Surface Pro Tip: Two-Button Shutdown

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If you’re having a problem with your Surface Pro (original through Surface Pro 3), merely shutting down via the power button might not be enough to constitute what we typically consider a reboot. Instead, there’s a more complete way to shut the machine down, which Microsoft calls the “two-button shutdown,” and it can definitely solve some issues. I came across this tip via the @Surface Twitter account, in resolving an issue I had with the Barnes & Noble Nook app not showing up in the Windows 8.1 Store.

Basically, it’s simple enough: just shut down the Surface Pro/2/3 normally using the power button. Then, when it’s off, press the power button and the volume-up buttons at the same time, for at least 15 seconds. You may see the screen or the lighting on Type Cover (if attached) flicker, but keep holding the buttons.

Release the buttons, and let the machine sit for at least 10 seconds. Then, turn it back on normally. Hopefully, your problem will be resolved.

Thanks to @Surface for the tip. If it solves any issues your having with your Surface Pro, please let me know in the comments.

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Comments

  1. Restarted my SP3 and the keyboard/mouse cover was not recognized. Tried reattaching and the MS surface keyboard troubleshooter tool, nothing. Did the 2-button shutdown, let it boot, removed and reattached the cover and it worked again.

  2. Hi, I had a similar problem EXCEPT on my NEW surface 3, while doing its initial 49 updates PLU a firmware update, the machine just hung at a DONT TURN OFF screen for about 12 hours. Nothing would work – could not turn it off . I used your suggested 2 button procedure and Vola, the machine shut down and continued its update. Its not done as yet, but it looks like that did it – have my fingers ( and evertything else crossed 🙂 )

    Thanks

  3. That did it !!!
    Thanks again !!

  4. My Surface Pro 2 says “Shutting down” when I try to start it. I plugged in to power thinking it might be low. It still doesn’t work. I will give it a little time to charge some more.

    In the meantime, I read on some other sites that I should not use the 2-button shut down on the Surface Pro 2, yet you advise it in your post above.

    Any comment on that restriction? I don’t want to blow up my tablet!

    • Mark Coppock says:

      I’m not aware of any reason not to use this technique for the Surface Pro 2. I do believe that it doesn’t apply to the Surface RT devices…

      • Thank you for your reply. I actually got it “unhung.” When it was fully charged and still didn’t work, I held down the start button for 30 seconds, let go, and pushed the button again. It started normally. Thanks for your help. I will keep that technique in my back pocket for future use.

  5. Mark Mathias says:

    I just had my Surface Pro 3 die while using the two-button shutdown method. I received a replacement at a Microsoft store due to breaking my original screen during a bicycle accident. Everything seemed to work fine for a week or so, then I noticed the cover keyboard would no longer work. After a couple days of non-function I decided to troubleshoot the device.

    After exhausting the steps on the Microsoft support website, I decided to perform a two-button shutdown. Unfortunately, once it shut off, that was the last time I was able to use the Surface. I’m currently chatting with a support technician and setting up an appointment for a replacement. I sure hope this doesn’t count as the second replacement under warranty, since the first was clearly my fault but I can’t accept that following troubleshooting steps recommended by Microsoft would cause me to have to pay another $50 deductible.

    • Mark Coppock says:

      Sorry to hear that! Yes, I agree: the second replacement shouldn’t be an issue in terms of the warranty. My experience with Microsoft support tells me it’ll be fine, but please let me know if it turns out differently. I’ve not had any issues with the two-button shutdown myself; I’ve used it probably hundreds of times, literally, without issue. So, sounds like you’ve had some very bad luck, which I know is a royal pain.

      Good luck getting it sorted out!

