Note Some products might not be available in your country or region.
Some products might not be available in your country or region.
You can use a USB recovery drive to start your Surface if you’re having problems or need to free up storage space.
Your Surface comes with Windows recovery info that allows you to refresh it or reset it to its factory condition. This info is stored in a dedicated recovery partition on your device.
If your Surface won’t start, or if the recovery info has been removed, you can use your USB recovery drive to access recovery tools and solve problems
If your Surface does start, try following the steps in Restore or reset Surface first.
Not sure what you need to do? Find the scenario that best fits your issue and then select the solution:
|My Surface isn’t working well, and I need to download a factory recovery drive image||Download a recovery image for your Surface|
|I have already downloaded a recovery image or was sent one from Microsoft and need to use it to reset my Surface||How to reset your Surface to factory conditions using a downloaded recovery image|
|My Surface is working great, and I would like to create a recovery drive now in case I ever need it later.||Creating and using your own USB recovery drive|
|I am having trouble booting to the recovery drive||If the USB recovery drive doesn’t work on your Surface|
If you’re having trouble with the recovery options on your Surface, download the files you need to get your Surface working again. To get started, visit our Download a recovery image for your Surface page. From there, select your Surface device, and download a recovery image .zip file for the device your selected, and then follow steps to create the recovery drive.
If your Surface is not working and you don't have another Windows PC that you can use to download the recovery image, it may be possible to have a USB recovery drive mailed to you. For more info, contact us.
A reset returns your Surface to its factory settings. It deletes all of your personal files, resets your settings, and removes all apps that you installed.
Make sure you have access to the product keys and installation files for any desktop apps, such as Microsoft Office, that you plan to reinstall after the reset.
- Make sure your Surface is turned off and plugged in, and then insert the USB recovery drive into the USB port.
- Press and hold the volume-down button while you press and release the power button.
- When the Microsoft or Surface logo appears, release the volume-down button.
- When prompted, select the language and keyboard layout you want.
- Select Troubleshoot , and then select Recover from a drive . If prompted for a recovery key, select Skip this drive at the bottom of the screen.
Be sure to select the Troubleshoot option on this screen. Don’t select the Use a device option. If you select the Use a device option, your Surface will reboot from the USB recovery drive again and the reset process will start over.
- 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’re recycling your Surface, you should clean the drive. If you’re keeping your Surface, you just need to remove your files.
- Select Recover.
Surface restarts and displays the Surface logo while the reset process continues. This can take several minutes.
Surface comes with a built-in tool to create a USB recovery drive. You must use an external USB drive formatted to FAT32 (not NTFS), with enough available space for all your recovery data.
Creating a recovery drive will erase everything that’s stored on your USB drive. Make sure to transfer any important data on your USB drive to another storage device before using it to create a recovery drive.
For steps on how to create a USB recovery drive, go to Create a recovery drive.
Once you’ve finished creating the recovery drive, be sure to eject the drive using the Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media icon on the Windows taskbar.
If you choose to delete your recovery partition, you’ll need your USB recovery drive if you ever have to refresh or reset your Surface. Be sure to keep it in a safe place. It's best not to use the recovery drive to store other files or data.
You can also use the Surface USB recovery drive if Windows prompts for installation files when trying to refresh or reset under Start > Settings > Update & security > Recovery.
When the prompt pops up, insert the recovery drive into the USB port on your Surface. To find out how to use your own recovery drive, see the “Use a recovery drive to restore or reset your PC” section in Recovery options in Windows 10.
If you can’t boot from your USB recovery drive or don’t see the Recover from a drive option, you may need to ensure that boot from USB is enabled or configure the boot order so the USB drive is the first option. For more info, see Boot Surface from a USB device.