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all solutions I found depend on a live CD, but my surface won't boot into live USB and I can't figure out how to access UEFI.

Every time I start my Surface, it says

error: unknown filesystem.
grub rescue> _

How do I get back into Windows?

I still have the full Windows partition in it (I think hd0,gp3), if that helps you with your answer.

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After talking with both Linux and Windows professionals, we decided there's only one way to fix this. You must perform a hard reset. The steps to do this are listed below, and good timing is crucial. Note that this requires you not remove the recovery partition. if you've removed the recovery partition, then the only option is to send your Surface in for "repair".

  1. Turn on the Surface and let Grub start
  2. Hold down the power/lock button for 10 seconds and release it to ensure all power throughout the device is cut.
  3. Hold the power button for 10 seconds
  4. While still holding the power button, hold the volume down button for another 7 seconds, then release both simultaneously
  5. You should see the Surface logo with the "loading" chasing dots animation below it.
    • If you have still booted back into Grub, then you haven't gotten the timing down. Return to step 1 and repeat.
  6. You should be presented with the Windows Advanced Boot interface. This works with touch, mouse, or keyboard, so proceed as you wish.
  7. The interface may vary by which generation Surface you have, but you should see a selection of installed OSs (in my case, just Windows 8 Pro). Select Windows 8 Pro.
  8. Navigate to Advanced Settings, and then Reset or Refresh your device
    • Reset will restore everything to factory settings.
    • Refresh will restore everything to factory settings except the User directory, and will preserve Windows 8 Modern (AKA Metro) apps. If you choose this, all traditional Windows programs will be wiped and a list of which ones were removed (and usually where to download them) will be placed on your desktop as an HTML file.

You'll be booted back into Windows and all semblance of Grub will be gone :3

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