Applies to

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

Applies to

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

Applies to

Surface RT, Surface 2.

Operating system:

Windows stops responding on Surface

If Windows isn’t responding on your Surface, here's info to help you get things back up and running.


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.

Before you begin

Before you start troubleshooting, do the following:

  • Disconnect everything from your Surface. Unplug the power cord from the electrical outlet, and remove everything you may have connected to your Surface—power supply, Typing Cover, accessories, adapters, and microSD card, and remove your Surface from the docking station if you’re using one.
  • Have your BitLocker Recovery Key handy. Windows might prompt you for your BitLocker Recovery Key. If you don’t have it, you can retrieve it by going to windows.microsoft.com/recoverykey and signing in with the same Microsoft account you use on your Surface.

Windows stops responding

If Windows stops responding and the problem doesn’t appear to be related to a particular app, here are a few solutions to try:

Solution 1: Shut down Surface

Step 1: Press the power button on your Surface and hold it down for 30 seconds.
This ensures that your Surface shuts down instead of just going to sleep.
Step 2: Press the power button again to turn your Surface back on.

If that doesn't help, try Solution 2.

Solution 2: Install Surface and Windows updates

Step 1: Go to Start Windows logo, 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.

For more info on updates, see Install Surface and Windows updates.

If installing updates doesn't help, try Solution 3.

Solution 3: Scan Surface with Windows Defender

Step 1: In the search box, enter defender, and in the search results, select Windows Defender.
Step 2: On the Home tab, choose a scan option, and select Scan now.

If Windows still doesn’t respond, try Solution 4.

Solution 4: Disable fast startup

Fast startup is a setting that helps Windows start faster after shutdown. Windows does this by saving system info to a file when it shuts down.

Disabling this setting can help resolve some Windows startup problems. Here's how:

Step 1: Go to Start Windows logo, and select Settings.
Step 2: In the search box, enter power button, and in the search results, select Change what the power buttons do.
Step 3: Select Change settings that are currently unavailable.
Step 4: Clear the Turn on fast startup (recommended) check box if it is selected.
Step 5: Select Save changes.

If Windows still isn't running as well as it should, try Solution 5.

Solution 5: Two-button shutdown

Warning
Don’t use this process on Surface RT or Surface 2.

Use this two-button shutdown process to ensure that your Surface is turned off completely. Here’s how:

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. Then press and release the power button again to turn your Surface back on.

If Windows still isn’t running right, try Solution 6.

Solution 6: Restore or reset Surface

If you’re still having a problem with Windows, try doing a system restore or resetting your Surface (in that order).

  • Restore Surface

    Performing a system restore is a way to undo recent system changes that may be causing problems. Restoring Surface will remove personal files saved to the device and apps that were installed after the restore point.

    If doing a system restore doesn't resolve the problem, reset your Surface.

  • Reset Surface

    Resetting your Surface reinstalls Windows but removes your personal files, settings, and apps that didn’t come pre-installed on your Surface. Reset keeps the apps that came installed on your Surface.

Note
If you upgraded your Surface from Windows 8 to Windows 10, a reset will reinstall Windows 10, unless you choose Restore factory settings during the reset.

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

If you continue to have problems with Windows, contact us.

Windows stops responding in a certain app

If Windows stops responding when you’re using a certain app, try these solutions:

Solution 1: Install Surface and Windows updates

Make sure you have the latest updates for Surface and Windows. See Solution 2: Install Surface and Windows updates above.

Solution 2: Update or reinstall the app

Check for app updates and, if necessary, uninstall and reinstall the app. To learn how, see Install and uninstall apps on Surface.

Solution 3: Contact the app's publisher

To contact the publisher of your app:

Step 1: Go to Start Windows logo, and select Store.
Step 2: Search or browse for the app, and select it.
Step 3: Scroll to the Additional information section of the app's description page, and under Learn more, select the support link for the app.
The link will open an email message for you to contact support or will take you to a support website.

Need more help troubleshooting apps?

