Applies to

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

Applies to

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

Operating system:

Restore or reset Surface Pro or Surface 3

If you're having trouble with your Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3, or Surface 3, you may be able to restore or reset it to solve the problem.


Before you begin

To perform a restore or reset, you’ll need to check a few things first.

Is your Surface touchscreen working?

If you're having problems with your Surface touchscreen, connect a keyboard, such as a Surface Typing Cover or USB keyboard, before trying these solutions.

Is Windows loading?

If you’re having trouble getting Windows to start on your Surface, you may not be able to perform the steps to restore or reset. See Surface won’t turn on, Windows won’t start, or the battery won’t charge for help with Windows startup issues first.

Did you upgrade your Surface to Windows 10 from Windows 8.1?

If you upgraded your Surface from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10, a reset will reinstall Windows 10, not Windows 8.1.

However, if you choose Restore factory settings during the reset, the version of Windows that came installed on your Surface will be reinstalled.

Restore your Surface to an earlier point in time

If you think an app or driver that you recently installed is causing problems with your Surface Pro or Surface 3, you can perform a system restore, which restores your Surface to an earlier point in time, called a restore point. Depending on the restore point, a system restore might change or remove your personal files and might remove recently installed apps and drivers.

Important
Make sure you have access to product keys and installation files for all desktop apps (for example, Microsoft Office) that may have been installed after the point in time you’re restoring to.
Step 1: Go to Start Windows logo, and select Settings > Update & security > Recovery.
Step 2: Under Advanced startup, select Restart now.
Step 3: Select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > System Restore, and follow the on-screen instructions.

Reset your Surface

If a system restore doesn’t fix the problem, you can try resetting your Surface. A reset does the following:

  • Removes all your personal settings
  • Removes all apps that you installed
  • Gives you the option of keeping or removing your personal files:
    • Keep my files: Removes apps and settings but keeps your personal files.
    • Remove everything: Removes all your personal files, apps, and settings.
    • Restore factory settings: Removes your personal files, apps, and settings, and reinstalls the version of Windows that came installed on your Surface. (This option will appear only if you upgraded your Surface from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10.)
  • Reinstalls Windows and the apps that came installed on your Surface
Important
  • If you upgraded your Surface from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10, a reset will reinstall Windows 10, unless you choose to restore factory settings.
  • The first time you do a reset, we recommend that you choose Keep my files. If you’re still having problems after the reset, try resetting your Surface again and choosing Remove everything. If that option doesn’t help, try resetting your Surface again and choosing Restore factory settings, if that option is available.
    For info on backing up your personal files, see Back up your files.
  • 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.

There are three ways to reset your Surface:

  • Reset Surface from within Windows: If Windows starts and you can sign in, you can perform the reset from within Windows.
  • Reset Surface from the Windows sign-in screen: If Windows sign-in fails, you can perform the reset from the Windows sign-in screen.
  • Reset Surface from USB recovery media: If Windows won’t start, you can perform the reset by using USB recovery media, if available.
Important
If you see the message Could not find the recovery environment. Insert your Windows installation or recovery media and restart your PC with the media, you need to download a recovery image and reset from a USB recovery drive. For more info, see “Reset from USB recovery media” below.

Reset Surface from within Windows

Step 1: Go to Start Windows logo, and select Settings > Update & security > Recovery.
Step 2: Under Reset this PC, select Get started.
Step 3: Choose an option:
  • Keep my files: Removes apps and settings but keeps personal files.
  • Remove everything: Removes all files, apps, and settings.
  • Restore factory settings: Removes personal files, apps, and settings, and reinstalls the version of Windows that came installed on your Surface. (This option will appear only if you upgraded your Surface from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10.)

    Important
    The first time you do a reset, we recommend that you choose Keep my files. If you’re still having problems after the reset, try resetting your Surface again and choosing Remove everything. If that option doesn’t help, try resetting your Surface again and choosing Restore factory settings (if that option is available).
Step 4: Select Next > Reset.
The reset process will take several minutes.

Reset Surface from the Windows sign-in screen

Notes
  • If you’ve lost your password, you may not have to reset your Surface. See I forgot my password before performing these reset steps.
  • If you don't have a keyboard connected to your Surface Pro or Surface 3, you'll need to use the on-screen touch keyboard to do these reset steps. On the Windows sign-in screen, select Ease of access Ease of access icon in the lower-right corner, and select On-Screen Keyboard.
Step 1: On the Windows sign-in screen, select Power Power icon in the lower-right corner.
Step 2: Press and hold the Shift key.
(If you're using the touch keyboard, select the Shift key.)
Step 3: While the Shift key is still pressed, select Restart.
If you get the prompt Restart anyway, select Restart anyway.
After your Surface restarts, the Choose an option screen will appear.
Step 4: Select Troubleshoot. >Reset this PC.
Step 5: Choose an option:
  • Keep my files: Removes apps and settings but keeps personal files.
  • Remove everything: Removes all files, apps, and settings.
  • Restore factory settings: Removes personal files, apps, and settings, and reinstalls the version of Windows that came installed on your Surface. (This option will appear only if you upgraded your Surface from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10.)

