Microsoft Surface won’t turn on: black screen, totally unresponsive

Microsoft Surface devices are pretty expensive and could freak you out when it won’t start up and you are stuck with a black screen, yet don’t get worked up straight away. Whether you have a Microsoft Surface Book, Surface Laptop, Surface Go, or a Surface Pro, you might face a situation of your Surface blacking out on you and being unresponsive. The Surface won’t turn on, won’t wake up, or no Surface logo at all.

Fortunately, a number of solutions exist that are quite simple to restore an unyielding Surface machine to resuscitate and back running again. Although it is always best if you take the Surface to Microsoft store for service, however, there are certain solutions you should try before giving in.

The Probable Issues

A number of issues may be causing the problems with your Surface device and may not allow to turn on at all.

  • When operating a Surface Book, the detached keyboard might be causing the screen to be unresponsive
  • Power supply could be damaged
  • Power adapter, cord, connector, or even the charging port on the Surface machine may be defective
  • Power saving mode is another most common cause of problems
  • Windows operating system is corrupt or facing glitches
  • Screen assembly can potentially be damaged because these devices are continuously attached and detached with force and also due to rotation angles
  • The battery is dead or unresponsive
  • Extreme climate problems – freeze or overheat
  • Internal hardware issue

Dead Battery

In certain cases the Surface Pro or for that any Surface device exhausts its batteries if it in sleep mode for an extended period, or in hibernation for a long time. In any of these cases your battery has simply drained out and you need to plug in the charging cable. Leave the device for at least 10 minutes to charge to get some power accumulated. Now you can power on the Surface and it should turn-on smoothly. But if it doesn’t work one of the many probable causes might be a dead battery.

Charging Cable Defects

One of the probable issues is damaged charging cable. Even after plugging in the power cord your Surface refuses to power up, indicates that the cable might have been broken. The small LED light on the connector end of the cable is pretty handy in this scenario, which will let you assess if the cable is causing the problems or not. The LED light illuminates instantly after its plugged into the Surface.

Check the power cable while it is plugged into a power source and to the Surface device. Run through the length of the cable with your hands and keep an eye on the LED light connector at the Surface end while you bend the cable a little. If you notice any flicker on the LED light while you move your hand, this means the cable has been damaged and should be replaced. Otherwise, the cable passes the test and is not the reason for you Surface not turning on.

Sleep issues

Microsoft Surfaces are reported to have problems generally known as “Sleep of death”. Occasionally when the system is put on sleep for a few hours or so, the long period of sleep causes certain system shutdowns. That can shut-down your system by draining your battery dry or potentially can lead to a Surface device unresponsive to power button pressing. The best you can do is save your files before you let the system sleep and also try not to let the system sleep by itself by turning off the system whenever you don’t need the device.

Solutions if Microsoft Surface won’t turn on

1: Disconnect all accessories

In some cases, it is the accessories connected to the Surface that is potentially affecting the device to not properly power up. So remove all the accessories connected like keyboard, mice, USB, external displays or any peripherals attached whatsoever before pushing the power button.  

Disconnect the Surface docking station if you are using one and try using the original box power supply with which the Surface came. In case this does work and your Surface turns on once you’ve removed the accessories, you have found the culprit for your problems. To ensure this was the problem restart the Surface.

2: Soft Reset

A soft reset is an easy and commonly used method to fix a Surface refusing to power on or frozen. It is the method to force your computer to restart without actually disturbing the programs, files, or settings of the operating system. It is not the factory or hard reset. Follow the steps below.

Step 1: On your Surface device hold the power button for 10 to 15 seconds and release the button after.

Step 2: Now start your Surface by pressing the power button as you normally would.

Step 3: If the problem is resolved by soft reset, your Surface should boot up properly.

3: Force Shutdown & Restart

Force shutdown is to be performed in case the soft reset did not solve the problem for you. It is somewhat the same as the above method but takes a bit longer to perform. Also, the force shutdown process changes in conformity with the model of the Surface you have, so ensure to opt for the method specific for your device variant.

Surface Laptop, Surface Book, Surface Go, Surface Pro 6

Step 1: Press and hold the power button for at least 20 seconds.

Step 2: Once you see the Windows logo on the screen, relief the button.

Surface Book, Surface Pro 1, 2, 3, 4 – dual buttons shutdown

This way out is only suggested for Surface Pro models and if you happen to have Surface 2, Surface 3, or Surface RT, you shouldn’t try this.

When a Surface Pro is not shut down properly this dual button method should be useful. When the Windows logo is unresponsive or there’s a program that is preventing the Windows to shut-down the system. Follow the steps below.

Step 1: Hold the power button for around 30 seconds.

Step 2: Now after releasing the power button, hold down the power + volume up buttons at the same time for almost 15 seconds. During this process, the screen may flicker or logos may be displayed but don’t deviate from the mentioned steps.

Step 3: Wait for 10 seconds after releasing the combo buttons.

Step 4: Normally press the power button to turn on your Surface device.

Surface RT, Surface 2, 3

There are no methods available to force shutdown these models of Surface.

Power Up Using Hot Keys

Your Surface is attached with any kind of keyboard like Type Cover, or Touch Cover, you can try to power up your Surface with the combo keys of Windows logo key+Ctrl+Shift+B simultaneously.

Also, you can try another solution considering you do have Type Cover attached to the Surface. Follow the steps below.

Step 1: While the infrared light is on and the screen is blacked out, press the combination of Windows logo+P at once.

Step 2: You are merely cycling or switching through screen projection modes, so press the combination of Windows+P again.

Step 3:  Once you press the combo wait for a few seconds, the screen should return back and you can see the ‘Project’ on the right side of the screen.

This method works only if the screen modes are switched.

For that part in case you don’t have any keyboard connected to your Surface device – tablet mode, you can still try to turn on device employing the volume buttons. Swiftly clicking the volume up and volume down buttons three times following one another (in two seconds time). You’ll hear a short beep sound if this method works for you.

Reboot – Windows Preinstallation Environment

Step 1: Create a bootable USB.

Step 2: Now connect and boot the Surface from the USB in this off state.

Step 3: Once you see the Windows setup box press Shift+F10 together

Step 4: In the command prompt type wpeutil reboot. Press the return key and simultaneously remove the USB drive.

Surface Turns On

In case one of the solutions worked for you and the Surface power-ups. Now you need to plug in the power and charge the battery till it has at the very least a 40 percent charge. Install the latest Windows and Surface updates from the settings or manually from the Surface drivers website.

Technical Support If your Surface still won’t turn on after trying all the above-mentioned methods. You can request a Device service and repair. Submit a request with all the details of your Surface and the problem you are facing exactly.