When Microsoft posted a Windows Update that made Surface Book and other Secure Boot-enabled PCs unbootable last week, I was reminded to bone up on my troubleshooting skills. And a key skill with any device is understanding how to access its system firmware.
Microsoft eventually fixed last week’s problem, of course, and as I noted in Update is Triggering BSOD on Surface and Other Devices Running the Windows 10 Preview, there was a workaround for those that were stung by the problem.
That workaround required you to access the UEFI firmware and disable Secure Boot. Of course, before you can do such a thing, you need to know howto access the firmware: Surface Book, like many other modern Windows devices, doesn’t display on-screen information at boot time, as do older, BIOS-based PCs. So it’s not immediately obvious how you might halt the normal boot process and get into the firmware.
After shutting down Surface Book fully, press and hold on the Volume Up button on the top edge of the device’s screen. Then, while holding down that button, press the Power button normally. When the Surface logo appears, you can release Volume Up. Surface Book will now boot into its firmware interface.
From here, you can access the folowing screens:
PC information. Basic information about your Surface Book, including its serial number and asset tag, which could be needed if you ever get support for the device.
Security. Here, you can set password protection on the firmware, change the Secure Boot configuration, and configure TPM.
Devices. This screen lets you disable the use of individual hardware components, including Surface Dock, the front or rear camera, the IR camera (for Windows Hello), Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, or just Bluetooth.
Boot configuration. This screen helps you configure the boot order—by default: Windows Boot Manager, internal storage, USB, then PXE network—and advanced boot options.
About. Basic regulatory information about Surface Book.
Exit. Here, you can click a Restart Now button to save any changes and reboot the device.
Accessing the firmware is of course just one piece to a larger troubleshooting puzzle. I’ll write up a separate tip about preparing your Surface Book for recovery from any situation soon.