How to prepare your old Surface device before selling it

How do I sell my old Surface device?

So you're getting a new PC — what do you do with your old Surface? Sure, you could keep it around, but you could sell it instead. There are some great ways to sell your old Surface, but what about getting it ready for its new owner? There will no doubt be a lot of questions about the condition of the device, and you definitely want to make sure it's been wiped of all your data before sending it off to its new owner. No matter the Surface, here's how to get it ready before selling it.

How to change the battery in your Surface Pen

Having a Surface Pen included in the sale is no doubt a big selling point. If the pen attached to your Surface device is no longer working, it might just need a new battery. The battery should last about a year or longer, but it will eventually run out. In that case you need to grab a new AAAA battery and swap it out.

You can grab a six-pack of Energizer AAAA batteries from Amazon for about $5.

See at Amazon

As far as actually changing the battery, the process is relatively simple. All of these actions should be performed delicately to ensure nothing is broken in the process.

  1. Twist the back cap of the Surface Pen counter-clockwise. It will click open.

    Twist the back cap counter-clockwise.

  2. Slide the cap out of the Surface Pen.

    Slide the cap out of the pen.

  3. Turn and tap the Surface Pen so that the old battery falls out.

    Turn the pen so the battery comes out.

  4. Insert the new battery with the positive side facing out.

    Insert the new battery positive side up.

  5. Place the cap back in the Surface Pen.

    Place the cap back in the pen.

  6. Apply pressure and twist clockwise until it clicks into place.

    Apply pressure and twist clockwise.

How to clean your Surface before selling it

Microsoft has a bunch of recommended cleaning practices for your Surface, including care for your screen and Type Cover. Clean your Surface device before taking pictures for your sales post, and you'll no doubt receive more interest. Who wants to buy a laptop with fingerprints and dirt all over it?

Never apply liquid directly to the display.

Use a microfiber or lint-free cloth to wipe dust away from the screen. For oil and smudges, lightly wet the cloth with water or a mild cleaner, specifically the type used for eyeglasses or marketed for cleaning the displays of electronic devices. You generally don't want to use anything harsh. You also do not want to pour any type of liquid directly onto the screen.

For the Type Cover, you can use soap and water on a lint-free or microfiber cloth. Again, don't pour anything directly onto the keyboard or touchpad. You don't want to use anything harsh on the keys or touchpad, but you can take some isopropyl alcohol to the back of the cover, especially on the hinge where dirt can collect.

Backup the data on your Surface

Before you reset Windows 10, you want to back up the data on your Surface. This is especially important if it is your only device.

We've already written extensively on this subject, culminating in a round up of the best ways to keep everything safe. Bottom line: take the time to make one or two backups and you'll be able to rest easy knowing your data is safe while you transition between devices.

See 6 easy and effective ways to back up your PC

How to reset your Surface to protect your privacy

Once you've backed up the data on your Surface, you can go about resetting Windows 10. Microsoft has made it super easy to reset Windows and wipe the hard drive on your device at the same time. Before beginning these steps, ensure your Surface is plugged into power.

  1. Right-click the Start button.
  2. Click Settings.

    Right-click the Start button. Click Settings.

  3. Click Update & security.
  4. Click Recovery.

    Click Update & security. Click Recovery.

  5. Click Get started.
  6. Click Remove everything.

    Click Get started. Click Remove everything.

  7. Click Remove files and clean the drive.
  8. Click Reset.

    Click Remove files and clean the drive. Click Reset.

Your Surface will now be wiped and Windows 10 will be reinstalled. This can take up to a few hours, so leave your Surface plugged in and let it do its thing. You'll eventually see the initial setup pop up, and at this point you can put in a temporary username or you can leave it alone and let the new owner set it up when they receive it.

Deregister your Surface

If you've registered your Surface with Microsoft, you'll want to deregister it before selling it.

  1. Navigate to the Microsoft account website.
  2. Click See all next to Devices. You might have to scroll down a bit to find it.

    Navigate to the Microsoft account page. Click See all.

  3. Click the dropdown arrow next to More actions in the section with your Surface device.
  4. Click Remove tablet.

    Click the dropdown arrow. Click Remove tablet.

  5. Click the checkbox next to I'm ready to remove this device.
  6. Click Remove.

    Click the checkbox. Click Remove.

Check out the new Surface devices

Wondering which Surface device you should grab next? Have a look at the new Surface Pro and the Surface Laptop.