Majorly Disappointed With Surface Pro 4 Problems

Majorly Disappointed With Surface Pro 4 Problems

Hi ya’ll,

I thought I’d fill you in on my experience with the new Surface Pro 4. I got one on Monday along with Tim’s Surface Book. We both proceeded to set up our new devices. My first impression was: “I friggin’ love this thing!“.

What’s not to like? It’s light, fast, the Pen rocks, and I can’t even tell you how awesome the screen is.

I was initially quite happy with my new Surface Pro 4. Unfortunately, once I started setting it up, my problems began. I noticed a very pronounced flicker on the screen. At first, I thought it was only when using the Edge browser but then realized that the problem was global. I suffer from chronic migraines and so, the flicker is a very bad thing for me – it’s a trigger.

I did all the normal stuff: troubleshooters, driver pack install, updates, etc. Nothing seemed to work, so I gave up for the day and decided to tackle the problem next morning.

The next morning, I discovered yet another problem: the rear camera would not take pictures with the Camera App (same on Tim’s Surface Book) ….hmmmm….

So, now I had two problems, after more of the usual troubleshooting and searching for answers, I decided to call Microsoft for help. I was lucky, I got a knowledgeable technician with a direct line to the Surface engineering team to work with me. We spent 7 HOURS together on the phone and via remote access to try to fix the device.

Here is a recap of the experience:

Surface Pro 4 Problems: Specifics

  1. The screen constantly flickers. It is especially noticeable in Edge but in general, the entire screen flickers.
  2. The rear camera will not take pictures with the Camera App, this happened after installing the driver pack to try to fix the flicker.
  3. I got a blue screen of death on two separate occasions before calling Microsoft.

Surface Pro 4 Problems: What we tried (with MS tech team on the line)

  • Reset the system – helped the camera but not the flickering and after installing the drivers pack again the rear camera stopped working again.
  • Reset the system from a MS internal SP4 image – I was told this image was directly from one of the engineers who was in the room – the same result as above only worse because the device had to be re-activated and the screen seemed to freak worse with weird bleed-troughs and aftereffects, etc..
  • Turned Hyper-V ON/OFF – no change, it didn’t help either flickering or camera.
  • Turned OFF auto brightness – no change, same as above.
  • Turned off cameras – no change on the flickering. We thought perhaps it was a brightness sensor problem.
  • MS tech ran various troubleshooting tools on my SP4 but nothing helped.

I had a total of 4 blue screens throughout this process in less than 24 hours – 2 on my own and 2 with Microsoft online. The techs finally gave up and told me to take my device back for replacement. So, I called the retail store near us but, unfortunately, the store doesn’t have my model (i5 8GB 256) to replace it with, they are sold out and I will have to wait until end of November for a new one.

And while I’m flattered that Microsoft gave me this much time and really did try to fix the problem, I am super disappointed that my new Surface Pro 4 doesn’t work. My only choice at this point is to return it and wait for weeks to get a new one. UGH – Did I mention I am not patient person?

So, what’s the point of this post? Well, I want to let you know that there are potential problems. As with other brand new hardware, it takes time to work out the kinks and I, apparently, am one of the unlucky ones that got a Surface Pro 4 with problems.

Surface Pro 4 Problems: What Went Wrong?

You may remember the Surface Pro 3s had issues with network cards when they were first released. I guess the Surface Pro 4s, have video problems (yes, I did research it and there are others reporting the same problems – so I am not the only one.) In fact, the MS tech acknowledged that the flicker was a known issue they were working on fixing – he gets an A+ for trying to fix it. However, there are lots of folks out there that got the SP4 and have not seen either of these issues – so, go figure….

Bottom line is this, the processor in the Surface Pro 4 is brand new (launched in August), so perhaps Microsoft hasn’t had enough time to properly test and create drivers yet..? With such a short turnaround, problems are to be expected but not certain.

I am still going to get a Surface Pro 4, I just need a replacement that works and I still think it’s an awesome device.




  1. Very sorry to hear you’re having problems Joanna.

    Do MS give a prize for the longest tech support call? You say you’re impatient but it doesn’t sound that way!

    Please keep us posted. My SP4 is ordered so I’m keenly interested 🙂



    • Hi Ken,
      Ha ha ha. Well, I’m impatient but I am stubborn. It’s the tech in me that does not like to give up on the computer problems. LOL. I will definitely update you on the status of what happens.

  2. I had the 2 and now hAve the 3 with a surface book on order. I have found Microsoft support to be polite and professional, but also fairly useless. I too spent hoursm but rarely got any advice to fix the problems I was having. They were usually design flaws and their solution was to reinstall the os (didn’t solve the problems). All that said love my surface

  3. Thanks for the heads up on the surface pro 4 issues, I do hope these get sorted as I’m keen to get one. Hope you can get a replacement sooner. Joanna, Nice thou that you ended on a positive note. Regards marina

  4. Thanks for sharing your experience. Seems like the old saying is unfortunately still true: it’s saver to wait and get the odd number product releases than going immediately for the newest of the newest. Hopefully this still is a software issue which they can resolve through a firmware update.

