Have you been experiencing screen flickering and/or driver crashes with your Surface Pro 4 or Surface Book even after installing every available update? If so, you might be interested to know that Intel recently created some new drivers for their HD Graphics 520 chipset (part of the Skylake CPU in your SP4 or Surface Book).
While technically not specifically for the SP4 or Surface Book, these new drivers from Intel can (possibly) solve some of the annoying issues that have plagued both devices since release.
Many folks have tried these new drivers and most (but not all) have reported an improvement in performance and stability.
Unfortunately, some have reported no change and others have claimed that performance or stability have gotten worse (more frequent crashes, graphics artifacts, etc…); so, installing the Intel drivers is definitely a TRY AT YOUR OWN RISK type of thing.
However, if you’re already having problems, what are you out giving the new drivers a go?
New Display Drivers for Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book: Installation
Downloading the drivers is easy, all you have to do is go to the Intel Download Center at the link below and download the 64-Bit ZIP file version from the bottom of the list on the left of the page:
Since the drivers were not designed specifically for the SP4 or Surface Book, they’re “unsigned” for the hardware and you won’t be able to install them by using the .EXE version. If you try, you’ll receive an error and won’t be able to continue. Fortunately, the drivers can be installed manually.
To do so, follow these steps:
- Make sure you’re logged on with Administrator rights and download the zip file.
- Make sure you save any unsaved files and close any applications you may have open.
- Extract the contents of the zip file into a folder you can easily find. For example, you could put it in a folder on your desktop.
- Next, open Device Manager (use the search option).
- From there, locate the Intel(R) HD Graphics 520 entry under Display adapters then tap and hold (right-click) it and choose the Update Driver Software Option. Note that I’m doing this on a Surface Book so I also see the NVIDIA GeForce GPU adapter. If you have a Surface Book with a dGPU, make sure you pick the right adapter or you’re going to have a bad time.
- Select Browse my computer for driver software.
- Select Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer.
- At the next screen, select the Have Disk… button.
- At the Install From Disk window, tap or click the Browse… button.
- In the Locate File window that appears, browse to the location where you put the contents of the zip file, then go into the Graphics folder [it will be inside of that unzipped folder]. If you don’t go into the Graphics folder, you will receive an error stating there is no compatible driver present.
- Select Open when you are in the right place.
- You’ll end up back at the Install From Disk dialog, tap or click OK. After you do, you’ll be back at the Update Driver Software dialog, tap or click Next.
At this point, the installation will begin. Your screen might blank out a few times and your system will probably be unresponsive for a few minutes. This is normal, don’t panic. After the drivers finish installing, you’ll get a screen like the one below:
Even though it doesn’t tell you to, you should restart your Surface at this point.
New Display Drivers for Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book: Backing Out
If the Intel drivers cause you problems or just don’t work any better than the stock Microsoft drivers, you can easily remove them. Just go to Add or Remove Programs and remove the Intel(R) Processor Graphics program as you would uninstall any application. When you do, the screen will probably flash a few times and your system may become unresponsive during the uninstallation process.
After it finishes the uninstall, restart your Surface and you’ll have the stock Microsoft drivers back.
So, that’s it. Now you can try out the Intel drivers on your SP4 or Surface Book. I hope it helps fix your screen problems.
Tim Rolston is a professional geek with over 23 years of experience working in Information Technology and dealing with everything from large-scale storage to remote systems management and automation for organizations such as Texas Instruments, Mobil Oil, and the University of Michigan (where he was an Academic IT Director).
He co-founded JTRTech along with Joanna to realize his long-time dream of working for himself.