Monday 14 January 2013

Preparing a Microsoft Surface RT for RMA Return: Destroy That Data!

Whatever was failing in our one Microsoft Surface RT would not let us run a Refresh or a Restore to Factory routine. The unit would fail out after about five to ten minutes when it came time to reboot.

So, we were a bit hamstrung when it came to the “How” to wipe it before dropping it into the shipping box.

When initially playing with the units after setting up the Microsoft ID on them there was a point where it would force a BitLocker Unlock after a reboot on too many password tries.

We ended up having to try something like 20 or 30 times before the defective unit finally insisted that it would reboot and require the BitLocker Unlock Key.

Post reboot it had the BitLocker Unlock Key request screen.

It also offered to reset the unit to defaults with a partial or full wipe of the unit’s storage. Since the full restore process would fail from within the OS we tried it here and it worked.

The full wipe process took a _long_ time. However, once it was done we were presented with the “Choose a theme” screen one sees the first time a Microsoft Surface is fired up.


We are now confident that there is nothing left in the way of personal data on that unit.

Off it goes.

When we first picked these units up there was a good amount of excitement around them and the prospect of picking up a Surface Pro when it became available.

After our experiences with the flaky nature, as expected with a v1 product, of the Surface RT we will be hard pressed to be first in line for a Surface Pro.

We are of the mind that we will look to established Tier 1 product vendors such as Toshiba for anything ultraportable going forward.

For now, we have a Toshiba Satellite U920t slated as replacement for the Surface RT and Acer TravelMate TM6593G used at home.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Windows Live Writer

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