Here you are, attempting to install Windows, Ubuntu, or OSX on your Surface Pro 1, 2, or 3, wondering how to go about getting your device to boot from a USB drive. Luckily for you, it’s not that hard! Here’s what you need to do:
Step 1: Shut down your Surface Pro
Step 2: Insert the USB you want to boot from into the USB port on your Surface (try to avoid using USB hubs during the delicate process of installing an OS)
Step 3: Press and hold the volume-down button
Step 4: Press and release the power button while holding volume-down button
Step 5 (Only for Surface Pro 1 and Surface Pro 2): Keep holding volume-down until the Surface logo appears
That’s it! Assuming your USB stick is formatted correctly, your Surface Pro should have no problems reading from it and initiating OS installation.
NOTE: Remember to disable Secure Boot if you are attempting to install any OS other than Windows 8.1 64-bit or later on your Surface Pro. Otherwise, your Surface will simply ignore the USB installation drive.