Windows stops responding on Surface

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

Before you start troubleshooting, do the following:

Disconnect everything from your Surface

Unplug the power cord from the electrical outlet and remove everything you have connected to your Surface—power supply, Typing Cover, accessories, adapters, and memory card. 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 that you use on your Surface.

Clean the connectors on your Surface Book

If you're using a Surface Book, try cleaning the connectors between the Clipboard and the keyboard.

  1. Detach the Clipboard from the keyboard.

  2. Clean the pins on the connector with a pencil eraser. Rub the eraser back and forth across the pins.

  3. Wet a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol. Clean the pins on the long, narrow part of the charger that you plug into your Surface. Rub the cotton swab back and forth across the pins. After you are done cleaning the pins on the connector, make sure the pins are dry, and reattach the Clipboard to the keyboard.

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.

Note: If your Surface gets stuck on the Surface logo screen or if your screen remains black when you turn your Surface on or wake it from sleep, go to Surface won’t turn on, Windows won’t start, or the battery won’t charge.

Solution 1: Shut down your Surface

See Force a shut down and restart your Surface to find out how.

If your Surface stops responding often and the problem doesn’t appear to be related to a particular app, here are a few solutions to try.

Solution 1: Install Surface and Windows updates

For info about how to update Windows, see Update Windows 10. To learn more about updating your Surface, see Install Surface and Windows updates.

Solution 2: Scan Surface with Windows Defender

For info about how scan your Surface using Windows Defender, see What is Windows Defender?

For info about how to schedule a scan in Windows Defender, see Help protect my computer with Windows Defender.

Solution 3: 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. To see how, go to Fast Startup - How to disable if it's causing problems.

Solution 4: Disable unnecessary startup programs

When you turn on your Surface, some programs start automatically and run in the background. You can disable these programs at startup to improve Windows startup time and overall system performance. To see how, go to Change startup apps in Windows 10.

Solution 5: Run Disk Cleanup

You can run Disk Cleanup to reduce the number of unnecessary files on your drive, which can help your Surface run faster. Disk Cleanup can delete temporary and system files, empty the Recycle bin, and remove other items you might no longer need. See Disk cleanup in Windows 10 for more info.

Caution: By default, Windows pre-selects file types that generally are not necessary for you to keep. However, before proceeding, make sure you don’t need the files that are selected. Microsoft isn’t responsible for the loss of personal data.

Solution 6: Optimize (defragment) your hard drive

Defragmentation consolidates data on a disk or storage device so it will work more efficiently. The disk defragmenter tool rearranges the data and reunites fragmented data so your computer can run more efficiently. To see how, visit Defragment your Windows 10 PC.

Solution 7: Identify hardware issues

To help identify specific hardware-related problems on your Surface, try running the following diagnostic tools that are built into Windows.

Windows Memory Diagnostic tool: Run this tool to determine whether your Surface memory is working properly.

  1. Select the search box in the taskbar, enter memory, and in the search results, select Windows Memory Diagnostic.

  2. Select Restart now and check for problems (recommended).
    When your Surface restarts, the diagnostic tool will run and display the test status on the screen. Although the test may appear inactive, it’s still running. Windows will restart automatically after the test is complete.

If the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool finds any errors, contact us.

Error Checking tool: Run this tool to scan for errors on your hard drive.

  1. Open File Explorer in the taskbar and select This PC.

  2. Press and hold (or right-click) Windows (C:) and select Properties.

  3. Select the Tools tab, and under Error checking, select Check.
    Follow the on-screen instructions.

If the tool finds any errors, contact us.

Solution 8: Restore or reset your Surface

If you’re still having a problem with Windows, try fresh start, restoring, and resetting your Surface (in that order).

To learn how to restore your Surface, see Restore or reset 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.

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

Solution 1: Install Surface and Windows updates

For info about how to update Windows, see Update Windows 10. To learn more about updating your Surface, see Install Surface and Windows updates.

Solution 2: Update or reinstall the app

Check for app updates and, if necessary, uninstall and reinstall the app.

Solution 3: Contact the app's publisher

To contact the publisher of your app:

  1. Go to Start , and select MicrosoftStore.

  2. Search or browse for the app and select it.

  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.

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