  5. I got the same model as yours on Monday. I have almost all of the issues your having. My wifi is horrible which makes using the device for any internet browsing or even uploading to one drive unacceptable. I also had a battery drain issue. For now I changed the settings to hibernate upon pressing the power button at closing the lid but then you don’t get the device to turn on as fast as you would expect. I’m patient with waiting the extra few seconds however this should not be an acceptable fix. I sold my MacBook Air last week to offset the cost of buying the device and if they don’t get the wifi fixed in 30 days I too may end up returning it. I can wait out an update for the screen flicker as well as the battery drain cause I’ll leave the hibernate setting on and I have the charger of course. But a lot of my work is done through the cloud either via an intranet page from my job or through saving documents in one drive. So for the Internet to take so long for an upload or download and also risk my document timing out and losing my work because of slow or limited internet speeds then I won’t risk keeping the device. I really do live everything else about it though so I am truly hoping that they push out updates to fix them ASAP!

    • Then stay with the SP3.

      I was going to wait for the SP4, but then read earlier this year that the SP4 would not be released this year, or ever.

      So I got my SP3 in July, getting to like it more each day.

      Maybe it was the right decision.

      I work in East Africa, so Skype is the only real way to get hold of a MS techie. About 18 months ago I had a three hour support call, during which I prayed for the power not to go off, which it often does here.

      It worked, and the tech was great, even getting m,e to hold on while she followed up on my problem.

  6. For the flickering, it’s a problem with Intel’s drivef software. Go into the the HD Graphics Control Panel and you’ll find something titled “panel self refresh” (can’t remember where it is exactly, just look around in the settings). Disabling it fixed the problem, hopfully it will for you too.

    • Hi Eric,
      Interesting. Where exactly did you find this setting because I don’t have it on my device. I have it on my Dell version of intel drivers but not on the Surface. Am I missing something?

      • Can someone help me? Just got my SP4 8GB, tried to do a reasonable setup. Now I get nothing but a blue screen when I sign in. No way to open anything but folders. No apps, no way add email accounts, nothing.

        • Start with a 2-button shutdown. Press and hold the power button and the volume down button for 30 seconds then turn your Surface back on normally.

          If it triggers an automatic repair, let it do it’s thing and it should work.

  7. I upgraded my SP3 to Win10 on 7/29 and had nothing but problems afterwards. The constant screen flashing (not a flicker but a flashing) at bootup was the biggest downer I had with Win10-happened on 50% of bootups. I found MS Surface Support to be very good, but the fact that I contacted them so many times is disturbing in itself. I never had a bad experience with either chat or phone support though, even if they were eventually unsuccessful in resolving major issues. I have also received followup emails from them to check on the status of the problems to assure they are resolved. That’s something I give them props for!

    My SP3 problem was so bad that MS actually sent me a new device and I reset and shipped the “old” one (8 months old…) back. I had 2 months of suffering thru Win10 and getting to know support folks really well before we all thru in the towel. I have had no probs with the new SP3 they sent me, but have resisted the requests to upgrade to Win10. Maybe in Feb or March I’ll try again if the bugs are stomped out by then.

    But KUDOS to them for support efforts and trying to fix an OS that was not quite ready for prime time when it was released.

    • Hi Sandra,
      You are absolutely right, Win 10 has been full of bugs. I upgraded my S3 and have had nothing but problems and I suspect a lot of these issues with the new SP4 is due to Win 10 not having the proper drivers for all the new hardware yet. I too have an SP3 and kept it on Win 8.1 and have 0 issues. So, there it is. I’m not a big fan of Win 10 but unfortunately, that is all you get for SP4.
      We wrote about this before, Win 10 seems to be a great OS for desktops, not so much for tablets. I guess I was hoping that with SP4, they would have everything worked out but I guess not 🙁

  8. Picked up my SP4 on Monday. An upgrade from SP2…so far no flickering or bugs ….yet. …but I to can be patient….or a patient. I’m very impressed with the upgrade. By the way …Your site/blog rocks!

  9. I can’t even log into my pro4. Windows Hello keeps trying but it’s a no go and it want let me switch to my pin or password.