    Important
    The first time you do a reset, we recommend that you choose Keep my files. If you’re still having problems after the reset, try resetting your Surface again and choosing Remove everything. If that option doesn’t help, try resetting your Surface again and choosing Restore factory settings (if that option is available).
Step 6: Select an account, enter the password, and select Continue.
Step 7: Select Reset.
The reset process will take several minutes.

Reset Surface from USB recovery media

Note
To learn how to create a USB recovery drive, see Create a USB recovery drive or Download a recovery image for your Surface.

Reset your Surface from the USB recovery drive by following these steps:

Step 1: Make sure that your Surface is shut down and plugged in.
Step 2: Insert the USB recovery drive into the USB port.
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-down button.
Step 4: When prompted, select the language and keyboard layout you want.
Step 5: Select Troubleshoot > Reset this PC.
Step 6: Choose an option:
  • Keep my files: Removes apps and settings but keeps personal files.
  • Remove everything: Removes all files, apps, and settings.
  • Restore factory settings: Removes personal files, apps, and settings, and reinstalls the version of Windows that came installed on your Surface. (This option will appear only if you upgraded your Surface from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10.)

    Important
    The first time you do a reset, we recommend that you choose Keep my files. If you’re still having problems, reset your Surface again and choose Remove everything. If that option doesn’t help, reset your Surface again and choose Restore factory settings (if the option is available).
Step 7: Select the operating system you want to reset. This refers to the current operating system installed on your Surface.
Step 8: Select Reset.
Surface restarts and the Surface logo appears while the reset process continues (this can take several minutes).
Step 9: Surface Pro 2 only: During the reset, if you see the American Megatrends screen, press the Esc key. If the Surface UEFI screen opens, select Save & Exit.

After the reset

Here’s what to do after you’ve reset your Surface:

  • Complete the Surface setup steps, including selecting your region and language.
  • Sign in with the same Microsoft account you were using before so that things like the Windows Store apps you purchased will be available to reinstall. For more info, see All about accounts.
  • Check for important updates. To learn how, see Install Surface and Windows updates.
  • Reinstall apps from the Windows Store:
Step 1: Go to Start Windows logo, and select Store.
Step 2: In the Store, select Account Accounts icon > My Library.
Step 3: Select the apps you want to install, and select Install.

Restore, refresh, or reset Surface Pro or Surface 3

If you're having trouble with your Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3, or Surface 3, you may be able to restore, refresh, or reset it to solve the problem.


Before you begin

To perform a restore, refresh, or reset, you’ll need to check a few things first.

Is your Surface touchscreen working?

If you're having problems with your Surface touchscreen, connect a keyboard, such as a Surface Cover or USB keyboard, before trying these solutions.

Is Windows loading?

If you’re having trouble getting Windows to start on your Surface, you may not be able to perform the steps to restore, refresh, or reset. See Surface won’t turn on, Windows won’t start, or the battery won’t charge for help with Windows startup issues first.

Did you update Surface Pro to Windows 8.1 from Windows 8?

If your Surface Pro came with Windows 8 installed and you updated to Windows 8.1, you’ll need to reinstall the update to Windows 8.1 after a reset or refresh.

Restore your Surface to an earlier point in time

If you think an app or driver that you recently installed caused problems with your Surface Pro or Surface 3, you can restore it back to an earlier point in time, called a restore point. Restoring Surface doesn’t change your personal files, but it might remove recently installed apps and drivers.

Important
Make sure you have access to product keys and installation files for all desktop apps (for example, Microsoft Office) that may have been installed after the point in time you’re restoring to.
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 control panel, and in the search results, tap or click Control Panel.
Step 3: Enter Recovery in the Control Panel search box, and tap or click Recovery.
Step 4: Tap or click Open System Restore, and follow the instructions.

Refresh your Surface

Refreshing Surface Pro or Surface 3 reinstalls Windows and keeps your personal files, settings, apps that came installed on your Surface and those that you’ve installed from the Windows Store.

You’ll need to reinstall desktop apps from the websites or from the discs that you used to install those apps. Before you refresh Surface, make sure you have access to product keys and installation files for desktop apps that you want to reinstall (for example, Microsoft Office).

Note
If you updated Surface Pro from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1, a refresh reinstalls Windows 8 (not Windows 8.1) and you’ll need to re-install the latest updates. For more info, see Install Surface and Windows updates.

To refresh Surface

There are two ways to refresh your Surface:

  • Refresh from within Windows: If Windows loads and you can sign in, you can perform the refresh from within Windows.
  • Refresh from USB recovery media: If Windows fails to start and you have USB recovery media available, you can perform the refresh by using your USB.

