The Surface RT integrates two system reset methods into Windows RT, so you can restore the tablet to factory default condition. The first method uses the Change PC Settings option within Windows to instigate the reset. However, if you're locked out of the Surface, this option is unavailable. Therefore, Windows also includes a restart method that runs from the login screen. Either reset method removes all personal data and third-party apps from the system with the option to securely erase all files.

With Surface Access

Step 1

Swipe in from the right side of the Surface. Tap "Settings" and then select "Change PC Settings."

Step 2

Tap "General" and then select "Get Started" from the "Remove Everything and Reinstall Windows" section. Tap "Next."

Step 3

Select your preferred erasure method. Tapping "Just Remove My Files" is the fastest method, but it won't securely overwrite your data. Tapping "Fully Clean the Drive" securely deletes data, but it will significantly lengthen the reset time. Choose the latter option if you plan to sell, donate or return the device.

Step 4

Tap "Reset" to begin the reset procedure. This could take several minutes or hours, depending on your previous selections.

Locked Out of Windows

Step 1

Tap the "Ease of Access" icon from the login screen, and then select "On-Screen Keyboard" if you don't have a physical keyboard available.

Step 2

Tap "Power," "Shift" and then "Restart" to reboot the system into the boot options screen. Tap "Restart Anyway" if you receive a prompt.

Step 3

Tap "Troubleshoot," "Reset Your PC" and then "Next."

Step 4

Tap "Just Remove My Files" or "Clean the Drive Fully," depending on if you want a quick, insecure reset or a lengthy, security-conscious reset.

Step 5

Tap "Reset."