How to recover Surface Duo if it wont boot

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Catastrophe struck. Your Surface Duo refuses to start. Fret not, you can recover it by following this guide. Be sure to have your Surface Duo and a USB-C cable, as well as access to a Windows 10 PC.

Let’s get to it.

NOTE: THIS PROCEDURE WILL COMPLETELY WIPE YOUR SURFACE DUO AND RESTORE IT TO FACTORY DEFAULTS. ALL PERSONAL INFORMATION, SETTINGS, AND APPS WILL BE PERMANENTLY DELETED. THE SURFACE GUIDE TAKES NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR DATA LOSS OR DAMAGE TO YOUR DEVICE.

ON YOUR WINDOWS 10 PC

Step 1: Download the Android SDK Platform Tools. Once done, extract its zip file to an easy-to-find location. E.g: c:\DuoRecovery\platform-tools

Step 2: Download the Surface Duo Recovery Image (Detailed Guide), and save it in the same file location as the previous step. Once downloaded, you can rename this zip file to something simpler, such as DuoRecoveryImage.zip. Doing so will make things easier later.

ON YOUR SURFACE DUO

Step 4: Enter Recovery Mode on your Surface Duo (Detailed Guide)

  • Power off Surface Duo
  • Press and hold Volume Down, then press and release Power button while still holding Volume Down.
  • Once a menu appears on the left screen, use Volume Down to navigate to the Recovery Mode menu. Press Power button once to confirm.
  • On the Android robot screen that appears, press and hold the Power button, then press the and release the Volume Up botton. Release the Power button.
  • On the Android recovery menu, use Volume Up or Volume Down to navigate to Apply update from ADB, then press the Power button once to confirm.

Step 5: Plug in the Surface Duo to your Windows 10 PC using the USB-C cable.

ON YOUR WINDOWS 10 PC

Step 6: Press the Windows key on your keyboard and type cmd. Open Command Prompt.

Step 7: In the Command Prompt window, type cd followed by the file location of your extracted Android SDK Platform Tools folder. In this case it would be:
cd c:\DuoRecovery\platform-tools

Step 8: Type adb sideload followed by the name of the Surface Duo Recovery Image zip file. In this case, it would be:
adb sideload DuoRecoveryImage.zip

Step 9: Be patient while the recovery images installs. It can take about 10 minutes to complete.

ON YOUR SURFACE DUO

Step 10: Once the recovery image is installed, you should see the Android Recovery screen again. You can now disconnect the USB-C cable from the Surface Duo.

Step 11: Use Volume Up or Volume Down to change menus. Select Reboot system now, and press the Power button once to confirm.

Your Surface Duo should now boot successfully.

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