How to prepare your Surface for service

Applies to: SurfaceSurface Devices

If you need to send your Surface in for service, there are a few things you need to do first.

Things to know before you begin

What happens to the data on my Surface?

If you send your Surface to our service center, everything on it is erased. For details, see FAQ: Protecting your data if you send your Surface in for service.

For information about backing up your files, see Back up and restore your files.

Microsoft is not responsible for the loss of data during servicing.

If your bring your device in to be repaired at a Microsoft Store location, our trained Service Advisors will evaluate your device and provide the available service options. We encourage you to backup all of your data before bringing your device to a Microsoft Store location for service.

Important info for Surface Laptop (1st Gen) or Surface Go with Windows 10 in S mode

Devices sent from the service center will be in S mode. If you had previously switched out of S mode and want to switch again, you can do this by following the steps in Switching out of S mode in Windows 10.

What if my Surface won't turn on?

If your Surface won't turn on, you won't be able to back up the files stored on it. If you've been using OneDrive, or another backup option, you'll be able to restore your files once you get a Surface back from the service center.

Things you don't need to back up

  • Apps. You will need to reinstall any apps you installed.
  • Mail, Calendar, and People accounts. Any emails, calendars, and contacts from places like, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are stored in the cloud and will sync to your Surface after you sign in with your Microsoft account. If you're using the Outlook app to connect to your email account, you may be using Outlook Data Files (.pst and .ost files). You'll need to back up these files manually. For more info, see Introduction to Outlook Data Files.
  • Microsoft Office. If your Surface came with an edition of Office, the same edition will be there when we return a Surface to you.
  • Files already saved to OneDrive. You don't need to back up Office documents and other files that you saved to OneDrive.

Video: Back up the data on your Surface

Follow these 3 steps:

Step 1: Sync your settings to OneDrive

To sync your settings to OneDrive, sign in to your Surface with a Microsoft account or connect to your Microsoft account in your network domain account at work. This way, your personal settings and preferences are stored in OneDrive and are synced to any PC that you sign in to.

Your settings include things like your Start menu layout, colors, themes, language preferences, browser history and favorites, and Microsoft Store app settings. Here's how to sync your settings:

  1. Sign in to your Surface with your Microsoft account.
  2. Go to Start , and select Settings > Network & Internet.
  3. Select the network you want to connect to and select Connect.
  4. Go to Start , and select Settings > Accounts > Sync your settings.
  5. Select any switch to turn that setting On or Off.
    Once On, that setting will sync automatically.

Step 2: Back up and manually erase your files

Use OneDrive

When you save files to OneDrive, you can access them from any device.

You can copy or move files from your Surface to OneDrive from either the OneDrive app or from File Explorer. If you share your Surface with other people who have accounts on it, everyone who has an account will need to sign in and copy or move their files to their own OneDrive. For more info about using OneDrive, see Using OneDrive on Surface.

Make sure that any files you added to your Surface recently have synced to OneDrive. Go to and sign in with the same Microsoft account you use on your Surface. Once there, verify that you're not missing any files and that your files are up to date.

Use manual backup for Outlook Data Files

If you're using the Outlook app to connect to your email account, you may be using Outlook Data Files (.pst and .ost files) that you should back up manually.

In Outlook 2013 or Outlook 2016, here's how to access the folder where your Outlook Data File is saved:

  1. In Outlook, select the File tab.
  2. Select Account Settings > Account Settings.
  3. On the Data Files tab, select an entry where the location has a file ending in PST and select Open File Location.
  4. In File Explorer, copy the Outlook Data Files to another storage location, like a USB flash drive.

Outlook Data Files created by using Outlook 2013 or Outlook 2016 are saved on your computer in the Documents\Outlook Files folder. If you upgraded to Outlook 2013 on a computer that already had data files that were created in Outlook 2007 or earlier, these files are saved in a different location in a hidden folder at drive:\Users\user\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook.

For more information, see Introduction to Outlook Data Files.

Other backup options

You can use File Explorer to copy files manually from your Documents, Videos, Pictures, and Music libraries to another storage location.

Can I erase all my data manually before sending in my Surface?

Yes. The data on your Surface is erased as part of the service process. However, if you prefer, you can erase your data yourself before sending us your Surface.

To erase your data:

  1. Go to Start and select Settings > Update & Security > Recovery.
  2. Under Reset this PC, select Get started.
  3. Select Remove everything.
  4. Select Remove files and clean the drive.

Step 3: Remove accessories

Before you send us your Surface, make sure you remove all of the following, unless Surface Support has specifically told you to include them with your Surface return:

If you are sending in your Surface Book for service, include both the Clipboard and the keyboard.

  • Surface Typing Cover (for example, Touch Cover or Type Cover)
  • USB devices like a keyboard, mouse, or flash drive
  • Memory card from the SD card slot
  • Power supply
  • Surface Dock
  • Headphones, audio adapter, and other audio cables