How to Reinstall Windows 8.1 on Your Surface Pro Tablet


If you’ve upgraded your Surface Pro tablet to the Windows 10 preview and everything is broken or you just need to completely reinstall the thing, today we’re going to show you how to reinstall Windows with a recovery USB.

This should work for any Surface tablet, even if we’re using the Surface Pro 3. And yes, we have currently upgraded to the Windows 10 preview for Surface tablet users with some serious bugs. Note that we’re not complaining, this is a preview, and Microsoft even warned us ahead of time that it probably won’t work well.

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About “Reset This PC” in Windows 8 and 10

But now it’s time to reinstall Windows 8.1 on the Surface tablet. And since we completely replaced Windows 8, we will need to download the recovery USB.

If your Surface tablet is still running Windows 8.x and is able to boot, you can: Perform a PC Settings Reset to completely reinstall it, which is probably the better option. If you are unable to boot or have deleted the drive for some reason, you will need to continue reading.

Note: If you have any data you want to keep on this tablet, you should have already backed it up. Because this will wipe the computer completely.

How to Create a Recovery USB for Your Surface Tablet

First you’ll want to go to Microsoft’s website and download the Recovery USB image . You will need to enter the serial number on the back of your Surface tablet.

While your recovery image is downloading, insert your USB drive and format it as FAT32 (right-click the drive on the computer and select Format). We strongly recommend using a USB3 flash drive instead of a USB2 if you have one. Just make sure you have a good ride like this one .

After downloading the very large recovery image, you need to unzip it to a folder.

And then copy the contents of the folder to the root of the USB drive.

That should be all you have to do.

Using Recovery USB to Reinstall Windows on Surface

Now that you have the Recovery USB, plug it into the USB port on your Surface tablet.

And now hold the Volume Down button, press the Power button and keep holding the Volume Down button until you see the Surface logo.

Turn the volume down. Press and release Power. Look at the Surface logo. Release the volume down button.


Before navigating to the actual recovery menu, you’ll be greeted with a prompt for language and so on.

You will want to select Troubleshoot…

And then select Reset your PC.

We forgot to take a picture of this screen, so this screenshot is from a virtual machine. Still the same thing.

You’ll be greeted with a somewhat confusing PC reset screen. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Press the Continue button even though it is grayed out.
  • When “Skip this driver” appears, press this link.
  • You will now be asked to choose your target operating system. You’ll want to choose what you want to delete, even if it says Windows 10 or something. It doesn’t matter, because it will reinstall from the USB drive you created.
  • You will be asked if you want to repartition the drives. Select Yes here if you want to make sure that the old operating system is completely wiped or if you have made changes to the partitions. Again, you should have already backed up everything before you got to this point because whatever you do everything will be deleted.

When you reboot, you may be prompted to reset the TPM. Just press the F12 key on the keyboard (you also need to hold the Fn key).

After quite a long process of reinstalling the computer, everything should be clean and just like the first time you took it out of the box.

We will try to install Windows 10 again after solving more errors.


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