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Recovery Disk/image 8.1


Super Moderator
Staff member
Hi there, thanks for the link and when I download the zip file and extract it to a USB it does not boot. I have the Surface Pro 3 boot settings correct for USB first but it seems the download does not actually contain bootable files. I need to do it this way as the Pro 3 is frozen on the Surface screen on boot up and I cannot reset it the usual way involving the Vol Up button so need a working bootable image? Any help would be much appreciated otherwise it will become landfill...thanks.

This will work but it can be frustrating to make the USB and some USB drives just wont work.

When attempting to boot, remove any micro SD cards and disconnect any other USB devices if you have a hub or dock. Disconnect the hub and dock as well.

Some USB drives have hidden partitions that cause trouble. Use Diskpart and "clean" the USB before formatting it. Clean will remove all partitions from the USB. Make sure you clean the right disk.

The USB must be formatted Fat32. You don't need to Activate it or put the MBR bootstrap on it because Surfaces are UEFI and it doesn't look for either of those. UEFI searches for the filename such as bootx64.efi or whatever is specified.

What is in the Zip file is everything that's needed when copied to the root of a USB drive formatted Fat32.

Expand the Zip file to a folder on your computers disk first. Then select all in the folder, copy & paste it to the root of the USB drive. WAIT! Do not just remove the USB. Eject it to make sure all data is flushed to the USB. If eject fails try again and again or just do a Shutdown. Yanking the USB out before all data flushes will likely render it non-bootable or give you a corrupt restore.

If this doesn't work you may need to try a different USB drive. I really whish Microsoft would make a program that creates the Recovery drive from a Zip or Image and verified the proper USB creation which would eliminate these issues.


Super Moderator
Staff member
The other option you have is using the Media Creation Tool to make a generic Windows USB to do a clean install. The MCT by default gets the latest Windows image so if you wanted an older one there's some other hoops to jump through.

Windows 8.1 Download Windows 8.1

Windows 10 Download Windows 10

The advantage of the MCT is it will create and verify (optionally) the USB and in my experience has a high success rate for creating a bootable USB. Note for a Surface use the 64Bit only option and assuming you would make it on another PC there's a check box for creating for other PC (some wording to that effect).