap or click This PC.
Step 4: Press and hold (or right-click) Windows (C:) and tap or click Properties.
Step 5: Tap or click the Tools tab, and under Error checking, tap or click Check.
Follow the on-screen instructions.

If the tool finds any errors, contact us.


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, and 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, and 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, and then tap Settings.
(If you’re using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Settings.)
Step 2: Tap or click Change PC settings, tap or click Update and recovery, and 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, and 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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