How to get Microsoft support for Surface tablet hardware

Microsoft support for Surface

A while back, Joanna posted some information about contacting Microsoft for support. Since then, we’ve continued to get a lot of folks ask us for help. We’re happy to help where we can but, sometimes, we reach a point where we just can’t do anything because the hardware is actually broken.

When that happens, we often refer people to their local Microsoft Store (if they have one) or the Microsoft web site so they can get hardware/warranty support from there.

Unfortunately, Microsoft has made things a bit confusing when trying to get online support because there are 2 different web sites for getting hardware/warranty support for your Surface tablet.

Worse yet, the two sites do almost exactly the same thing but look very different. Even worst than that, they often link off to each other. Nice design, huh?

To show the difference between the two websites, I described them both below…

Online Service Center ( The Online Service Center is a “Modern/Metro” style website with tiles. If you dig down far enough, it often links to the Surface Support web site.

Surface Support ( The Surface Support website is a more “traditional” website where you can easily find troubleshooting tips, register hardware, and start a support call with Microsoft. However, when you actually submit a hardware service request, it takes you into the Online Service Center site.

So, since it can be a bit confusing, I thought I’d expand on Joanna’s post about contacting Microsoft support and step you through actually filing a support request for a hardware issue.

It just so happens, the first Surface RT we bought has been having some issues with the battery not charging so, I’m submitting a support request (yes, we bought the extended warranty when we got it).

Since I found that the Surface Support page a little easier to use (and slightly less buggy) I’m going to start there as I file my hardware support request.

How to get Microsoft support for Surface tablets: Register and/or check warranty

OK, first things first. You’re going to want to make sure your device is covered under warranty, otherwise it will probably cost you to get the hardware fixed.

Fortunately, the Surface Support page makes it easy because (once you’ve logged in) you can see your registered devices (red box) and check the warranty status (green box).

If you tap on the Check warranty status for a product link, you’ll find all of your registered devices are listed along with their serial numbers and the warranty period for both technical support and hardware.

If your product isn’t listed, don’t sweat it, just tap on the Register another product? link at the bottom of the list. No, I don’t know why it’s a question 😉

Here’s what the product registration page looks like.

It’s pretty easy to register a product, just select they hardware type from the pull-down then enter the serial number. You can find the serial numbers by looking in the places indicated in this illustration.

You can also enter serial numbers from the front page by selecting the Quick register a new product link right under the list of devices in the middle of the page.

Just keep repeating until all of your Surface tablets/accessories are registered.

Something to be aware of: the registration functionality is a bit buggy (on both sites) and it won’t always recognize that you registered a product right away so you might have to give it some time before the products appear on your registered device list.

How to get Microsoft support for Surface tablets: Get a service plan

You did get the service plan, right? If you didn’t, don’t sweat it too much. Microsoft offers a pretty generous hardware warranty that will cover defects or malfunctions with your Surface tablet or keyboard for a year from the date of purchase.

Be aware, though, that it won’t cover damage repairs (like a shattered screen from a drop). Unless you have a service plan, those repairs are coming out of pocket.

Fortunately, you can add a Microsoft Complete or Extended Hardware Service Plan (for business customers) for up to 45 days past the purchase date to a registered device. It will cost you around $129.99 USD for the plan but, it’s worth every penny the first time you drop your Surface on the cement.

There are a couple of things to be aware of:

  • You can only get service plans on the Surface tablet itself. You can’t get a service plan for the keyboards.
  • Since the registration website is a bit buggy and it won’t always recognize that you registered a product right away, you might have to wait a while after you register a product before you can add a service plan. Be patient.

You can use the contact us link on the page to chat/talk with a live person if you get stuck. If you’re trying to add a service plan after the device is already broken, I would probably keep that little bit of information to myself 😉

How to get Microsoft support for Surface tablets: Schedule service

OK, now that your warranty is squared away (or you’ve resigned yourself to eating the cost of the repair) it’s time to actually request service. There are two ways to do it:

By Phone/Chat: This has the advantage of getting a live person on the line to help you get what you need done. It has the disadvantage in that the support person will probably have you run through every troubleshooting step you already took, so be patient.

  • Just use the contact us link on the page to chat/talk with a live person.

  • Once you do so, you’ll see the following screen. From here, select the device you want to get help with (Step 1) and the category/topic (Step 2)

  •  Next, select either Start a chat or Request a call under the Contact Answer Desk section in the bottom right of the screen.

Pretty simple, right? Just be aware that from here on out you’re “on rails” so just do what the tech asks and accept that you will repeat some of the things you’ve already tried to fix the problem.

The tech does indeed have a script and they have to run through it before starting the hardware replacement process.

By web: This has the advantage of letting you arrange a hardware service with no questions asked/fewer hoops to jump through and is probably the way to go if you’re computer savvy and are 100% sure it’s a hardware issue (or your Surface looks like the one below)

Like most things Microsoft does, there’s about a dozen different ways to do anything so, the way I’m going to outline below for exchanging my Surface tablet is not the only way you could do it from the site but it covers all of the important things you need to know.

  • Select the Problem with a device or cover tile

  • All of your registered devices should appear as tiles, select the tile for the device requiring service

  • Click or tap the tiles that best describe your problem. In this example case, it’s a battery issue that I’m exchanging my Surface RT to address

  • You’ll be given the opportunity to either run through some recommended troubleshooting steps or create a service order to replace the device. Since I’m sure it’s a hardware issue, I’m going to select that option

  • You may need to update your profile information. Fill in the required fields and select Update
  • Now you can pick the service option you want to use. You will also find out how much the repair is going to cost you (if anything). Your choices are as follows:
    • Standard Exchange: You send them your broken Surface and they fix it/send you a new one in exchange.
    • Advanced Exchange: They send you a new Surface right away and you return the broken one to them but they put a hold on your credit card for the full price of the replacement Surface. Just in case you decide to not return the broken one.

  • Make your selection. I’m picking the Advanced Exchange option. You will probably be asked to verify your shipping address

  • After you do so, you’ll need to enter a payment method (Credit Card) for the hold discussed earlier. Here’s where you actually submit the service request

After you hit Submit, you’ll get an order confirmation screen like the one below. It has needed information/tools like links to print off shipping labels and Device Manager (where you can track your order status.

You’ll also get an email with a lot of the same information.

How to get Microsoft support for Surface tablets: Backup

This should be a no brainier but sometimes people are just upset their favorite device is having issues so, they don’t think about their data.

So, if you can, before you ship your Surface off to Microsoft remember to BACKUP YOUR DATA!!! Here’s my post on Backing up your Surface which you might find helpful for this part.

If you’re the paranoid type, you might want to consider wiping your Surface just so you know your information isn’t out there in some stranger’s hands.

How to get Microsoft support for Surface tablets: Check service status

OK, now that you’ve submitted a request, you probably want to be able to see what’s happening with it.

Here’s a link to the page where you can check the ststus of your service request:

It’ll look a lot like this…

Hopefully, you’ll never need to use any of this information  but, if you do, I hope you find this helpful. I’d also appreciate it if you could share your experiences with Microsoft support (good or bad) to help your fellow readers navigate the process.

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