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:
- Make sure that the Power Supply is attached to the device.
- Press and hold the Power button for 10 seconds.
- Repeatedly press and hold the Power button for 1/2 second before letting go (on/off on/off on/off).
- Wait a few seconds to see if the Surface begins running and screen turns on.
- 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.
- Always make sure the Surface is turned off first – not a problem in our case.
- 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.]
- Release both buttons and wait 15 more seconds.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
Tim Rolston is a professional geek with over 23 years of experience working in Information Technology and dealing with everything from large-scale storage to remote systems management and automation for organizations such as Texas Instruments, Mobil Oil, and the University of Michigan (where he was an Academic IT Director).
He co-founded JTRTech along with Joanna to realize his long-time dream of working for himself.