Microsoft Surface Data Eraser (Surface) - Surface (2023)

  • Article
  • 7 minutes to read
  • Applies to:
    Windows 10, Windows 11

Find out how the Microsoft Surface Data Eraser tool can help you securely wipe data from your Surface devices.

Microsoft Surface Data Eraser is a tool that boots from a USB stick and allows you to perform a secure wipe of all data from a compatible Surface device. A Microsoft Surface Data Eraser USB stick requires only the ability to boot from USB. To learn more about the data wiping capabilities and practices Microsoft uses during the service process for Surface, see Protecting your data if you send your Surface in for service.

Important

Microsoft Surface Data Eraser uses the NVM Express (NVMe) format command to erase data as authorized in NIST Special Publication 800-88 Revision 1.

Compatible Surface devices include:

  • Surface Laptop Studio
  • Surface Book (all generations)
  • Surface Go (all generations)
  • Surface Pro X (all generations)
  • Surface Laptop (all generations)
  • Surface Laptop Go (all generations)
  • Surface Laptop SE
  • Surface Studio (all generations)
  • Surface Pro 2 and later
  • Surface 3
  • Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise on Surface Hub 2

Some scenarios where Microsoft Surface Data Eraser can be helpful include:

  • Prepare a Surface device to be sent for repair.
  • Decommission a Surface device from corporate or organizational use.
  • Repurpose a Surface device for a new user.
  • Reimage devices containing sensitive data.

How to create a Microsoft Surface Data Eraser USB stick

After the creation tool is installed, follow these steps to create a Microsoft Surface Data Eraser USB stick. Before you begin these steps, ensure that you have a USB 3.0 stick that is 4 GB or larger connected to the computer.

  1. Run the DataEraserSetup.msi installation file that you downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center.

  2. Select Build to begin the Microsoft Surface Data Eraser USB creation process, as shown in Figure 1.

    Microsoft Surface Data Eraser (Surface) - Surface (1)
    Figure 1. Begin the Microsoft Surface Data Eraser tool

  3. Select Continue to acknowledge that you have a USB drive of at least 4 GB connected, as shown in Figure 2.

    Microsoft Surface Data Eraser (Surface) - Surface (2)
    Figure 2. Confirm USB drive of at least 4 GB is connected

  4. Choose x64 (for 2021+ devices only) for 2021 or newer devices, choose x64 for 2020 and older devices or ARM64 for Surface Pro X from the Architecture Selection page, as shown Figure-3. Select Continue.

    Microsoft Surface Data Eraser (Surface) - Surface (3)

  5. Select the USB drive of your choice from the USB Thumb Drive Selection page as shown in Figure 4, and then select Start to begin the USB creation process. The drive you select will be formatted and any existing data on this drive will be lost.

    (Video) Securely Wiping a Microsoft Surface using the Microsoft Surface Data Eraser

    Microsoft Surface Data Eraser (Surface) - Surface (4)
    Figure 4. USB thumb drive selection

Tip

If the Start button is disabled, check that your removable drive has a total capacity of at least 4 GB.

  1. After the creation process is finished, the USB drive has been formatted and all binaries are copied to the USB drive. Select Success.

  2. When the Congratulations screen is displayed, you can eject and remove the thumb drive. This thumb drive is now ready to be inserted into a Surface device, booted from, and wipe any data on the device. Select Complete to finish the USB creation process, as shown in Figure 5.

    Microsoft Surface Data Eraser (Surface) - Surface (5)
    Figure 5. Complete the Microsoft Surface Data Eraser USB creation process

  3. Select X to close Microsoft Surface Data Eraser.

How to use a Microsoft Surface Data Eraser USB stick

After you create a Microsoft Surface Data Eraser USB stick, you can boot a supported Surface device from the USB stick by following this procedure:

Note

Surface Data Eraser on Surface Studio and Surface Studio 2 can take up to 6 minutes to boot into WinPE before disk erasure can occur.

  1. Insert the bootable Microsoft Surface Data Eraser USB stick into the supported Surface device.

  2. Boot your Surface device from the Microsoft Surface Data Eraser USB stick. To boot your device from the USB stick follow these steps:

    a. Turn off your Surface device.b. Press and hold the Volume Down button.c. Press and release the Power button.d. Release the Volume Down button.

    Tip

    If your device does not boot to USB using these steps, you may need to turn on the Enable Alternate Boot Sequence option in Surface UEFI. You can read more about Surface UEFI boot configuration in Manage Surface UEFI Settings.

