Fix: Windows 10 Setup Failed on Surface Pro 3

Radu Tyrsina By: Radu Tyrsina
5 minute read

Home » Fix: Windows 10 Setup Failed on Surface Pro 3

There are many topics in the Microsoft Community around Surface Pro issues. And the problems with installing Windows 10, updating or upgrading, are also frequent. Now we’re discussing a more widespread problem that is affecting Surface Pro 3 owners.


Here’s what you will find in this article:

  1. Surface Pro 3 set up issues
  2. How to install Windows 10 on Surface Pro 3 without issues
  3. How to reinstall Surface Pro
  4. Recommended guides to optimize Surface Pro 3

Surface Pro 3 set up issues reported

We recently covered various problems that one might encounter when installing Windows 10 on Surface Pro 3 hybrids. And it has been brought to our attention that the latest build of Windows 10 fails to install for a good deal of users. Here’s what one of the affected users has been saying:

installed Windows 10 preview on Surface pro 3 – setup went smooth no issues and or errors, after first boot – surface became very unstable – complete hang during log on screen, or auto reboot after log on. I noticed that before the auto -reboot the screen is flickering – black and normal, system hangs, next auto reboot. I’m up to the level of resetting my surface – have the feeling this is taking hours …. wonder if all will be good in the morning. reboot/clean W8.1 pro install from USB failed with strange bios related error. I hope this is just a single surface pro 3 issue

Several forum moderators hinted that the issue might be related to Connected Standby, therefore you are advised to disable that and see if the setup will work as it’s supposed to. Another user has reached out, saying he has been affected by the same issue:

Same issue. I am in a dead position. Sometimes on reboot the PC will get all the way to let me log in. However, the screen keeps blacking out then it freezes and eventually reboots. Cant get it to restore or refresh. I also can’t get it to boot to restore drive I made before starting this. Trying to install back to win 8.1 from scratch. Right now it is bad!!!!

He then said he was able to get into safe mode, went into event viewer and found that applicationhost was crashing. Here’s another user saying that his screen flickers and that refresh/repair doesn’t work either:

Similar problems as above. I can log in, but the screen flickers every 10-15 seconds or so and is very unresponsive. Will ultimately reboot. Refresh/repair doesn’t work, nor does windows rollback. I’m currently SOL and holding off on a clean install of 8.1 hoping someone comes up with a fix.

The issues seem to persist for those who have managed to reinstall Windows 8.1:

I was able to reinstall 8.1 and install the preview on a separate partition. The install media is fine but there is an update that completely crashes the system. I can’t even select the Windows 8 OS on boot. Device is stuck at the choose operating system screen. Never seen a Windows OS this buggy at this point in the development stage but I hope MS can get this right!

One user seems to have found the solution, which has been replicated by other users, as well:

did the same thing, disabled everything from startup, as well as al non microsoft services. Uninstalling the vid driver looks to have done it. Found this command which I ran from repair mode command prompt. Got it to eventually get into safe mode (fn f8) and yanked the vid driver. After that started up normally. Screen looks poor though, and windows update is now throwing a different error. All in all I might just clean install after all…tomorrow. I needed my bitlocker recovery key every time I booted into recovery/safe mode. I think it’s memorized now. Hope this helps someone.

The problem is still affecting Surface Pro 3 owners, so if you happen to know a working solution to this temporary problem, do leave your comment below and we’ll be sure to look into it and inform others.

And we have the first possible solution coming from one of our readers, here’s what he is saying:

You have to be quick, but log in, hit the windows key, type Device Manager hit enter. Select the display adapter and disable it. Reboot. Run Windows Update. Install the updated driver pack. Reboot. Things should be good. There are some gotchas. Do not use the new store. (Use the old one) Streaming apps and services like Netflix, Hulu and WatchESPN are not currently working with the updated vid drivers.

How to install Windows 10 on Surface Pro 3 without issues

After some time, we finally managed to find a solution for Windows 10 installation problem on Surface Pro 3 devices. To make your Surface Pro 3 install Windows 10 without any problems, you’ll have to execute one simple command in the Command Prompt, and here’s exactly what you need to do:

  1. Go to Search, type cmd and open Command Prompt
  2. Enter the following command into the command line and press Enter:
    • rundll32.exe pnpclean.dll,RunDLL_PnpClean /DRIVERS /MAXCLEAN
  3. Let the process finish and restart your device

Related issues on Surface Pro 3:

How do I reinstall my Surface Pro?

In order to reinstall Windows 10 on your Surface Pro, you need to make sure you have created a USB recovery drive. You can do this by following our guide to backup Windows 10 in less than 5 minutes.

You can follow this full guide to reinstall Windows 10, or use the quick guide below.

Here are the steps to reinstall Windows 10 on Surface Pro 3:

  • Turn off your Surface Pro
  • Insert the USB recovery drive into the USB port on the Surface Laptop.
  • Hold at the same time the volume-down button and power button.
  • Release the buttons when the Surface logo appears.
  • Select your language and keyboard settings.
  • Click on Troubleshoot
  • Select Recover from a drive.
    If prompted for a recovery key, select Skip this drive.
  • Select Just remove my files.
  • Select Recover.
    This will take some time and will restart your Surface Laptop.
    Wait for the proccess to finalize, and Windows 10 S is reinstalled on your Surface Laptop.

Recommended guides to optimize Surface Pro 3

That would be all, after running this simple command in the Command Prompt, you should be able to install Windows 10 on your Surface Pro 3 normally.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2015 and has been since revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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