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SP4 recovery failed with image - How to create USB disk now?


New Member
So I decided to reset my SP4 as it was getting slow.
Followed the instructions on the MS support site viz downloaded the recovery image , used a 16GB disk to first create a recovery disk within windows 10 and then unzipped the contents of the recovery image zip file to the drive root
started the Reset process which reached 100% but then threw an error saying there was a problem and no changes have been made

True to MS tradition, the error message was as unhelpful as it gets - and of course changes had already been made (i.e. the disk had been wiped out)
So now I am left with a SP4 that boots to the UEFI BIOS and a recovery image zip file.

I am reasonably technical and have done probably 100+ clean installs on windows/linux/Mac over the last 2 decades but this one has me stumped.

I want to retry the reset process by building the recovery USB drive again but The instructions on the MS site seem to assume that you have access to a working SurfacePro (i.e. the first step that requires initialising the drive)
Is there any way to create a bootable USB drive straight from the recovery image ?
I have access to a Mac and a linux system .


Super Moderator
Staff member
You could probably just retry with the existing Recovery USB but...

The Recovery Image zip file contains everything the Surface needs including the bootstrap.
The UEFI firmware will search for the UEFI bootloader on the USB.
You do not need an MBR bootstrap on the USB it will not be used.

Just format the USB with Fat32 file system I think they call it MS-Dos Fat on a Mac. Although you could also just erase it leaving it formatted.

Expand the contents of the Zip file to a folder on disk then copy the entire contents of the folder to the root of the USB. Wait, eject or dismount the USB to ensure all files & data are closed and flushed to the USB.


New Member
The UEFI firmware will search for the UEFI bootloader on the USB.
That's interesting. I just wish it were better documented on the MS site.
The instructions ask for creation of the base recovery drive on the surface followed by extraction of the recovery image zip contents (which is unusual and led me to assume that the bootstrap creation happens in the first step)

In any case, I ended up fixing it the long way by downloading a win 10 iso from the MS site , using a traditional method to generate a bootable usb (via unetbootin) and subsequently adding the drivers/firmware post installation
I was worried about activation/license issues but thankfully the installation seems to have activated on its own