Surface Pro 3 not charging? Try these fixes

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Surface-Pro-3-not-charging

Is your Surface Pro 3 not charging like it should? And you don’t have any idea how to go about fixing it? This post should help.

I created the troubleshooting guide below to step you through the process of identifying and correcting charging issues on your Surface Pro 3 tablet.

Oh, and if you don’t have a Surface Pro 3, don’t worry we have you covered too – with just a bit of modification, many of these steps will help you regardless of the Surface model you have.

Surface Pro 3 not charging: Where to Start

Depending on how your Surface is behaving, you’ll need to change what things you try to resolve the problem. So, I put together the guide below to help get you started.

First things first

  • You will need to make sure your Power adapter is plugged in and connected to your Surface Pro 3 and that the white LED is illuminated.
  • Also, I’m assuming you have Windows 8.1 installed. If you have Windows 8 or the Windows 10 Technical Preview installed, you may need to make some adjustments to the steps below.

If the LED on your power adapter doesn’t illuminate when it’s properly plugged into AC power and connected to the Surface, this may very well be the culprit. So, you can skip the power icon section below and jump to Solution 6 and begin your troubleshooting from there.


After your Surface is connected to power, bring up the charms menu by swiping in from the left of the screen and look at the power indicator icon (circled in red below).

Surface Pro 3 not charging-Power Icon

Once you’ve found the power icon, compare it to the list below. That will tell you how to begin your troubleshooting process.

Surface Pro 3 not charging - Charging IconPlugged in and charging: If you see a power plug next to the battery icon, it means your Surface recognizes that the power supply is connected and it thinks the battery is charging.

If your Surface turns off immediately when you disconnect the power supply, you either have a failed battery or your Surface isn’t properly switching to battery power. You should start your troubleshooting with Solution 1.

Surface Pro 3 not charging - Not Charging IconPlugged in but not charging: If the icon is missing the power plug even though the adapter is connected and the LED is on, it means your Surface does not think the power supply is connected (even tough it is).

  • If you still have some battery power, start troubleshooting with Solution 1
  • If you are out of battery power (or will run out very soon), you can hope the power adapter or connection is at fault and start your troubleshooting with Solution 6

Surface Pro 3 not charging - Missing Battery IconBattery not detected: If you see a power plug next to the battery but there’s a red X on the battery, it means that your battery likely has gone bad (or you’ve dropped your Surface one too many times) and you will probably not be able to fix it on your own.

Unfortunately, you’ll need to jump straight to contacting Microsoft Support as your Surface is not really capable of being repaired. It will need to be replaced.

OK, now that you’ve identified where to start your troubleshooting, below are my list of Solutions that will (hopefully) help you get your Surface charging again.

Surface Pro 3 not charging: Solution 1 – Restart your Surface

Let’s start with the basics. Try doing a shutdown and restart as it could just be a temporary glitch (it does happen). Hopefully, it was just a glitch and this simple fix solved your problem but, If the problem persists, proceed onto Solution 2.

Surface Pro 3 not charging: Solution 2 – Check for Updates

Next, make sure you have all of the latest updates installed. Even though they don’t always do a good job of saying what they’re doing, Microsoft is often fixing issues in their monthly patch cycle. To make sure you have the latest updates, just do the following:

  • Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap or click Settings
  • Tap or click Change PC settings, tap or click Update and recovery, and then tap or click Windows Update
  • Tap or click Check now
  • If there are updates available, tap or click View details
  • Tap or click to select the updates you want to install, and then tap or click Install
  • Repeat these steps until you see Your PC is up to date after you tap or click Check now (3rd step).

If you have all of the latest updates and firmware but your SP3 is still not charging correctly, proceed to Solution 3.

Surface Pro 3 not charging: Solution 3 – “Uninstall” the Battery

Ok, technically you’re not uninstalling the battery. You’re uninstalling the driver your SP3 uses to talk to be battery. As part of the uninstallation procedure, there will be a reboot. When that happens, your SP3  will detect the driver is missing re-install it.