  6. Justin McCarthy says:

    @Mark – I am experiencing a similar problem with the SP3 that I received on Friday as a replacement for my damaged SurfacePro3 using my coverage under my Microsoft Complete Protection Plan. Last night at 10:30 I selected restart and install Updates pushed from the Windows Update Center. Almost 12 hours later the screen on the SurfacePro3 still says “Keep your PC on until this is done. Installing update 3 of 3…” Needless to say- I’m terrified of doing a hard shutdown or using the two button method after reading your experience. After my experience with Microsoft Complete Protection and an issue of the Microsoft Store associating my coverage to another account, I can not afford the time of being without the SP3 for a second time in 9 business days. Now onto more research… scary. My fingers are crossed. Thanks for posting! And I certainly don’t think you should have to pay the $50 deductible a 2nd time.

  7. Justin McCarthy says:

    Score! 2 button shutdown appears to be working! @Dick had a similar issue during initial setup of his new SP3. The two button method shut down and restarted my Surface!, However as I type it is now saying, ” We couldn’t complete the updates. Undoing changes Don’t turn off your computer.” So hopefully it’s not going to get hung up on this screen. I don’t know how long undoing changes will take. Fingers still crossed this isn’t going to turn into a fiasco.

  8. Many thanks~
    Your suggestions work for me!

    Hopefully, I don’t need to send my spy back to Microsoft. Wonderful~

  9. Jorge Azor says:

    Thank you very much. Was able to restart. Great tip

  10. Paul Wooster says:

    Great tip! Customer was stuck on the ‘Please Wait’ screen. Had him power off by holding power for 15 seconds. Asked him to hold power and volume up for 15 seconds. All now working, many thanks.

  11. Hi. Not working for me. Have tried repeatedly with power supply attached/not. And with keyboard attached/not and mouse attached/not. It never really shuts down. I have black screen but by moving mouse (when plugged in) or by touching the logo on the right side, it powers on but remains in black screen mode. Any suggestions?

  12. My six month old Surface Pro 3 was hung up on the splash screen and also would not shut down using the on / off button. Great I thought, so let me go to the MS support website where surely they can help, WRONG!
    So I kept searching this website where I found the fix posted, applied it and now my SP 3 is working perfectly as it should.
    Thank you very much to the author who shared this fix as I was about to send it to the shop so once again thank you for the fix, it worked for me.

  13. hey there i wanted to restart my microsoft surface pro 3 to factory settings. it then was stuck on 6% and turned off. when i tried turning it back on, it gave me a option to cancel the reset or keep going and i cancelled it. now all it does is light up flashes “surface” then urns off & then turns back on saying surface. thats all thats been happeining for hours now.

    • Mark Coppock says:

      That happened to me as well once, and the only way to resolve it was to create a USB restore drive and completely redo the system that way.

  14. Charlotte Horsfield says:

    Thanks for the tip, I thought something major happened (like broken) It’s new since Christmas, so I was afraid it was junk already. It makes me happy to stumble upon an easy solution that I wasn’t going to be charged for. I appreciate the help. I also put your website in my favorites for future referance. Thanks again.

  15. Hi,

    I have constant problems with turning on/waking up my Surface Pro 2 using power button. It very often doesn’t work and I have to do 2 button shut down method. Am I the only one?

    • Hi Matt,
      My daughter has a SP2 and now it wont start using the power button. Other sites says not to use the 2 button shut down method, so we are afraid to try. Are you saying that you use the 2 button method successfully?

  16. David Lee Bontrager says:

    I find it interesting that the suggested fix is to do what you are repairing. The power button will not depress a perceptible amount. Tho often by applying enough pressure using an item with larger surface area it will respond for both “off” and “on”.

  17. Dhanoo Khusrokhan says:

    More often than not I have to use the 2 button method of turning on the SP4 as it does not start by the traditional method.
    Am I the only one?

  18. Yh i did that now it took me to a different screen with options what do I do

  19. Surface pro 4 stuck in restarting mode. Should I try the two button restart with this issue

  20. Hi…. so I’ve had a surface pro 3 for a while now and yesterday it shut off and wouldn’t turn back on. Black screen, no button response, nothing. After trying the two button restart thing a few times, it worked again. It happened again today and I’ve tried the reset at least ten or fifteen times now and still nothing.

Trackbacks

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