    (Video) Securely wipe data using Surface Data Eraser | Microsoft

  3. When the Surface device boots, a SoftwareLicenseTerms text file is displayed, as shown in Figure 5.

    Microsoft Surface Data Eraser (Surface) - Surface (6)

    Figure 5. Booting the Microsoft Surface Data Eraser USB stick

  4. Read the software license terms, and then close the Notepad file.

  5. Accept or decline the software license terms by typing Accept or Decline. You must accept the license terms to continue.

  6. The Microsoft Surface Data Eraser script detects the storage devices that are present in your Surface device and displays the details of the native storage device. To continue, press Y (this action runs Microsoft Surface Data Eraser and removes all data from the storage device) or press N (this action shuts down the device without removing data).

    Caution

    The Microsoft Surface Data Eraser tool will delete all data, including Windows operating system files required to boot the device, in a secure and unrecoverable way. To boot a Surface device that has been wiped with Microsoft Surface Data Eraser, you will first need to reinstall the Windows operating system. To remove data from a Surface device without removing the Windows operating system, you can use the Reset your PC function. However, this does not prevent your data from being recovered with forensic or data recovery capabilities. See Recovery options in Windows 10 for more information.

    Microsoft Surface Data Eraser (Surface) - Surface (7)

    Figure 6. Partition to be erased is displayed in Microsoft Surface Data Eraser

  7. If you pressed Y in step 6, due to the destructive nature of the data erasure process, another dialog box is displayed to confirm your choice.

  8. Select Yes to continue erasing data on the Surface device.

    Tip

    When you run Surface Data Eraser on the Surface Data Eraser USB drive, a log file is generated in the SurfaceDataEraserLogs folder.

Changes and updates

Microsoft Surface Data Eraser is periodically updated by Microsoft. For information about the changes provided in each new version, see the following notes:

3.48.139.0

Release Date: 21 November 2022

(Video) How to reset any Microsoft Surface via USB (Bare Metal Recovery)

This version of Surface Data Eraser includes bug fixes.

3.46.139.0.

Release Date: 28 October 2022

This version of Surface Data Eraser includes:

  • Support for Surface Pro 9, Surface Laptop 5, and Surface Studio 2+.

3.45.139.0

Release Date: 7 June 2022

This version of Surface Data Eraser includes:

  • Support for Surface Laptop Go 2.

3.42.139.0

Release Date: 5 October 2021

This version of Surface Data Eraser includes:

  • Separate option for 2021 and support for newer devices including Surface Laptop Studio, Surface Pro 8, and Surface Go 3.

3.39.139.0

Release Date: 13 April 2021

This version of Surface Data Eraser includes:

  • Support for Surface Laptop 4

2.34.139.0

Release Date: 15 January 2021

This version of Surface Data Eraser:

  • Includes bug fixes

3.33.139

Release Date: 9 September 2020

This version of Surface Data Eraser includes bug fixes and adds support for:

  • Architecture re-design to reduce the need to update with new product releases
  • Notification available for new tool updates
  • Customer content additions
  • Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise on Surface Hub 2

3.30.139

Release Date: 11 May 2020

This version of Surface Data Eraser adds support for:

  • Surface Book 3
  • Surface Go 2
  • New SSD in Surface Go

3.28.137

Release Date: 11 November 2019

This version of Surface Data Eraser:

  • Includes bug fixes

Version 3.21.137

Release Date: 21 October 2019

(Video) Troubleshoot Surface with the Surface Data Eraser Tool - Remove all Data from your Surface

This version of Surface Data Eraser is compiled for x86 and adds support for the following devices:

  • Surface Pro 7, Surface Pro X, and Surface Laptop 3

Version 3.2.78.0

Release Date: 4 December 2018

This version of Surface Data Eraser includes bug fixes

Version 3.2.75.0

Release Date: 12 November 2018

This version of Surface Data Eraser:

  • Adds support to Surface Studio 2
  • Fixes issues with SD card

Version 3.2.69.0

Release Date: 12 October 2018

This version of Surface Data Eraser adds support for the following devices:

  • Surface Pro 6
  • Surface Laptop 2

Version 3.2.68.0

This version of Microsoft Surface Data Eraser adds support for Surface Go.

Version 3.2.58.0

This version of Microsoft Surface Data Eraser adds support for the following:

  • Extra storage devices (drives) for Surface Pro and Surface Laptop devices

Version 3.2.46.0

This version of Microsoft Surface Data Eraser adds support for Surface Pro with LTE Advanced

Version 3.2.45.0

This version of Microsoft Surface Data Eraser adds support for the following devices:

  • Surface Book 2

  • Surface Pro 1 TB

    Note

    Surface Data Eraser v3.2.45.0 and above can be used to restore Surface Pro or Surface Laptop devices with the 1TB storage option in the scenario that the device shows two separate 512GB volumes or encounters errors when attempting to deploy or install Windows 10. See Surface Pro Model 1796 and Surface Laptop 1TB display two drives for more information.

