Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Surface Pro 3 will not boot from USB

  1. #21


    Posts : 11
    Win 7 Pro


    It appears the problem is not with the SP but rather the file(s) downloaded from Microsoft to re-install the Surface Pro original OS. They are not bootable files, or at least I can not get them to boot. You are instructed to enter your serial # of the unit and it directs you to the proper download. The instructions tell you to save the file to your PC (not a USB drive). Open (not extract) the zip file and copy everything to a FAT32 formatted USB drive. The drive will not boot. I even tried to extract the files first and then copy to USB... does not work. Does anyone know can you just do a clean install of Windows 8 (8.1) on a Surface Pro 2 and Surface Pro 3? For now that will solve it. I must be doing something wrong because the recovery file from Microsoft will not boot from a USB stick.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #22


    I did this on a SP1, but I think it should work on the SP3 and 2 also.

    You get the file from ms, unzip it and copy it to a fat32 formatted USB stick. This stick is not bootable, but that shouldn't matter as the booting is into something in the BIOS or firmware on the SP.

    Power off the SP completely then hold the volume down button, tap the power button. As soon as the 'surface' splash shows up, release the volume down button.

    If you USB stick has the flashy light, you should see it flashing at this time.

    Soon you probably will see the language and keyboard prompts.

    The next screen is where the work starts.
    Tap 'Troubleshoot'
    then tap 'reset your PC'
    If you get asked for a recovery key, tap 'skip this drive'
    Tap the target OS you want to reset, this is what is on the SP at the time.
    tap 'yes, repartition the drive'
    tap either 'remove my files' or 'fully clean...'
    tap 'Reset'

    It should start the process then after rebooting.

    Note on the SP2 only, it may prompt to clear the TPM. Press F12 or volume up and the process will complete.

    This is to reset the SP, not just boot to a USB. If you need to boot a USB stick, you need to create one that is bootable. There are a slew of places that claim to have the process.

    On my SP1, I now have an image of the install as it was the day I made the image. I used a WD USB3 HD and the WD version of Acronis to create the image on the USB HD and then used the same tool to create a bootable USB stick to let me re-image my SP1. But even then, I had to disable secure boot to do it.

    Hope this helps and works for you.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #23


    Posts : 11
    Win 7 Pro


    Uggg.. followed the steps but still tells me not a bootable drive (USB). I re-downloaded the recovery file (Surface Pro 2) and followed all the steps again. No luck.... there is no way the file(s) recovery files Microsoft is having me download (all 6.2 GB worth) are bootable. Incidentally I was able to boot from a Win 8.1 DVD so it's not the Surface Pros, it's the recovery file MS is giving us or it's something I'm doing. Again, this happened on a Surface Pro 2 and Surface Pro 3 after installing Win 10 preview.....
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #24


    Posts : 11
    Win 7 Pro


    @lparsons21
    "The next screen is where the work starts.
    Tap 'Troubleshoot'
    then tap 'reset your PC'
    If you get asked for a recovery key, tap 'skip this drive'
    Tap the target OS you want to reset, this is what is on the SP at the time.
    tap 'yes, repartition the drive'
    tap either 'remove my files' or 'fully clean...'
    tap 'Reset'"

    When you target the OS that is currently installed (Win 10) and choose reparation, it simply reboots into ..... you guessed it ... Win 10
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #25


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,483
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    Just copying files to a formatted USB thumb drive does not make it bootable. I do believe the partition has to be also marked active. The files don't make it bootable, the way its prepared does.
    UEFI Bootable USB Flash Drive - Create in Windows > For instance, option 2 using diskpart. And I do believe the other utilities mentioned do the same thing.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #26


    Quote Originally Posted by mx129 View Post
    @lparsons21
    "The next screen is where the work starts.
    Tap 'Troubleshoot'
    then tap 'reset your PC'
    If you get asked for a recovery key, tap 'skip this drive'
    Tap the target OS you want to reset, this is what is on the SP at the time.
    tap 'yes, repartition the drive'
    tap either 'remove my files' or 'fully clean...'
    tap 'Reset'"

    When you target the OS that is currently installed (Win 10) and choose reparation, it simply reboots into ..... you guessed it ... Win 10
    It didn't on my SP1. Took it back to Win8.0 including redoing the recovery partition.

    then of course, the fun began as it wanted to download and install 93 updates before I could bring it back to W8.1. And that's why I'm now using Acronis imaging...
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #27


    Posts : 11
    Win 7 Pro


    One last question for all: Can I just install a clean copy of Win 8 (8.1) on a Surface Pro or were they loaded with a 'special' version? At this point it would be easier to load a new copy (we have them laying around as users refused to use it) Windows 8 on the Surface Pro. I am assuming that will work??
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #28


    Quote Originally Posted by mx129 View Post
    One last question for all: Can I just install a clean copy of Win 8 (8.1) on a Surface Pro or were they loaded with a 'special' version? At this point it would be easier to load a new copy (we have them laying around as users refused to use it) Windows 8 on the Surface Pro. I am assuming that will work??
    Well if you can't boot a USB thumb drive how do you plan to clean install Win 8.1.1. sorry for butting in but I have no idea whether you can install a straight up version of 8.1.1
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #29


    The switching between tablet versus desktop interface is coming in an update (dubbed "continuum"). Even before they released the preview, they said that those features (and more) would be missing at first, because they aren't done being built.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #30


    Posts : 1
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    Had the same problem. Then I created a bootable USB and external hard drive with the MakeWinPEMedia command.
    WinPE: Create USB Bootable drive

    At least I can boot to WinPE now.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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Surface Pro 3 will not boot from USB

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