How to Reset a Microsoft Surface Tablet

Introduction

If you intend to sell or give your computer to someone else, or if there are severe problems with the way the computer is working, you can factory reset it to its defaults to start fresh.

You will lose all programs and customizations you've made to your computer. This is not necessary for normal operation of your computer. Factory reset is permanent, and there is no way to go back.

Microsoft Surface Pro tablet.

1 Factory Reset Backup Check

It is important to remember that after the factory reset, your computer will not have any of the custom programs, or settings. It is also very likely you will lose any data, pictures, or videos you have on your computer.

Before proceeding, make sure you have the following:

  • Names of all the programs you use on a regular basis, so you can re-install them.
    • For any registered software you've purchased, make sure you have the installation disks or download locations, and registration codes associated with them.
  • A backup, or second copy, of any data on your computer. This includes, but is not limited to:
    • Pictures you have saved on your computer.
    • Videos you have saved on your computer.
    • Documents you have saved on your computer.
    • Bookmarks or favorites from your browser.

Finally, after making your backups, test them to make sure they are current, and that they work.

  • Open a few files from your backups, and make sure what you expect to see is there.
  • Open a few files you've changed recently in your backups, and make sure they open properly and have the information you changed recently.

While there is an option to save your data files during the factory reset, it is not good to rely on this.
It is safest to assume that anything not backed up will be lost with no way to retrieve it during the factory reset process.

? Do you want to make a backup now?

  1. Yes
  2. No

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If you intend to sell or give your computer to someone else, or if there are severe problems with the way the computer is working, you can factory reset it to its defaults to start fresh.

You will lose all programs and customizations you've made to your computer. This is not necessary for normal operation of your computer. Factory reset is permanent, and there is no way to go back.

Microsoft Surface Pro tablet.

It is important to remember that after the factory reset, your computer will not have any of the custom programs, or settings. It is also very likely you will lose any data, pictures, or videos you have on your computer.

Before proceeding, make sure you have the following:

  • Names of all the programs you use on a regular basis, so you can re-install them.
    • For any registered software you've purchased, make sure you have the installation disks or download locations, and registration codes associated with them.
  • A backup, or second copy, of any data on your computer. This includes, but is not limited to:
    • Pictures you have saved on your computer.
    • Videos you have saved on your computer.
    • Documents you have saved on your computer.
    • Bookmarks or favorites from your browser.

Finally, after making your backups, test them to make sure they are current, and that they work.

  • Open a few files from your backups, and make sure what you expect to see is there.
  • Open a few files you've changed recently in your backups, and make sure they open properly and have the information you changed recently.

While there is an option to save your data files during the factory reset, it is not good to rely on this.
It is safest to assume that anything not backed up will be lost with no way to retrieve it during the factory reset process.

Windows 10 comes with its own backup software.

To begin you'll need an external drive.

  1. Select the Start button, then select Settings.
    Windows 10 start meny with start and the settings gear selected.
  2. Select Update & Security.
    Windows 10 settings page showing update and security highlighted.
  3. Select Backup.
    Windows 10 update and security settings page showing backup highlighted on the left side.
  4. Make sure your external drive is connected and select Add a Drive.
    Windows 10 backup settings page showing add a drive highlighted.
  5. Select your drive from the drop down list.
    Select drive with D highlighted.
    Backups will start automatically, you do not have to make any other changes.
  6. Windows 10 will now make a backup every hour of C:\Users\<your username>.
  7. If you want to change these settings click More Options beneath Add a drive.

Resetting your Windows 10 system will return it back to its original state. It will delete any data or programs you have saved so make sure your backups are up to date.

  1. Click the Start button, then select Settings.
    Start menu with settings icon highlighted.
  2. Click Update & Security.
    Settings with update and security highlighted.
  3. Choose Recovery on the left.
    Update and security settings with recover highlighted.
  4. On the top right, click Get started under Reset this PC.
    Recovery settings with reset this PC highlighted.
  5. In the new window that opens, choose if you want to keep your files, or remove everything.
    Reset this PC options.
    • Keep my files should not delete any personal files you have stored on your computer, but will remove all applications you've installed, as well as all settings you've changed.
      • You will be given a short list of programs Windows can find that will be removed, reminding you that you'll need to re-install them after the reset if you want to use those programs. Click Next when you are ready to begin.
        Dialog showing apps to be removed with next button highlighted.
    • Remove everything will delete your personal files, applications you've installed, and all settings will be set to their default values.
      • You'll be presented with options to just remove files, or clean the drive.
        Drive cleaning options.
        • If you're keeping the computer and are not worried about someone attempting to retrieve data from the drive, select Just remove my files.
        • If you are selling or giving away the computer, choosing Remove files and clean the drive will make it much harder to retrieve anything. This process will take a very long time to complete.
  6. Once you make your choice, you will be given a final list of what will be done. Click Reset when you are ready.
    Details of what will be done during reset.

    There is no going back, and no chance to retrieve anything removed during the reset process. Please make absolutely sure your backups are up to date before pressing Reset.

  7. Once you click Reset, the process will start.
    Reset in progress.
  8. Your computer will reboot, and give you the progress of the reset at the bottom.
    Reset in progress during reboot.

Windows will guide you through setting it up with your username, password and other basic settings, just like when you first purchased your computer.

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