What Should I Do if My Surface Won’t Turn On? - dummies

What Should I Do if My Surface Won’t Turn On?

By Andy Rathbone

When your Surface won’t even turn on, it’s not always an End-of-Tablet-Life situation. No, it usually means the battery needs charging. Grab your Surface’s battery charger and begin running down these steps:

  1. Unplug everything from your Surface: USB gadgets, memory cards, keyboards, docking stations, and anything else connected to your Surface.

    You want to isolate your Surface completely and rule out any third-party culprits that may be interfering.

    Like most chargers, your Surface’s charger may not work when the temperature drops below freezing.

  2. Plug the charger into the wall outlet and plug its other end into your Surface’s power connector.

    When your Surface is charging correctly, you’ll spot a glowing dot of light either at the charger’s tip or near the tip’s end.

    If you spot the light, press and release your Surface’s power switch. If it turns on, you’re through. Let your Surface charge for a few hours and try to remember to plug it in more often.

    If you don’t spot the glowing charger light, plug the charger into a different wall outlet.

    If the charger light glows, your first wall outlet is bad. Leave your Surface plugged in to slurp up electricity.

    Still no glowing charger light? Move to Step 3.

  3. Clean the connectors.

    The power supply’s connector tip can’t connect with the Surface’s charging port if one of them is dirty or covered with oil. Unplug the power cord from the wall outlet. Then put some rubbing alcohol on a rag and wipe off the magnets on both the charger’s connector and the Surface’s charging port. When it’s dry, plug in the charger and try to charge your Surface one last time.

If the charging light still won’t turn on when connected between the wall outlet and your Surface, it probably needs replacing. Contact the Surface Online Service Center for help.


  • If your Surface has a tiny amount of charge left, only the Battery Is Critically Low icon appears. That’s a sure sign you need to charge your Surface as soon as possible.


  • If your Surface is too hot to turn on, perhaps from being left on a car’s dashboard, the Surface Is Too Hot icon may appear. Remove your Surface from the heat and let it cool off completely before trying to turn it on.