Surface RT - Reset, Refresh, how and why.

Greetings all,

When trying to reset or refresh my Surface RT, I receive the following error:

Could not find the files needed
If you have a Windows installation or recovery media, insert it and restart the PC from the media.

Obviously, the Surface RT comes with no such media, so I'm unsure what to do.  I think there was a way to fix this error on Windows 8 by moving the install.wim file over and doing some command line entries, but given I can't find an install.wim for RT, that is kind of not possible.

I can confirm that per Disk Management, the recovery partition is there, as is the EFI partition and the main Windows partition.

Question Info

Last updated July 1, 2018 Views 222,028 Applies to:
Greetings Michael.

To reset your Surface without logging in, please try the following:
1. Attach your Touch Cover / Type Cover
2. Power on your Surface
3. Press and hold the Left Shift key at the Login screen
4. Press the Power icon
5. Press Restart

Your surface should boot to a light blue screen with some options on it.
1. Click on Troubleshoot
2. Click on Reset your PC
3. Follow the prompts.

Let me know if this does not work for you.
Thank you for posting,

Steven B

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The only way to kick off a RESET without signing into Windows is to interrupt windows startup a couple times to get Windows Automatic Repair to start:

1. Turn off the device by holding power for 6-10 seconds

2. Tap the power button to turn it back on.

3. Once the surface logo appears, wait for circling dots to appear and then hold power for 6-10 seconds to turn device off again.

4. Repeat steps 2&3 until the surface logo appears with words underneath saying “Preparing Automatic Repair”

5. Recovery mode will start.

6. At the Bitlocker screen, tap “skip this drive”

7. Tap advanced options

8. Tap Troubleshoot

9. Tap Reset…

10. .. tap Just remove my files.

11. Reset process will take approx. 20-30 minutes – all data will be removed from the device.

After the Reset process completes, the OOBE/start up wizard should start and the customer can complete setup of their Surface device.

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