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The Microsoft Surface 2 was manufactured by Microsoft Corporation and is the second generation of Microsoft tablets. It was launched on October 22, 2013 and includes features such as upgraded processing power and screen resolution.

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Can't boot from USB recovery drive

Hello all.

I'm trying to help a friend with a Surface 2. Originally the issue he was having was that it would not power on even when plugged in. For some reason that started working fine and he was able to use it. It had sat idle for some time so he decided to catch up on Windows updates of which there were a fair amount. In the morning when he turned the Surface on he gets the Surface logo, then the spinning circle as if it's about to load but what he ends up with is a black screen. And ever so often. the system tray icon for wifi flashes a little but it's over on the left side of the screen and not at the bottom but a little higher up. Once in a while he gets a cursor with a spinning circle that disappears rather quickly. He has no important data so I downloaded the recovery image for this model from Microsoft and followed their instructions to create a USB recovery key so I could just restore it back to square one. I formatted the drive for FAT32 as they said. I follow their instructions to boot from the flash drive but it never does. I just keep getting the same black desktop and occasional flashing icon. The system had 8.1 on it still.

Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?



Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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Hi @ferd13 ,

Here's a link that should be of some help.

You have ensured that the USB drive has been set up as a bootable USB drive haven't you? See the link for how to do this if you haven't.

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Hi @jayeff,

Thanks for the response and the link. I'll give it a try. I'll track down the instructions I used to make the recovery drive and post them to show you but I definitely do not recall some of these steps being in there and that may make the difference. The instrucions I found (which I believe were Microsoft) simply said download the image, make sure the USB drive is formatted for FAT32 and extract the image to the drive.

I probably won't have a chance to try this till this weekend but I'll update as soon as I have news, good or bad. Thanks again!


Hi again @jayeff.

My apologies on responding later than I'd planned. First of all thanks for the link you sent. That worked like a charm!

I went digging for the instructions I used and I was mistaken. They weren't Microsoft. They were here: I used "Way 1".

Thanks again for your help on this!


Hi @ferd13 ,

Glad that you got it working OK.

A quick read of the link you sent seems to me that it missed the part about making it a "bootable" drive.

Just formatting it and then copying the recovery files over won't make it a bootable drive.



Recovery USB drives for RT systems do not have to be made 'bootable' as in x86 systems. Just copying the files to the USB drive is all that is needed


Hi @terrimoor,

You may be right, (I don't own a Surface tablet, so I don't know) but the OP did state that it was tried first by just copying the files to a USB and it didn't work. It didn't recover from the USB. Whereas when the USB was made 'bootable' as is described in the "link" above for the Surface 2 recovery procedure from Microsoft, it did work successfully.

Just saying


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