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How to reset Windows 10 on a Microsoft Surface

Once in a while, even our trustiest devices get bogged down or run into errors that require drastic measures. Whether it’s a slow system, corrupt files, or even lost account credentials, the best thing to do is set the device back to square one by resetting the OS. Luckily, for Windows devices like the laptop/tablet hybrid Microsoft Surface, restoring factory settings can be easy. There are a few methods for resetting Windows 10 on your Surface to factory setting. We’ve mapped out the steps for completing either operation a number of different ways.

Related: How to Restore Your Windows PC to its Factory Settings

Microsoft StoreBefore jumping straight to the system reset option, be sure to troubleshoot your device and see if your errors can be solved in another way. However, in some instances, a full-on factory reset is necessary. Essentially, your device’s software will be reverted to it’s out-of-the-box state, and will operate like it was just off the shelf. If you’ve run into errors that call for a reset, there are three ways to do this: from within Windows, through the Windows Sign-In screen, or using a USB device. We’ve detailed the steps for each method below.

Remember: we’re talking about a full factory reset, here. That means wiping all personal files, and restore the system and all apps to their basic settings. If you’re able to, be sure to backup any and all files you want to to keep around. Otherwise, you’ll be starting fresh.

From Within Windows:

  • Pull up the Start menu
  • Select Settings
  • Select Update and Security, and then Recovery. Select Get Started under Reset this PC
  • From here, there will be a few options:
    • Keep my files will keep your saved personal files. This is the quickest option, but if thee issue stems from your personal files, it may not correct the problem.
    • Remove everything this deletes all of your files, personal settings, and installed apps.
    • Restore factory settings deletes all files, apps, settings and reverts the device to the version of Windows that came factory installed. This option is only available for those who upgraded their devices from a previous version of Windows.
  • Make your selection, then follow the on-screen instructions. When prompted, select Next
  • Select Reset. The reset operation will begin, and may take a few minutes. Allow the device enough time to complete the process.

Windows Sign In:

  • From the Sign In screen, hit the power button
  • Hold the Shift Key
  • With the Shift Key pressed, select Restart
  • Wait for the Surface to restart. A new screen will pop up on startup. If asked, select Restart Anyway.
  • Select Reset your PC. When prompted, select Next
  • From here, there will be a few options:
    • Keep my files will keep your saved personal files. This is the quickest option, but if thee issue stems from your personal files, it may not correct the problem.
    • Remove everything this deletes all of your files, personal settings, and installed apps.
    • Restore factory settings deletes all files, apps, settings and reverts the device to the version of Windows that came factory installed. This option is only available for those who upgraded their devices from a previous version of Windows.
  • Make your selection, then follow the on-screen instructions. When prompted, select Next
  • Select Reset. The reset operation will begin, and may take a few minutes. Give the device enough time for the reset operation to finish.

USB Device:

  • After shutting down the Surface, insert the USB device
  • Press the volume-down button and the power button simultaneously. Release the power button
  • When the Surface logo appears, release the volume-down button
  • You will be asked to select your input method and language
  • Select Troubleshoot
  • Select Reset your PC. When prompted, select Next
  • From here, there will be a few options:
    • Keep my files will keep your saved personal files. This is the quickest option, but if thee issue stems from your personal files, it may not correct the problem.
    • Remove everything this deletes all of your files, personal settings, and installed apps.
    • Restore factory settings deletes all files, apps, settings and reverts the device to the version of Windows that came factory installed. This option is only available for those who upgraded their devices from a previous version of Windows.
  • Make your selection, then follow the on-screen instructions. When prompted, select Next
  • Select Reset. The Surface logo will appear and the reset operation will begin. This will take a few minutes, so be sure to allow the device enough time to complete the process.

After Resetting to Factory Settings

After you complete the reset, you will need to perform the first-time system setup, just like when first activating the device. Once that is done, your Surface tablet will be as good as new.