Restore or reset Surface for Windows 10

Applies to: Surface DevicesSurface

Having trouble with your Surface? If you've tried basic troubleshooting options, you may need to restore or reset your Surface. Here are some common issues and solutions:

Your Surface isn't working well, and it's been a while since you installed anything new: Reset your Surface

Before you reset your device and reinstall Windows, you can choose to keep your files or remove them. If you can't sign in to Windows, try retrieving your password before performing a reset. To learn more, see When you can't sign in to your Microsoft account.

Here’s how to reset your Surface:

  1. Select Start  > Settings  > Update & Security   > Recovery .
  2. Under Reset this PC, select Get started and choose an option:
    • Keep my files—Reinstalls Windows 10 but keeps your personal files and any apps that came with your PC. This option removes changes you made to settings, as well as apps and drivers you installed. 
    • Remove everything—Reinstalls Windows 10 and any apps that came with your PC. This option removes personal files, changes you made to settings, and apps and drivers you installed.

You can also get to the reset option by restarting your Surface from the sign-in screen. Here’s how:

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows logo key  L. If you need to, dismiss the lock screen.
  2. Hold the Shift key down while you select Power  > Restart in the lower-right corner of the screen.
  3. After your Surface restarts to the Choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot > Reset this PC.

You want to reinstall your previous operating system: Go back to your previous version of Windows

If you recently upgraded to a newer version of Windows and it isn’t working for you, try going back. This will keep your personal files, but it'll remove apps and drivers installed since upgrading, as well as any changes you made to settings.

Here’s how to go back to your previous version of Windows on your Surface:

  1. Select Start  > Settings  > Update & Security   > Recovery .
  2. Under Go back to the previous version of Windows 10, select Get started. If you don't see this section, too much time has elapsed since you upgraded, and you can no longer go back.

Windows won't start, and you have a recovery drive to reinstall Windows 

For more info about using a recovery drive to reinstall Windows, see Creating and using a Surface USB recovery drive.

You may need your BitLocker Key to reinstall Windows with a recovery drive. For more info about BitLocker keys, see Find my BitLocker recovery key.