How to Reset a Surface Windows RT

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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.

1 With Surface Access

2 Swipe

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

3 Tap General

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

4 Select your preferred erasure method

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.

5 Tap Reset

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

6 Locked Out of Windows

7 Tap the Ease of Access icon

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.

8 Tap Power

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

9 Tap Troubleshoot

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

10 Remove My Files

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.

11 Tap Reset .''

Tap "Reset."

  • After the Surface is reset, you'll need to reinstall all third-party apps. Tap "Store" and then "Your Apps" to quickly locate apps you previously installed. Select an app and then tap "Install" to reinstall it.

C. Taylor embarked on a professional writing career in 2009 and frequently writes about technology, science, business, finance, martial arts and the great outdoors. He writes for both online and offline publications, including the Journal of Asian Martial Arts, Samsung, Radio Shack, Motley Fool, Chron, Synonym and more. He received a Master of Science degree in wildlife biology from Clemson University and a Bachelor of Arts in biological sciences at College of Charleston. He also holds minors in statistics, physics and visual arts.