For more help troubleshooting apps, see:


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 Surface on or wake it from sleep.
  • 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.

Before you begin

Before you start troubleshooting, do the following.

  • Disconnect everything from Surface. Unplug the power cord from the electrical outlet, and remove everything you may have connected to Surface—power supply, Typing Cover, accessories, adapters, and microSD card, and remove Surface from the docking station if you’re using one.
  • Have your BitLocker Recovery Key handy. Windows might prompt you for your BitLocker Recovery Key. If you don’t have it, you can retrieve it by going to windows.microsoft.com/recoverykey, and signing it with the same Microsoft account you use on Surface. For more info, see BitLocker recovery keys: Frequently asked questions.

Windows stops responding

If Windows stops responding, and the problem doesn’t appear to be related to a particular app, here are a few solutions to try:

Solution 1: Shut down Surface

Step 1: Press the power button on your Surface and hold it down for 30 seconds.
This ensures that Surfaces shuts down instead of just going to sleep.
Step 2: Next, press the power button again to turn Surface back on.

If shutting down Surface and turning it back on doesn't help, try Solution 2.

Solution 2: Install Surface and Windows updates

Step 1: On the Start screen, 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, and tap or click Update and recovery.
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, and tap or click Install.
You may need to restart Surface after the updates have installed.

For more info on updates, see Install Surface and Windows updates.

If installing updates doesn't help, try Solution 3.

Solution 3: Scan Surface with Windows Defender

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 defender, and in the search results, tap or click Windows Defender.
Step 3: On the Home tab, choose a scan option, and tap or click Scan now.

For more info on features built into Windows 8.1 to help guard Surface against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software, see How can I help protect my PC from viruses? and How do I find and remove a virus?

If Windows still doesn’t respond, try Solution 4.

Solution 4: Disable fast startup

Fast startup is a setting that helps Windows 8.1 start faster after shutdown. Windows does this by saving system info to a file when it shuts down.

Disabling this setting can help resolve some Windows startup problems. Here's how:

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge, and tap or click 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 power button, and in the search results, tap or click Change what the power buttons do.
Step 3: Tap or click Change settings that are currently unavailable.
Step 4: If the Turn on fast start up (recommended) check box is selected, tap or click to remove the check mark.
Step 5: Tap or click Save changes.

If Windows still isn't running as well as it should, try Solution 5.

Solution 5: Two-button shutdown

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

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, tap or click Settings, tap or click Power, and tap or click Shut down to shut down Surface.
If you can’t shut down Surface normally, press and hold the power button on your Surface for 30 seconds.
Step 2: After Surface turns off, press and hold volume-up button and the power button on your Surface at the same time for at least 15 seconds, and then release both.
Step 3: 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 again to turn your Surface back on.

If Windows still isn’t running right, try Solution 6.

Solution 6: Restore, refresh, or reset Surface

If there’s still a problem with Windows, try restoring, refreshing, or resetting Surface.

  • Restore Surface

    Restoring your Surface is a way to undo recent system changes that may be causing problems. Restoring Surface doesn’t change your personal files, but it might remove recently installed apps and drivers.

    If restoring Surface doesn't resolve the problem, refresh Surface.

  • Refresh Surface

    Refreshing Surface reinstalls Windows and keeps your personal files, settings, pre-installed apps, and apps you've installed from the Windows Store. Desktop apps you installed 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 pre-installed on Surface Pro. Other apps and your settings will be gone. You can reinstall them after the refresh is done.

    If refreshing Surface doesn't solve the problem, reset Surface.

  • Reset Surface

    Resetting your Surface reinstalls Windows, but removes your personal files, settings, and apps that didn’t come pre-installed on Surface. Reset keeps the apps that came installed on your Surface.

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 or reset Surface Pro or Surface 3.

If you continue to have problems with Windows, contact us.

Windows stops responding in a certain app

If Windows stops responding when you’re using a certain app, try these solutions:

Solution 1: Install Surface and Windows updates

Make sure you have the latest updates for Surface and Windows. See Solution 2: Install Surface and Windows updates above.