Refresh from within Windows

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 Settings.)
Step 2: Tap or click Change PC settings.
Step 3: Tap or click Update and recovery, and tap or click Recovery.
Step 4: Under Refresh your PC without affecting your files, tap or click Get started.
Step 5: Tap or click Next, ensure that your Surface is plugged in, and tap or click Refresh.
Surface restarts and the Surface logo displays while the refresh process completes (this can take several minutes).

Refresh from USB recovery media

Note
To learn how to create a USB recovery drive, see Create a USB recovery drive or Download a recovery image for your Surface.

Refresh your Surface from a USB recovery drive by following these steps:

Step 1:Make sure Surface is shut down and plugged in.
Step 2: Insert the USB recovery drive into the USB port on Surface.
Step 3: Press and hold the volume-down button while you press and release the power button.
Step 4: When the Surface logo appears, release the volume-down button.
Step 5: When prompted, select the language and keyboard layout you want.
Step 6:Tap or click Troubleshoot, tap or click Refresh your PC, and then tap or click the target operating system you wish to refresh.
Step 7: On the Refresh your PC screen, tap or click Next, and tap or click Refresh.
Surface restarts and the Surface logo displays while the refresh process completes (this can take several minutes).

Reset your Surface

Warning
A reset returns Surface to its factory settings:
  • A reset reinstalls Windows and apps that came installed on your Surface.
  • All of your personal files will be deleted and your settings will be reset. All apps that you installed will be removed.
  • After a reset, you'll be able to set up Surface as if it were brand new.
  • 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.
Tip
Make a list of the desktop apps you plan to reinstall and gather the above information beforehand. This way, you’ll be sure to have everything you need to get Surface set up and desktop apps reinstalled when you’re done.

Note
If you updated Surface Pro from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1, a reset reinstalls Windows 8 (not Windows 8.1) on your Surface Pro. You can update to Windows 8.1 again after a reset.

To reset Surface

There are three ways to reset Surface Pro or Surface 3.

Important
If you see the message, “Insert media: Some files are missing. Your Windows installation or recovery media will provide these files,” you need to download a recovery image and reset from a USB recovery drive. For more info, see Reset from USB recovery media below.

Reset from within Windows

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 Settings.)
Step 2: Tap or click Change PC settings.
Step 3: Tap or click Update and recovery, and tap or click Recovery.
Step 4: Under Remove everything and reinstall Windows, tap or click Get started.
Step 5: Tap or click Next.
Step 6: 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 7: Tap or click Reset.
Surface restarts and the Surface logo displays while the reset process completes (this can take several minutes).

Reset from the Windows sign-in screen

Notes
  • If you’ve lost your password, you may not have to reset your Surface. See I forgot my password before performing these reset steps.
  • If you don't have a keyboard connected to your Surface Pro or Surface 3, you'll need to use the on-screen keyboard to do these reset steps. From the Windows sign-in screen, tap or click the Ease of access icon Ease of access icon in the lower-left corner of the screen, and then tap or click On-Screen Keyboard.
Step 1: From the Windows sign-in screen, tap or click Power Power icon in the lower right corner of the sign-in screen.
Step 2: Press and hold the Shift key.
(If you're using the on-screen keyboard, tap or click the Shift key.)
Step 3: While the Shift key is still pressed, tap or click Restart.
If you get the prompt Restart anyway, tap or click Restart anyway.
After Surface restarts, the Choose an option screen will appear.
Step 4: Tap or click Troubleshoot.
Step 5: Tap or click Reset your PC.
Surface restarts and the Surface logo displays while Windows prepares to reset your Surface.
Step 6: On the Reset your PC screen, tap or click Next.
Step 7: 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 8: Tap or click Reset.
Surface restarts and the Surface logo displays while the reset process completes (this can take several minutes).

Reset from USB recovery media

Note
To learn how to create a USB recovery drive, see Create a USB recovery drive or Download a recovery image for your Surface.

Reset your Surface from the USB recovery drive by following these steps:

Step 1: Make sure that Surface is shut down and plugged in.
Step 2: Insert the USB recovery drive into the USB port on 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-down 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 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 will restart and the Surface logo displays while the reset process completes (this can take several minutes).

After the reset

Here’s what to do after you’ve reset your Surface:

  • Complete the Surface setup steps, including selecting your region and language.
  • Sign in with the same Microsoft account you were using before so that things like the Windows Store apps you’ve purchased will be available to reinstall. For more info, see All about accounts.
  • Check for important updates. To learn how, see Install Surface and Windows updates.
  • Reinstall Windows Store apps. From the Start screen, tap or click Store. Tap or click Account, and tap or click My apps. Select the apps you want to install, and tap or click Install.