Applies to

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


Using a Surface USB recovery drive

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


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

Important
Surface USB recovery drives are not interchangeable between the various Surface models. Only use a USB recovery drive that is for your specific Surface model.

How to start Surface using your USB recovery drive

To start Surface from your USB recovery drive:

Step 1: Make sure that Surface is turned off and plugged in.
Step 2: Insert your 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 button.
Step 5: Follow the on-screen instructions, such as selecting the language and keyboard layout, to enter the recovery tools menu.
Note
The Surface USB recovery drive can also be used if Windows prompts for installation files when trying to perform a refresh or reset from the Recovery menu under PC settings > Update and recovery. When the prompt pops up, just insert the USB recovery drive into the USB port on Surface.

How to reset Surface using your USB recovery drive

Important
A reset returns Surface to its factory settings.

Notes
  • All of your personal files will be deleted and your settings will be reset. All apps that you installed will be removed. For info on backing up your files, see Back up photos, documents, and more.
  • Surface Pro models: 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 that Surface is turned off 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 button.
Step 5: When prompted, select the language and keyboard layout you want.
Step 6: Tap or click Troubleshoot, and then 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. 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).

Step 12:

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

How to create your own USB recovery drive

There are two ways to create your own USB recovery drive for your Surface. You can either create your recovery drive using the recovery partition that is on your Surface, or you can download recovery files from the Surface website.

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 add space on your Surface.

To download recovery files, 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’re unable to create your own USB recovery drive or download the recovery image from the Surface website, contact us.