What Should I Do if I Can’t Even Sign In to My Surface?

By Andy Rathbone

If your Surface seems beyond repair, don’t give up just yet. You’re not without hope. You can troubleshoot, refresh, or reset your Surface to factory conditions by following these steps:

  1. With your Surface turned off, attach any type of keyboard.

    A desktop keyboard plugged into your USB port will do if you don’t have a Touch or Type Cover keyboard cover.

  2. Turn on your Surface by pressing its power button.

  3. At the Sign In screen, press and hold the left Shift key.

  4. Tap the Power icon in the screen’s bottom-right corner and then choose Restart from the pop-up menu.

    A light-blue screen appears on your Surface, offering several options, including Troubleshoot.

  5. Tap Troubleshoot.

    The Troubleshoot screen lets you refresh or reset your Surface. But before trying those, tap Advanced Options and then tap Automatic Repair.

If your Surface can’t repair itself, follow these steps again but choose Refresh or Repair in Step 5.

In Step 5, owners of the Surface RT and Surface 2 find a way to boot from their USB Recovery Drive. Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2 owners see an option to load a System Image backup.