How to Boot Surface Pro From USB Drive

Booting a Surface Pro from a USB Drive can be frustrating if you don’t follow its specific procedure, especially when your device can’t boot to Windows. The article has everything you need to know to boot your Surface Pro from a USB Drive.

To boot a Surface Pro from a USB drive, insert the bootable USB drive into the Surface Pro’s USB port. Then press & hold the Volume down button, and press & release the power button. When the Surface logo appears, release the volume button.

NoteBefore you move on, we have also written this tutorial for other Surface lineups with individual specific instructions, as you can find here for Surface Go, Surface Laptop, and Surface Book.

If you have a Surface Pro 4, Surface Pro (5th Gen), Surface Pro 6, Surface Pro 7, Surface Pro 8, Surface Pro 9, or a Surface Pro X PC, read on for a more in-depth guide to boot your Surface Pro from a USB Drive.

1Why Boot Surface Pro From A USB Drive?

You need to boot your Surface Pro from a USB Drive for several reasons.

  1. Resetting your Surface Pro with a USB Recovery Drive.
  2. Fresh Windows Installation.
  3. Running Windows To Go.
  4. Installing or running Linux-based OS (Ubuntu, Fedora, Redhat, etc.).
  5. Load bootable recovery or disk partition tools.

2Surface Pro Boot From A USB: Preparation

Before proceeding to the next step, here are some preparations you need to make before booting your Surface Pro from a USB drive.

  1. Bootable USB Drive – You must have a properly bootable USB Drive. If you want to reset your Surface Pro with a recovery drive, download the recovery image and create a recovery drive before you can boot it up on your Surface Pro. On Surface Pro 8 and Pro X, you will also need a USB-C to USB-A adapter if you have only a full-size USB drive.
  2. Disable Secure Boot
    Secure Boot blocked all third-party boot loaders from booting off your Surface devices. Disable Secure Boot lets you load third-party OS other than Windows 10, including older versions of Windows and Linux on your Surface Pro. Here’s how to turn off the secure boot on Microsoft Surface Pro.
  3. Backup Your Data
    Save yourself later by backing up your important data to a microSD card or external hard drive.
  4. Having a Wired Mouse & Keyboard
    There is a chance that your Surface won’t support touch or pen input when you install clean Windows or load Linux OS on your Surface. Having a wired mouse, keyboard, and network dongle can help you in this situation.
  5. Connected to the Charger
    To prevent any unexpected shutdown during installation, make sure you have connected your Surface Pro to an external power source.

3Boot Surface Pro From A USB: When It’s Off

  1. Shut down your Surface Pro.
  2. Insert your bootable USB or recovery drive into the Surface Pro’s USB port.
  3. Press and hold the Volume Down button on your Surface Pro, then press and release the Power button.
  4. When you see the Surface logo screen appear, release the Volume Down button.
Surface Pro 8 and X Boot From USB

Button Pressing Sequences to Boot Surface Pro 8 and Pro X from USB

Boot Surface Pro from USB Steps

Buttons Pressing Sequences to Boot Surface Pro 4-7/9 from USB.

4Boot Surface Pro From A USB: When It’s On

There is an easier way to boot your Surface Pro from a USB drive when you can sign in to Windows 10 or 11. Here is how to do that:

  1. Insert your bootable USB or recovery drive into the Surface Pro’s USB port.
  2. Open Windows Settings
    First, you need to access Windows Settings by going to Start and opening the Settings app with the gear icon (or by using Win + I shortcut key).
  3. Go to Windows Updates > Advanced options.
    On the left pane of the settings, select “Windows Updates“> “Advanced options” under the “More options” section.
    Windows 11: Settings > Windows Update > Advanced options
  4. Select the “Recovery” option
    Under the “Additional options,” select “Recovery.”
    Windows 11: Settings > Recovery
  5. Restart your Surface Pro in “Advanced Startup” mode.
    Under recovery options, click the “Restart now” button to restart your Surface Pro in advanced startup mode, allowing you to change startup settings.
    Windows 11: Settings > Advanced startup
  6. Select “Use a device.”
    After restarting your Surface Pro, you will see a blue screen with the following options. Select “Use a device.”
    Surface Boot > Advanced Startup
  7. Select “USB Storage”
    It will list all possible ways to boot, including all connected storage devices. Select “USB Storage”.
    Surface Boot > Advanced Startup > Use a device

Your Surface Pro will reboot with boot files from the inserted USB drive.

  1. Insert your bootable USB or recovery drive into the Surface Pro’s USB port.
  2. Open Windows Settings
    First, you need to access Windows Settings by going to Start and clicking the Gear icon (or by using Win + I shortcut key).
  3. Go to Update & Security
    In Windows Settings, select “Update & Security“.
    Windows 10 Settings > Update & Security
  4. Go to Recovery
    On the left side of the settings, select Recovery.
    Windows 10 Settings > Update & Security > Recovery
  5. Restart your Surface in Advanced Startup
    Under the “Advanced startup” section, click “Restart now” to restart your Surface in an advanced startup mode.
    Windows 10 Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Advanced Startup
  6. Select Use a device.
    After restarting your Surface Pro, you will see a blue screen with the following options. Select Use a device.
    Surface Boot > Advanced Startup
  7. Select USB Storage
    It will list all possible ways and connected storage devices. Select USB Storage.
    Surface Boot > Advanced Startup > Use a device

Now, your Surface Pro will reboot with your connected USB drive.

5Boot Surface Pro From A USB: When You Forgot Password

Users might often want to reset their Surface Pro when they forget the account password that prevents them from logging in. Here is how to do that on Surface Pro with or without a keyboard attached.

  1. Open On-Screen Keyboard (skip this if you have a keyboard attached)
    On the Windows 11 login screen, Go to the Accessibility icon and stay right next to the power icon. Then select the “On-Screen Keyboard”.
    Windows 11: Lock Screen > Accessibility > On-Screen Keyboard
  2. Press and hold the Shift Key
    On the Surface Type Cover, press and hold the Shift key (on the On-Screen Keyboard, click the shift key, and it will hold by itself).
  3. Go to Power > Restart
    On the right-bottom of the screen, click the power icon and select Restart. It will reboot your Surface Pro in Advanced startup mode.
    Restart in Advanced Startup Without Password on Windows 11
  4. Select Use a device.
    After restarting your Surface Pro, you will see a blue screen with the following options. Select Use a device.
    Surface Boot > Advanced Startup
  5. Select USB Storage
    It will list all possible ways and connected storage devices. Select USB Storage.
    Surface Boot > Advanced Startup > Use a device
  1. Open On-Screen Keyboard (skip this if you have a keyboard attached)
    On the Windows login screen, Go to the Ease of Access icon and stay right next to the power icon. Select On-Screen Keyboard.
    Enable On-Screen Keyboard in Login Screen
  2. Press and hold the Shift Key
    On the Surface Type Cover, press and hold the Shift key (on the On-Screen Keyboard, click the Shift key, and it will hold by itself).
  3. Go to Power > Restart
    On the right-bottom of the screen, click the power icon and select Restart. It will reboot your Surface Pro in Advanced startup mode.
    Restart in Advanced Startup Without Password on Windows 10
  4. Select Use a device.
    After restarting your Surface Pro, you will see a blue screen with the following options. Select Use a device.
    Surface Boot > Advanced Startup
  5. Select USB Storage
    It will list all possible ways and connected storage devices. Select USB Storage.
    Surface Boot > Advanced Startup > Use a device