Easy blog post which may not help many IT Professional but if your a consumer this post hopefully helped you.
As I passionately hate the OEM builds of Windows you get on next devices the first thing I wanted to do was to rebuild it myself with a clean Windows 8.1 Enterprise image.
Obviously the Surface 3 does not have an optical drive so the only options are to boot from USB, PXE or attach an external DVD drive. I do not have an MDT/PXE server setup and handy so USB was my only option.
The official manual says to boot a Surface Pro 3 you do;
- Turn Off Device Completely
- Press/Hold Volume Down Button
- Turn Device On
- Release Volume Button when Surface Splash Screen Appears
This for whatever reason did not work for me so I started looking around on forums, and someone had mentioned if you rename your USB drive with Windows on to "BOOTME" it forces the Surface to boot from it. Never worked for me.
The only way in which I could get a new operating system installed was to run the Windows 8.1 setup from the old installation.
If you do it this way (which from what I can remember never worked in older versions of Windows) the setup automatically reformats the SSD disk and reinstalls everything for you.
I found that after the first reboot the Surface hangs at the Surface splash screen, the fix is to hard reset it while leaving the USB drive inserted.