  10. The camera problem is not a camera problem is a camera app problem. Any other camera application from the store will take photo and record. Your debugging skills isnt that good

    • Hi John, I see that you tried to post the same negative comment multiple times. There is no need to be offensive – it just isn’t very nice. Which camera app do you refer to that works? because all the ones I tried do not. In fact there are very few Camera apps in the Windows store and most use the front, not the rear camera. In any case that is not the point, whether it’s the native app, the camera or the driver, the point is that out of the box, it doesn’t work.
      Cheers. Joanna

  11. This is the second Surface product I have owned, the original Surface pro, and now the 4 generation, in no way am I a fan of windows 10, or MS, but this tablet has performed better than I had hoped, no issues at all, There is one strange thing, the speed of file transfers over my network, and that could just be my own settings, I hope they resolve your issue, but after the first hour I would have returned the Surface and exchanged it for another.

    • Hi Brook,
      Glad yours is working well for you! The reason I didn’t want to return it because I know I can’t get another one until late November because everything is sold out. But, I did finally give up, I think I have a defective unit 🙁

  12. Surface 4- i5 with 16gb ram. No issues…nothing. Running photoshop and Office 2013. The only thing that was odd was I couldn’t customize the desktop -add “my computer, control panel, etc” but that was resolved with a reboot.

  13. Upgraded from SP2 to SP4 on Monday and have been experiencing the exact same issues. Spent hours with MS support also, and inquired if these are known issues to which they said no. Obviously that is not the case and this happening to other owners also. Assume software updates will be able to resolve, but the device should work better out of the box. To spend $1400 and be on tech support day 1 trying to fix issues is a fail. Very sad cause I lovd my SP2 (until wins 10 introduced issues).

    • Seems as though the camera app update to bring it to 2015.1078.40.0 has resolved the camera issue. Screen flickering in Edge seems to be gone also though since can’t read update change logs no real idea which one it was that helped. I am cautiously optimistic my SP4 will be OK now. However, even if these issues are now resolved, fact this flagship product was released with such obvious bugs is disappointing.

  14. I’m having a lot of the same problems reported here with exception of the camera issues and pen to launch onenote. Windows hello works great for me. Wifi is terrible and unreliable for anything. Display driver crashes all the time and the screen freezes. Speakers pop sometimes for no apparent reason. Battery life has been fantastic though I can’t really use the device as my daily driver because it is totally unreliable with all the issues. Spent nearly $1500 for a paper weight. I really hope they release a fix before my 45 days is up or else I will have to return it and wait for the product to get fixed.

    • Microsoft is working on the display drivers. Try changing the resolution to somrthing other than native and, if you have Hype-V enabled, turn it off.

      For the wifi problems, I’m working on an article for it but, a possible workaround for the wifi issues is as follows:

      – Open regedit
      – Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Services\mrvlpcie8897
      – Find the entry for “TXAMSDU”, modify the value from 1 to 0 (Hex)
      – Save the change and restart your Surface

      Hope this helps…

    • Microsoft is working on the display drivers. Try changing the resolution to somrthing other than native and, if you have Hype-V enabled, turn it off.

      For the wifi problems, I’m working on an article for it but, a possible workaround for the wifi issues is as follows:

      – Open regedit
      – Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Services\mrvlpcie8897
      – Find the entry for “TXAMSDU”, modify the value from 1 to 0 (Hex)
      – Save the change and restart your Surface

      Hope this helps…

  15. I just wish frown-humørikon I knew about this discussion group before I bought a new Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (256 GB) today. This is the biggest disappointment ever and the worst out-of-the-box experience ever. I feel sorry for the Microsoft Surface support staff trying to deal with mission impossible, but the truth is that this product should never have been launched, it´s not ready and does not work out-of-the-box. Being very persistent, I am still trying to get the Surface to work using old Windows boot tricks etc. but what a waste of time. The only reason I am buying a Windows OS product again (I am a dedicated MAC user since the Macintosh) is because of certain software applications that are not available for MAC OS and I don´t want Windows on a MAC installed with all the problems it brings into your daily life….and being an old DOS, MSDOS and loyal user of Windows 1.0-2.0-3.0-3.11-etc etc I thought this time they MS nailed it, but NO-NO-NO no one is responsible to test the product before being shipped to retail and consumers. I never write on social media, blogs or on the Internet about complaints when I buy a poor product, but this time it was justified. Never ever again will I buy a product from Microsoft smile-humørikon it is just waste of a good consumer experience and my money…

  16. I had the same issues with the graphics card. The Surface Pro 4 that I had bought unfortunately did not come with a working pen either, which was also a disappointment. After 3 BSOD I had to return the thing and exchanged it for another one… So far, no issues with it.

  17. Got mine yesterday .. Sending it back. Problems with Windows Store, screen freezing and difficult to get out of sleep mode. I installed the updates, too. Really expected better out of the box. My wife got macbook pro last month and was doing useful work half an hour after it arrived! I like the idea of the Surface — I really wanted one — I may try ordering again in six months when the bugs are sorted out.

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