How to download the official Surface recovery image

You can recover your Surface tablet using Windows 8.1 with the Recovery feature, but as long you have the required "recovery image", here's how to get it.

Surface Pro 3 unveiling event in New York City

Perhaps one of the best features in Windows 8.1 is Recovery, which allows you to easily refresh or reset Windows 8/8.1 to its factory defaults with just a few simple clicks. Depending of what option you choose in your circumstance, you can quickly start over fresh with the operating system while keeping all your files and settings or you can reset the system to start over from scratch.

These recovery features work amazingly, but as long you have the recovery installation media or if your system have a recovery image stored within.

However, you’ll be able to recover only if the system’s hard drive is working and the image didn’t get corrupted. A while back, Microsoft released an official recovery image, but it was only made available because a faulty update bricked many Surface RT. Today Microsoft has a new support page for Surface that allows you to download a recovery image for any Surface tablet, including Surface RT, Surface 2, Surface Pro, Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, and Surface Pro 3.

Downloading a Surface recovery image from Microsoft doesn’t cost a thing, but there are few steps you have to follow.

How to download Surface recovery image

  1. Head over to the Microsoft support page, sign-in to with your Microsoft Account. If you haven’t registered your tablet, you’ll have to do so, during the process. If you already registered your device, it will be displayed, simply select the device and click Continue.

    Registering your Surface tablet

  2. Now the link to download the recovery image will appear (don’t save the download directly to a USB, save the it to a your Surface or to another PC).

    Surface recovery image download

  3. Next you’ll be presented with Step 3, which consists on all the instructions you need on how to create a Recovery Drive. Basically involves to insert a USB drive of 8GB – 16GB, formatting it to FAT32, and dumping all the the unzip files into it.

That’s all there is to it. Now you can use the Recovery Drive as a recovery image to either reset or refresh your computer. Microsoft has a set of instructions specifically to recover a Surface using a USB recovery drive.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].