Version 3.2.36.0

This version of Microsoft Surface Data Eraser adds support for the following devices:

  • Surface Pro
  • Surface Laptop

Note

The Microsoft Surface Data Eraser USB drive creation tool is unable to run on Windows 10 S. To wipe a Surface Laptop running Windows 10 S, you must first create the Microsoft Surface Data Eraser USB drive on another computer with Windows 10/11 Pro or Windows 10/11 Enterprise.

(Video) How to factory reset Surface pro 1-7 and complete data wipe | DT DailyTech

FAQs

How do I use Microsoft Surface Eraser? ›

To erase, flip the pen over and use the top as an eraser. The end of the raised area on the flat side of the pen works as a right-click button in most apps. To right click, hold the button down as you tap the screen with the pen. (In some apps, the right-click button might work differently.)

Can eraser wipe a hard drive? ›

Eraser is free software and its source code is released under GNU General Public License. It's comprehensive. Eraser supports deleting files, folders, and whole drives. It's able to erase data on a schedule, and it erases SSDs and mechanical drives.

What is surface data eraser? ›

Microsoft Surface Data Eraser is a tool that boots from a USB stick and allows you to perform a secure wipe of all data from a compatible Surface device. A Microsoft Surface Data Eraser USB stick requires only the ability to boot from USB.

How do I hard reset my Surface laptop? ›

Force a restart

If your Surface still didn't turn on after charging it and trying the keyboard and tablet shortcuts, you can try to force a shutdown, then restart. Here's how: Press and hold the power button until the logo screen appears (about 20 seconds). See Force a shut down and restart your Surface for more info.

How do I force a Surface to boot? ›

Press and hold the volume-up button and the power button at the same time until the screen turns off (about 15 seconds), then release both. The screen may flash the Surface logo, but continue holding the buttons down for at least 15 seconds. After you release the buttons, wait 10 seconds.

What is the boot key for Microsoft Surface? ›

Press and hold the volume down button, and then press and release the power button. Continue to hold the volume down button as the Surface Pro turns on and begins to boot. You can release once the spinning dots animation appears below the Surface logo on the Surface Pro's screen.

What Cannot be erased using the eraser tool? ›

Unlike in Photoshop, you can erase an image background or anything on an image, the Eraser Tool in Illustrator doesn't work the same. You can't erase a raster image.

Does Eraser permanently delete files? ›

Using the Eraser to permanently delete files

To erase a file or folder, right-click the file or folder, hover over Eraser, and then click Erase. Note: Files deleted in this manner will not be recoverable by Data Recovery software or undelete programs. Click Yes to confirm that you want to erase the selected items.

How effective is Eraser? ›

Eraser is a free data-destruction program that's able to wipe all the data off of an entire hard drive at once. Because it also can permanently delete individual files and folders as well, it's also a great free file-shredder program.

Which erase method is best? ›

Most experts agree that Secure Erase is the best way to overwrite an entire hard drive in a single pass. The very simple Write Zero method accomplishes essentially the same thing, albeit much slower.

Does Eraser work on SSD drives? ›

Out of the box, the four-bay unit is capable of dealing with 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch SATA drives (both SSDs and HDDs) and the hard drive eraser also works with 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch IDE hard drives, mSATA drives, and SATA M.

What is the purpose of the Eraser tool files? ›

The Eraser tool allows you to completely remove sensitive data from your hard drive by overwriting it several times with carefully selected patterns.

Does cleaning a disk delete everything? ›

Disk Cleanup helps free up space on your hard disk, creating improved system performance. Disk Cleanup searches your disk and then shows you temporary files, Internet cache files, and unnecessary program files that you can safely delete. You can direct Disk Cleanup to delete some or all of those files.

Is there a way to empty all folders? ›

Sure, you can open the folder, tap Ctrl-A to “select all” files, and then hit the Delete key.

How do I manually Disk Cleanup? ›

In the search box on the taskbar, type disk cleanup, and select Disk Cleanup from the list of results. Select the drive you want to clean up, and then select OK. Under Files to delete, select the file types to get rid of. To get a description of the file type, select it.

How long does it take to factory reset a Surface laptop? ›

We recommend that you let the process complete fully, which can take up to 10 hours, depending on whether you select Just remove my files or Remove my files and clean the drive.

How do I decrypt my Surface? ›

Option 1: Turn on/off device encryption in Settings

It's recommended to save the recovery key to a USB drive and not to the system drive. After turning on drive encryption on your Surface, the only way to decrypt your files is by signing in to your device with your Microsoft account password.

