How to Restore a Surface tablet with a Recovery USB Drive.

If you want to know how to create and use a Recovery USB drive to restore a Surface tablet to its factory settings, then continue reading below.

I recently fixed a Surface Pro 6 tablet that couldn’t boot into Windows, by reinstalling Windows to it via a USB recovery drive. After getting the Surface tablet back up and running, I decided to document each step I followed in order to help other users with the same problem.

How to Create and Use a Recovery USB to Restore a Surface tablet.

Step 1. Download a Recovery image for your Surface on another PC.

On another working PC:

1. Navigate to this page: Download a recovery image for your Surface.

2. Scroll down, select your Surface model, type the Serial Number of your Surface and click Continue.


3. At the next screen choose the Windows version you own and Download the Recovery Image on your PC. *

* Note: If you have updated your Surface to Windows 11, then download the latest Windows 10 version, and after the recovery process update your system to Windows 11.


4. When the download is completed extract the downloaded .ZIP file to a folder.



Step 2. Create the Recovery USB drive for your Surface.

1. Plug an empty USB disk on your PC. *

* Important: Make sure that the USB drive does not contain files that you need, because during operation they will be deleted.

1. In the Search box, type recovery and open the Recovery App as Administrator



2. Click Next at the first screen.



3. Read the warning carefully and if you have personal files on the drive, click the Cancel button and back up them to another drive. If you have no personal files on the USB drive or if it is empty, click the Create button to continue.



4. Wait until Windows creates the recovery drive. (this task takes time)



5. When the recovery drive created, continue to next step.


Step 3. Copy Recovery Image Files to USB.

1. Explore the contents on the extracted folder of the .ZIP file (from step-1).

2. Select all the files (CTRL + A) and then right-click anywhere and choose Copy.

2. Navigate to the Recovery USB drive and Paste the copied files. When prompted, choose Replace all files to replace the files on the USB Drive.

3. When the copy is done, unplug the USB drive and use it to recover your Surface.


How to Recover your Surface using the Recovery USB disk.

1. Power off your Surface, by pressing down the Power button for 5-7 seconds.

2. Plug the Recovery USB drive on your Surface’s USB port and disconnect any other USB devices.

3. Now force your Surface to Boot from the USB, by using one of the following methods:

  • Method 1. Shut Down your Surface. Press and hold down the “Volume-Down” button and then Press and Release the “Power” button. When the Surface logo appears, release the volume button.
  • Method 2: Shut Down your Surface. Press and hold down the “Volume-UP” button and then Press and Release the “Power” button. At “Boot Configuration” menu, exclude (uncheck) the “Windows Boot Manager” and the “Internal Storage” from the Boot order (or drag the USB Storage on the TOP. (Do not forget to reset the settings as originally after the first restart of the Windows installation process, by using the same procedure).

4. When prompted choose your Language (e.g. “English Unite States”) and the keyboard Layout (E.g. “US”)

5. At the next scree, choose one of the following options:

  • Recover from a drive, to restore your Surface to its original state that came from the manufacturer. *

* Caution: Since this option will delete all your personal files and apps, I suggest you to try the Troubleshoot options first (see below).



  • Troubleshoot: From the available troubleshooting options, try to fix your system with the following sequence. *
    1. Startup Repair.
    2. System Restore.
    3. Uninstall Updates.

* Note: For detailed instructions on the listed troubleshooting options see this article.



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