What to Do If Your Surface Won’t Start

Here’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, we did not notice 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 still 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 begins running and screen turns on.
  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 a 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.

What Are Several Reasons Why Surface Pro May Appear Not to Turn On?

A quick google search will show you that if your Microsoft Surface Pro won’t turn on, you are not alone. It’s a common problem for many Microsoft users. It is easy to freak out when your expensive device will not start up and you are stuck seeing a black screen, but do not get worked up right off the bat. The solution may be as simple as needing charging and not a software issue. Though it is always best to take it into the Microsoft store to be serviced, there are certain things you may want to try beforehand.

There are a few reasons why this could be happening, and usually, there is a basic problem to check out with simple answers. The most common reasons are a charging cable connection problem or a power issue.

  1. Cable charging connection problem. One of the best things you can always assume with a black screen Windows is that the battery is dead. This is the most common cause of the device not turning on. Plug it in before you begin to worry! If the device has been plugged in for a while (we suggest at least up to 40% of the battery should be charged) and has not begun running, you need to make sure the power light turns on. If the light is not on, there is a good chance that there is a connection issue with the Surface charging cable and not the device itself.
  2. The next reason your surface pro won’t turn on, as laid out above, may be an extreme climate problem. Your Surface Pro may freeze or overheat. Overheating is a significant cause of devices not turning on. Most devices have a built-in feature that shuts them off if they do begin to overheat as a self-protection mode. This is so that no damage or loss of information comes to your device. You would think these extreme weather conditions would break your device, but this is not always the case. As we have explored above with my frozen divice, there are things you can do to restart and continue using your device.
  3. Our last common issue is your device not waking up from Sleep Mode. In order to help avoid this issue, make sure that your device is always up to date.

At the end of the day, there may be no method to try at home that will fix the issue keeping your device from turning on. Thankfully, there are trained experts ready to help you. Be sure to treat your device with care and get informed about the basic things it takes to maintain a healthy Surface Pro.

How to Troubleshoot a Surface That Won’t Turn On

There are a few ways to troubleshoot a Surface Pro that won’t turn on. Microsoft Support advises these options for users!

Before trying any of these suggestions, we are reminded to be sure to disconnect any additional plugged in accessories such as a USB drive, plug in keyboard, SD card, and any other connected additions. These add ins can affect your device and sometimes cause it to have issues turning on. If your device turns on just fine after you disconnect these accessories, you have likely found the source problem!

  1. The first advised troubleshooting solution is to plug your Surface into the power supply and begin charging it. Charge the battery for a decent amount of time and then try to turn on your device. Hopefully your screen will light up! Like we have previously mentioned, it is possible for there to be an issue with your charger if the Surface charging light does not go on!
  2. The second solution suggested by Microsoft Support is for users to try the “hotkey” keyboard shortcut. This method consists of pressing the Windows command prompt key+Ctrl+Shift+B if you have a keyboard connected. If it’s in tablet mode, press both up and down volume buttons on the keyboard quickly three times and hopefully the Surface will beep and refresh, booting the screen up. If you do not hear this noise, repeat the last step.
  3. The third solution suggested by the experts is to restart the device by forcing shutdown. This solution consists of holding down the power button for ten seconds and up to thirty seconds, or until it reboots, then pressing it again to turn it on. The screen should then light up. Another option is to hold the volume up button on the keyboard and power button simultaneously for 15 seconds. Keep holding it even after the Windows logo pops up on the screen, then press the power button, as usual, to start it up!

Of course, as mentioned before, if none of these troubleshooting options work, taking your device into the Microsoft store for the pros to check it is the best option for users!

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

Surface battery life – how to maximize it

This article focuses on how to take care of your battery so that you can enjoy longer lasting battery even after many years of Surface use. This is not an article to talk about how to make your Surface battery life last longer on each charge – there are plenty of articles written on that topic.

Battery Life Cycle

Every type of rechargeable battery invented by human has a restricted number of life cycles. Each life cycle is defined as 100% of full capacity. So if you drained your battery 50% then fully charged twice, that’s one full cycle. Typical modern lithium batteries can last 500 to 1000 life cycles although some claim over 2000! This of course, depends on your usage habit. As long as your usage pattern isn’t very harmful for the battery, your device should last well past the lifespan of your device.

Here’s how you can find out how many life cycles you have consumed so far:

  1. Press <Windows> + R
  2. Type ‘CMD‘ then <Enter>
  3. Type ‘powercfg /batteryreport‘ within the Command Prompt window then <Enter>.
  4. This will create a file called ‘battery-report.html’ at some location that you need to note down in the Command Prompt.
  5. Use the file explorer to navigate through to the report file.