Is there a free Windows password reset tool? ›

Ophcrack is right up there with the best free password recovery tools we've used, and for good reason. It's available across numerous Windows and Linux operating systems, is 100% free to download, and is straightforward and intuitive to use. On top of this, you only ever have to download Ophcrack once.

How do you unlock your laptop when you forgot the PIN Windows 10? ›

After you're signed in, select Start > Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options > PIN (Windows Hello) > I forgot my PIN and then follow the instructions.

Can you force a computer to factory reset? ›

Factory reset a Windows laptop

Go to Settings > System > Recovery. At the top of the window, you'll see Reset this PC. Click on Get Started and select Remove Everything from the box that appears. From there, you can select to reinstall Windows from the local drive or download it from the cloud.

Can you force Reset a computer? ›

Ways to reset a desktop PC

Click Settings > Update & security > Recovery > under Reset this PC, click Get started. Select either Keep my files to repair the PC, or Remove everything to prepare the PC for a new user. Note If the device is not responsive, try restarting it first.

Can you manually factory reset a PC? ›

Click Start > Settings > Update & security > Recovery.

On the Recovery screen, click Get started under Reset this PC, which offers you two choices – Keep my files or Remove everything. The latter is what you want if you're getting rid of your computer and want to factory reset it first.

How do I get to advanced boot options on Surface Pro? ›

The Advanced Boot Options screen lets you start Windows in advanced troubleshooting modes. You can access the menu by turning on your computer and pressing the F8 key before Windows starts.

How do I reset my Surface BIOS? ›

Press and hold the volume-up button on your Surface, and, at the same time, press and release the power button.

How do I bypass Windows Start screen? ›

In the Command Prompt window, type net user username “” and press Enter. Replace username with your actual Windows account name. This will reset your Windows 10 password to blank. Close the Command Prompt window and click Sign in on the login screen to log in to Windows 10 without a password.

What does F12 boot do? ›

BIOS Update Information

If a Dell computer is unable to boot into the Operating System (OS), the BIOS update can be initiated using the F12 One Time Boot menu. Most Dell computers manufactured after 2012 have this function and you can confirm by booting the computer to the F12 One Time Boot menu.

What does F10 do at boot? ›

On many PCs, as the computer is booting, you see an option to press F10 to enter setup. Pressing F10 when this message is displayed enters the BIOS or CMOS setup. How to enter and exit the BIOS or CMOS setup.

What is F11 boot menu? ›

When this option is enabled, you can boot directly into the One-Time Boot Menu in the System Utilities by pressing F11 in the POST screen after a server reboot. From the System Utilities screen, select System Configuration > BIOS/Platform Configuration (RBSU) > Server Security > One-Time Boot Menu (F11 Prompt).

Where is the eraser in Microsoft? ›

Click on the Eraser tool on the toolbar. This is the one just to the right of the tool that looks like a pencil. Click and drag to select the table lines you want to erase. Click on the Eraser tool again (on the toolbar) or press the Esc key.

What is the eraser tool used for answer? ›

This tool is used to remove parts of the active layer or selection. It can be useful when working with multi-layered images as portions of an upper layer erased will allow lower layers to show through.

Which command is used as an eraser? ›

The correct answer is Backspace.

Where is the magic Eraser tool? ›

You can find Magic Eraser under Tools in Google Photo's editing section. Google Photos will look for suggested objects to erase.

How do you activate magic Eraser? ›

Once you've selected a photo, tap on Edit at the bottom. Google may list Magic Eraser as one of the suggested tools, but if not, tap the Tools category and then Magic Eraser. The Pixel will take a moment to scan the image and highlight suggestions for you to erase.

What is the GREY part of the eraser for? ›

The white side erases graphite, and the grey side erases ink. The white side erases graphite, and the grey side erases ink.

Does eraser erase pen ink? ›

Gum erasers and rubber erasers work best on pencil/graphite, and are not recommended for pen. It's possible to erase ink using a vinyl eraser, but be careful. This eraser is very rough and can easily rub away the paper itself along with the ink you're erasing.

How many swipes does it take to finish an eraser? ›

It takes 1300 rubs for a small eraser and 2310 for one big as whole adult thumb sorry if i wasted eraser. :( It took about 12 weeks.

How do I reset my eraser tool? ›

PRO TIP: The Eraser Tool in Photoshop can be reset by going to the Preferences > General > Reset Tools. This will reset all of the Eraser Tools settings to their default values.

What are the options of the eraser mode? ›

There are three options to choose from when you choose the Eraser tool: the Eraser, Background Eraser, and Magic Eraser.

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