How to Hard Reset the Microsoft Surface Tablet

The Microsoft Surface tablet, first released in 2012, is Microsoft’s first major contender in the tablet market. Paired with a full keyboard and back stand, it offers the user a unique “hybrid” experience between tablet and laptop use. If you own one of these tablets and have experienced sluggish performance or misbehaving programs, there is a chance that corrupt software is affecting the Surface. If left unchecked, Windows itself could fail to boot, making a factory reset necessary.

There are two methods to perform a hard reset on the Microsoft Surface, each tailored to a different situation depending on the errors you experience; this article will explain both these ways to restore your Surface to its factory settings and re-install windows.

Microsoft Surface Hard Reset instructions


Before moving further up, it’s important to know that both factory reset methods will erase all of your personal data and applications from the Microsoft Surface. Only the applications that came with the Surface out of the store will be retained. Make sure to back up all your information and collect any product keys, serial numbers or installation files that you will need to restore the Surface after the factory reset is complete.

The first method for resetting your Surface is recommended if the tablet works correctly and you’re able to sign in normally.  This is the easiest and safest method available:

  1. After the sign-in, swipe in from the right side of the screen, and access Settings.
  2. Tap on Change PC settings and then on General.
  3. Go to Remove Everything And Re-install Windows, and tap on Get Started.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions and let the Surface restart.

When Windows is unresponsive

The second method described here is recommended if you’re unable to sign into Windows using the Microsoft Surface. This would mean that your account information has been corrupted or otherwise compromised. Do not do this if you simply forgot your password:

  1. Have a Touch Cover, Type Cover, or USB Keyboard attached to the Surface. If you don’t have one of these handy, you’ll need to tap on the Ease Of Access icon on the lower left corner of the screen and open the On-Screen Keyboard.
  2. Tap on the Power button, located on the lower right hand corner of the screen.
  3. Press and hold the shift key.
  4. Tap on Restart. If a prompt comes up, select Restart Anyway.
  5. After the Surface restarts, choose Troubleshoot on the presented menu.
  6. Now press on Reset Your PC.
  7. A prompt will come up telling you exactly what the reset does to your Surface. Read this, then tap on Next.
  8. Another prompt will come up, letting you know that if you have sensitive information that you’d like to make irretrievable, choose Clean The Drive Fully. Otherwise, tap on Just Remove My Files.
  9. When the Surface displays All Ready To Go tap on Reset, and wait for it to restart.

After your Microsoft Surface restarts, you’ll have to reinstall your apps and restore your user data. All your applications are stored on the Microsoft Store servers, so the first thing you should do from here is open the Store, tap on My Apps and begin re-installation. Very soon you’ll have a like-new Microsoft Surface up and running.