What to Do If Your Surface Won’t Start – Tip of the Week

Tip of the Week: Your Surface Won’t Turn ON, what should you do?


Your Surface Won't StartHere’s the scenario: We’ve had arctic temperatures here in the mid-west for the past couple of weeks. Yesterday, on the way home from work, we made a stop and had several bags of stuff to carry in with us. Consequently, we accidentally left one of our Surface tablets in the car overnight. And the temperatures dropped to -15 F!

Since we have two Surfaces, neither one of us noticed that one was missing.

So, guess what happened? Yep, the Surface froze.

We brought it inside in the morning and let it warm up for several hours but it wouldn’t start. So, we figured the battery must be drained and plugged it in for an hour. The Surface RT still would not start.

So, at this point we had two things to try, one of which is not recommended for Surface RT/2.

Your Surface Won’t Start, Method 1:

  1. Make sure that the Power Supply is attached to the device.
  2. Press and hold the Power button for 10 seconds.
  3. Repeatedly press and hold the Power button for 1/2 second before letting go (on/off on/off on/off).
  4. Wait a few seconds to see if the Surface boots up.
  5. If it does not, repeat the process.

This is the preferred method but it still did not start our Surface RT.

Your Surface Won’t Start, Method 2:

Important: Microsoft says to NOT use this process on Surface RT or Surface 2. But obviously our Surface RT already seemed dead, so we were willing to give it a shot.

  1. Always make sure the Surface is turned off first -  not a problem in our case.
  2. Press and hold Volume Up (on the left side) and the Power button at the same time for at least 15 seconds. [You may see the screen flash the Surface logo but continue to hold for 15 seconds.]
  3. Release both buttons and wait 15 more seconds.
  4. Turn on the Surface as usual.

This method worked for us! But as we said, we didn’t have anything to lose. Microsoft says it’s a big NO-NO for the RTs. So, do Method 2 at your own risk.

And that is how you do a hard reset, if your Surface won’t turn on.

You may also like our video instructions on Delete Internet Cache on Surface RT upon Exit and Change Language on Your Surface.

Joanna-

16 thoughts on “What to Do If Your Surface Won’t Start – Tip of the Week

  1. I read this post when it first came out and consequently knew where to look when my surface 2 wouldn’t start. Method one did the trick. Thanks. The battery wasn’t flat though. Any idea what causes this?

    Thank you for the site and helpful info. I still love my surface despite this.

    • Sean,

      Glad you were able to restart your Surface.

      I’m guessing the reason you ran into a problem is because an app crashed and hung the system in the process. Windows 8 seems better about handling it when that happens than previous versions but it still occasionally happens.

      Another possibility is that you have installed an app with a memory leak. This happens when an application requests memory from the system, doesnt give it back when it’s done but, keeps asking for more. Sooner or later, you run out of memory and the system crashes. This is easy to fix. All you have to do is find the app that’s leaking and uninstall it.

      The last possibility I can think of off the top of my head is that you’re almost out of storage space. All versions of Windows have been a bit flaky once there’s less than 10% free space on the system. Just check to see if you’ve run out of space and if so, clear up some.

      Hope this helps,
      Tim

  2. My Surface 1 screen went grey whilst using the rcord function. Turned it off an recharged. The screen will not turn back on although the start button vibrates when touched. Made a “recovery disc” on a pen drive using a different surface 1. Pen drive light flashes for approx 20 second then stops. Bottom of screen by start button gets extremely hot and still will not turn on. Tried various permutations of holding volume button down whilst pressin on/off button – nothing seems to help. Have you any suggestion

    • Peter,

      My first thought was that the drive got filled up since you were recording something. Windows machines (like the Surface) don’t usually do well when they run out of drive space. However, what you’re saying about the screen going grey and not turning on doesn’t quite mesh with the tablet just being out of space.

      That sounds like a hardware problem.

      Before I make any more guesses, when you say surface 1 do you mean a Surface RT or a Surface Pro?

      Tim

  3. Hi Tim
    Thank you for responding it is a suface RT. It was not on charge and I’m not sure how much battery power it had a available, but you usually get a warning message telling you to plug in when it is getting low. If it did run out of charge could this have caused a hardware problem?
    When I switch it on now there is just a dark blue screen and it gets hotter and hotter in an small area just to the right and above the start sign at the bottom of the screen. I can feel a response when I press the start sign.
    Peter

    • Peter,

      That’s sounding more and more like a hardware issue. If it’s only getting hot in one spot, you might have lost a power component or, maybe your battery is having a meltdown?

      I hate to say it but, it might be time to call Microsoft support or stop by your nearest Microsoft store.

      Tim

  4. Hi TIM,
    MY surface RT is hanging on in logo screen.its just showing surface screen .none of those above mention methods didnt work for me.i tried to make a recovery drive and boot with USB.but unfortunately nothing is working for me.could u please tell me what could be the possible problem.please help me to solve the problem.

    • Hey I’m having the same problem with my surface and did ever find out what was wrong with it and how to fix it. Please let me know thanks.

  5. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!! Option 2 worked for me!!! Just updated my Surface Pro 2 with a windows update, and then when it rebooted, it kept booting to the UEFI menu, would not let me do anything else. NOTHING. I was F**K’d off. Stupid windows updates. But you saved my surface, Microsoft website sucks, so thank you very much. I LOVE MY SURFACE TOO! Best piece of Microsoft tech I’ve ever bought.

  6. Hi Tim,
    Thanks for taking time to post your fixes. I tried both but sadly they did not work for me:(
    Scenario is: I reset my surface (while it was still working from settings charm) as I was about to sell it (I have 2). Now when I go to turn it on, the “Surface” logo page comes on and then all goes dark and windows will not start. Since I did not have a recovery usb, I made one using my other surface. This works to the extent that I am able to get to the “Troubleshoot” page. When I try to “Refresh”>error msg “The drive where windows is installed is locked. Unlock the drive and try again.” When I try to “Reset”>error msg “Unable to reset your PC. A required drive partition is missing.”
    Any ideas?

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