When you open it, you will see the report with lots of information on the battery usage. You will also find the number of life cycles you have consumed on your Surface (see – ‘CYCLE COUNT’ field).

Depth of discharge seriously impacts number of life cycles as seen here (from batteryuniversity.com):

  • 100% discharge: 300 – 500 life cycles
  • 50% discharge: 1200 – 1500 life cycles
  • 25% discharge: 200 – 2500 life cycles
  • 10% discharge: 3750 – 4700 life cycles

You shall not do

There are couple of things you should be aware that negatively impact the Surface battery life. Here are couple of them:

  • Heat – high temperature is very bad for batteries in general. Many cell phones damage batteries when it is used under load (such as playing games) while charging. I use a laptop cooler when I use y Surface Pro 4 extensively.
  • When you are using the device on battery, try not to go lower than 40%. Then charge back to 100%. This will pretty much ensure you will get at least 1000 life cycles. Most modern devices have some kind of built-in protection – they tend to report conservatively at the low end to discourage people from draining too low. Going down to 0% is bad but in reality, the controller will likely have stopped discharging well before the actual level dropped to 0%.

You shall do

  • Use ‘hibernate’ instead of ‘sleep’ mode. Yes, it is a bit slower but when your device is in hibernation mode, it discharges at far slower rate than when it is in ‘sleep’ mode. The problem with the sleep mode is that sometimes people forget that their device is set to sleep mode and leave them for a long time. This gradually brings the battery level to 0%.
  • Microsoft recommends to completely drain then fully charge about once a month. This is to recalibrate the battery monitor for the maximum accuracy. Remember, under a normal circumstance, this is considered bad but it needs to be done at least once a month, at least according to Microsoft.
  • Try to use as little battery as you can before charging. More frequently you charge, the better without going deep discharge.

In short

Getting the best Surface battery life isn’t really that hard. Here’s what the Surface Team said on their batteries:

“The batteries on our Surface products are designed with some of the highest charge cycles for consumer electronic devices. This means that the battery can get charged daily (5 days a week) for over 4.5 years and still maintain 80% capacity.”

This is probably good enough for just about anyone.

Might be interesting to see how your device compares to others. Please post the age of your Surface and your life cycle consumed below.

Printing For Surface Owners

Printing For Surface Owners Basics

The Surface is, of course, a paperless device (and many of us want to keep it that way) but the reality is that there is still much need for paper. Whether it is for work or for personal reasons, you probably still find yourself needing to print from your Surface device. This is especially true if you have made the transition to Surface as your main (or only) device, as we both did. Naturally you want to know some basics about printing.

Below is a collection of posts on printing from MS Surface tablets that we have covered on Love My Surface. For your convenience, we combined them all into a handy Printing Basics For Surface Owners Guide. Don’t forget that we continue to add new content all the time, so subscribe to LMS today to get our latest updates and don’t miss anything new.

Do you have a specific printing question? Post it in our Love My Surface Help Forum and let our Surface community help!

Printing 101 Series:

Print From Surface Tablets 101

Printing 101 Part 2: Printing With Google Cloud Print

Printing 101 Part 3: Share a Printer On Your Network

Printing from older devices

Print from Surface RT or Pro

Large Volume Printing (Business or School)

Batch Print Files On Your Surface

Pairing Bluetooth Devices (Including Printers) in Win 8.1

Tip of the week: Pair Bluetooth Device With Surface

Getting Started Guide For New Surface Owners

If you are a new Surface tablet owner, then you may like our Quick-start Guide for your new device – Getting Started With Surface Tablets get it today!

Windows RT Update 3

If you have a Surface RT or Surface 2, you may not have noticed that Microsoft quietly rolled out the Windows RT Update 3 as an optional update.

The update (KB3033055) is rolling out now, so you should be able to go into Windows Update and install it at your leisure, in case you haven’t installed it already.

Windows RT Update 3: What’s Changed?

Unlike the Windows 10 update on the Surface Pro tablets, which was impossible to miss, you may not have even noticed when the Update 3 installed. There’s really only a couple of things that changed and the most dramatic thing (the Start Menu) has to be manually configured before you’ll see it.

  • Start Menu: The new Start Menu looks a lot like the new Start menu in Windows 10.

  • Circular Pictures: MS replaced the old, square user account picture frames with round “Windows 10 style” picture frames.

There may be some more changes but even Microsoft’s own update notes only list these two things.