Solution 2: Update or reinstall the app

Check for app updates, and if necessary, uninstall and reinstall the app. To learn how, see Install and uninstall apps on Surface.

Solution 3: Run the App troubleshooter

Try running the App troubleshooter. The troubleshooter can find and fix many problems with apps.

Solution 4: Contact the app's publisher

To contact the publisher of your app:

Step 1: On the Start screen, tap or click Store.
Step 2: Search or browse for the app, and tap or click it.
Step 3:Scroll to the to Details section of the app's description page, and then under Learn more, tap or click the support link for the app.
The link will open an email message for you to contact support or will take you to a support website.

Need more help troubleshooting apps?

For more help troubleshooting apps, see:


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 Surface on or wake it from sleep.
  • 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.

Before you begin

Before you start troubleshooting, do the following.

  • Disconnect everything from Surface. Unplug the power cord from the electrical outlet, and remove everything you may have connected to Surface—power supply, Typing Cover, accessories, adapters, and microSD card.
  • Have your BitLocker Recovery Key handy. Windows might prompt you for your BitLocker Recovery Key. If you don’t have it, you can retrieve it by going to windows.microsoft.com/recoverykey, and signing it with the same Microsoft account you use on Surface. For more info, see BitLocker recovery keys: Frequently asked questions.

Windows stops responding

If Windows stops responding and the problem doesn’t appear to be related to a particular app, here are a few solutions to try:

Solution 1: Shut down Surface

Step 1: Press the power button on your Surface and hold it down for 30 seconds.
This ensures that Surfaces shuts down instead of just going to sleep.
Step 2: Next, press the power button again to turn Surface back on.

If shutting down Surface and turning it back on doesn't help, try Solution 2.

Solution 2: Install Surface and Windows updates

Step 1: On the Start screen, 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, and tap or click Update and recovery.
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, and tap or click Install.
You may need to restart Surface after the updates have installed.

For more info on updates, see Install Surface and Windows updates.

If installing updates doesn't help, try Solution 3.

Solution 3: Scan Surface with Windows Defender

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 defender, and in the search results, tap or click Windows Defender.
Step 3: On the Home tab, choose a scan option, and tap or click Scan now.

For more info on features built into Windows RT 8.1 to help guard against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software, see How can I help protect my PC from viruses? and How do I find and remove a virus?

If Windows still doesn’t respond, try Solution 4.

Solution 4: Refresh or reset Surface

Try these solutions in this order: refresh Surface and reset Surface.

  • Refresh Surface
    Refreshing Surface reinstalls Windows and keeps your personal files, settings, pre-installed apps, and apps you've installed from the Windows Store.

If refreshing Surface doesn't solve the problem, reset Surface.

  • Reset Surface
    Resetting your Surface reinstalls Windows, but removes your personal files, settings, and apps that didn’t come pre-installed on 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.

If you continue to have problems with Windows, contact us.

Windows stops responding in a certain app

If Windows stops responding when you’re using a certain app, try these solutions:

Solution 1: Install Surface and Windows updates

Make sure you have the latest updates for Surface and Windows. See Solution 2: Install Surface and Windows updates above.

Solution 2: Update or reinstall the app

Check for app updates, and if necessary, uninstall and reinstall the app. To learn how, see Install and uninstall apps on Surface.

Solution 3: Run the App troubleshooter

Try running the App troubleshooter. The troubleshooter can find and fix many problems with apps.

Solution 4: Contact the app's publisher

To contact the publisher of your app:

Step 1: On the Start screen, tap or click Store.
Step 2: Search or browse for the app, and tap or click it.
Step 3: Swipe left (or scroll) to Details, and under Learn more, tap or click the support link for the app.
The link will open an email message for you to contact support or will take you to a support website.

Need more help troubleshooting apps?

For more help troubleshooting apps, see Troubleshoot Windows apps on Surface.