How to force a frozen Surface PC to shut down and restart

I use a Surface Pro every day, and though I'm a big fan of it in general, it can be … quirky at times. Every week or so, if I don't remember to restart it on my own, for example, my Surface Pro will randomly freeze up, usually after it's been asleep for a while and I wake it and try to get right down to business. (This frequent freeze rate was apparently one reason why tech reviews site Consumer Reports recently blasted the entire Surface line, though those ratings didn't apply to the latest generation of Surfaces.)

Why you should question Consumer Reports' Microsoft Surface reliability claims

If you're using a new Surface Pro, Surface Laptop or Surface Studio, there is a quick-and-easy fix for the Surface-freeze problem. (If you use an older Surface model, you can find more information on how to fix your frozen PC on Microsoft's website

How to force your frozen Surface to shut down

If your Surface Pro, Laptop or Studio is unresponsive, follow this process to shut it down and then restart it:

  1. Press and hold the power button until the display turns off. This will take roughly 10 seconds, but on rare occasion it may take longer.
  2. Let go off the power button and wait several seconds.
  3. Press the power button again to turn the Surface back on. The Windows logo should appear on the screen.

That's it. This process may seem obvious or intuitive, and in fact it is … once you know how to do it. But if you're a new Surface owner dealing with freeze-ups for the first time, it can be absolutely maddening if you don't know how to fix the problem.

In the rare case that this does not force your Surface to shut down, simply hold the power button for as long as it takes for the device to restart on its own. On a few occasions, I had to hold the power button for as long as 30 seconds, but eventually my Surface Pro restarted.

After you've fixed the freeze-up issue, it's also a good idea to check for software updates and install them immediately, because delayed updates could be contributing to the cause of your problem. Just search "check for updates" in your taskbar search, and then click the "Check for updates" box in the Windows Update window that appears.

Al Sacco

Al Sacco is content director of Future PLC's Mobile Technology Vertical, which includes, and He is a veteran reporter, writer, reviewer and editor who has professionally covered and evaluated IT and mobile technology, and countless associated gadgets and accessories, for more than a decade. You can keep up with Al on Twitter and Instagram.