Windows RT Update 3: Get The New Start Menu

Once the update is installed, you’ll still need to manually configure your Surface RT to use it. To get the new Start Menu, follow these steps:

  • Go into Desktop mode.
  • Tap and hold (right-click) on the taskbar and select Properties from the menu that appears.
  • When the Taskbar Properties menu appears, select the Start Menu tab then make sure the Use The Start Menu Instead of The Start Screen checkbox is checked. Press OK.

  • There will be a popup like the one below. Press Sign Out and Change Start.

After your Surface restarts, you’ll have the new Start Menu instead of the Start Screen.

If you decide you don’t like it and want to go back to the Start Screen, simply uncheck the Use The Start Menu Instead of The Start Screen check box.


Issues With the Clock on Surface Tablets

In this article, we’re going to discuss the clock on your Surface and how to make sure that your clock is accurate as possible.

So, why should you care if the clock on your Surface is off by a couple of minutes?

I’ll bet every clock you own is different from each other by a minute or two, right?

Well, the time on your stove or microwave isn’t used by certain internet security protocols (such as Surface is. As a result, you may not be able to login or connect to certain network resources (especially in an enterprise environment). Continue reading Issues With the Clock on Surface Tablets

Which Surface Should I Buy?

With all of the options Microsoft has made available for Surface tablets, you might be asking yourself “which Surface should I buy?”

Who can blame you? There are already 5 options for the Surface Pro 3 and soon to be 4 options for the Surface 3, let alone all of the previous versions and the new Surface Pro 4 on the horizon.

To make things worse, most reviews and articles about the choices tend to discuss technical specifications and enough geek-speak to make your eyes bleed.

Why can’t someone come up with a simple flowchart to help non-techies choose which Surface is right for them?

Which New Surface Should I Buy: Flowchart

So I did just that. If you click on the graphic below, you’ll get a full-sized flowchart (WARNING: IT’S HUGE) guiding you through simple questions to help you decide which Surface is right for you. It is based on how you’ll use it, whether or not you need LTE, and whether or not you have to have the latest and greatest new toy…

Be aware that no simple flowchart (unless it’s too complicated to follow) can answer every question you may have. This one is no exception.

However, this will give you a recommendation on which Surface tablet to buy. If nothing else, it should provide you with a starting point to ask more relevant questions.

If you would like to share it or use it somewhere else, feel free. Just make sure to leave the Love My Surface logo intact and give me a link back.


FINALLY! Surface Tablets Are Gaining Momentum

Surface Tablets Are Gaining Momentum – and it’s about time:

We have been at this for over two years now and, by this, I mean blogging about Surface tablets. We started originally because we have many, many years of experience in Information Technology and we both saw the value of the Windows-based Surface tablets. But it seemed, that no one else did and especially not the media. As soon as Microsoft released the first Surface tablets, the media were like vultures, ripping it to shreds while shouting the glories of iPads and Android tablets.

Right off the bat, we called it BS and started this blog to help others to be more productive and get the value out of these awesome tablets. And now, finally, we feel vindicated because the Surface tablets are gaining momentum and fast!

Let me tell you the latest developments that are really putting these devices on the map..

Continue reading FINALLY! Surface Tablets Are Gaining Momentum

How To: Boot Surface From a USB Drive

There are times when you might need to be able to boot your Surface from a USB drive. The most obvious reason is because your Surface won’t boot correctly and you want to use advanced tools from a recovery drive to fix the problem.

So, you put the drive in the USB port, restart your Surface and…. nothing happens. It doesn’t boot to the USB drive and it won’t tell you why.

So, why isn’t it working?

Continue reading How To: Boot Surface From a USB Drive

Surface Touchscreen Not Working With Touch?

Are you having a problem with your Surface touchscreen not working with touch but it still works with the pen or stylus?  And the problem continues even after you already tried troubleshooting the issues with no success?

Then I might have an easy (but incredibly inconvenient) fix for you – go sit somewhere else.

It sounds weird but it turns out RF interference from things like fluorescent lights can mess up the touchscreen and no amount of patching, troubleshooting, or updates will fix it!

OK, now that you’re thinking “What the h..?” – let me explain….

Continue reading Surface Touchscreen Not Working With Touch?

Surface 3 Benchmarks

When I first got my hands on a Surface 3 one of the first things I did was run several benchmark tests against the unit.

I feel it’s important for you to note that I was working with the 2GB version for these benchmarks because every other benchmark article on the Surface 3 I’ve seen is using the 4GB version which may give you slightly better marks due to the extra RAM. Continue reading Surface 3 Benchmarks