  • Swipe from right and select the Search charm
  • Search for Device Manager
  • Choose Device Manager from the results

Surface Pro 3 not charging - Battery Uninstall 1

  • Choose Batteries then tap and hold (right-click) Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery

Surface Pro 3 not charging - Battery Uninstall 2

  • Choose Uninstall (DO NOT JUST DISABLE OR DELETE IT!!!)

Surface Pro 3 not charging - Battery Uninstall 3

  • After you’ve completed the uninstall, restart your Surface

If all goes well, your Surface should re-install the needed drivers and resolve your Surface Pro 3 not charging problem.

If not, proceed to Solution 4.

Surface Pro 3 not charging: Solution 4 – Two Button Shutdown

It’s possible that your SP3 just needs a two button (or hard) shutdown. This type of shutdown is akin to yanking the plug out of the wall and isn’t really a good thing to do because it is possible to cause corruption or data loss.


If you happen to be troubleshooting a Surface RT or Surface 2, skip this step. According to Microsoft, attempting a two button shutdown may cause more harm than good for Windows RT devices.


At this point, though, it’s probably worth the risk. In case you don’t know how to perform a two button shutdown, just follow these steps:

  • Shutdown your Surface normally (from the icon)
  • After your Surface turns off, press and hold volume-up button and the power button at the same time for at least 15 seconds, and then release both simultaneously
  • The screen may flash the Surface logo then go out, continue holding the buttons
  • After you release the buttons, wait 10 seconds then turn your Surface back on normally

Surface Pro 3 not charging: Solution 5 – Unplug Everything and Restart

It’s possible that an installed accessory is preventing your SP3 from charging properly so make you you’ve disconnected every accessory and perform a normal restart (like in Solution 1) to see if the issue is resolved.

  • Disconnect the keyboard cover
  • Unplug anything from the USB port
  • Remove the Surface from it’s case if you have it in one
  • Remove the Micro SDCard if you have one installed

If this works, reattach or re-install the accessories one at a time to see if the problem returns.

If you’re still having problems with your Surface Pro 3 not charging at this point, it’s probably nothing you can fix on your own. As such, it’s time to look at the power adapter on the off chance that is is the culprit (and a much cheaper/easier fix).

So, proceed to Solution 6, below.

Surface Pro 3 not charging: Solution 6 – Check the Wall Plug

This sounds overly simple (and perhaps it is) but I have seen too many instances in my career where something that couldn’t possibly be the problem turns out to be the problem.

So, take a second to make sure the power outlet you’ve plugged your Surface Pro 3 charger into is working properly. Keep in mind that it is possible for a low-voltage condition to be present where power is flowing but not as much as there should be. That can result in problems with electronics (like your SP3).

If you have a good quality multimeter that would be the best way to test it. If you don’t, by plugging something electronic but not expensive (like a digital clock or radio) into the outlet and making sure it works as expected. “dumb” devices like electric lights or fans *might* still work fine even if the power isn’t at the level it should be.

However, something like a radio probably won’t work right if the power is low or fluctuating.

If that’s not the cause of the problem, assuming you’re not too offended I brought this up as a possible fix, Go onto Solution 7. 😉

Surface Pro 3 not charging: Solution 7 – Check the Power Adapter

Next, look at the SP3 power supply. It’s possible that the power supply was dropped or otherwise damaged and that is the cause of your problems. Look at these things to make sure the power supply is good to go:

  • Check that the AC power cord is firmly seated and not loose
  • Check the connector. It should have 6 small brass connectors (3 and 3) on both sides of the little plastic tab ensure none are missing, dirty, or corroded
  • Check for cut (or partially cut) wires, especially near the connectors

Surface Pro 3 not charging-Power Adapter

Assuming your power adapter looks good, proceed to Solution 8. If the connector looks dirty or corroded jump to Solution 9.

Surface Pro 3 not charging: Solution 8 – Flip the Connector

OK, this sounds weird and it’s not a permanent solution but try flipping the power connector upside down and seeing if it suddenly works. It’s possible that there’s some invisible damage to the connector and only one side is working.

After you flip it over, give it 10 minutes to see if it starts charging. If it suddenly starts working, you may need a new power adapter. However, before you order one, try Solution 9 below.

Surface Pro 3 not charging: Solution 9 – Clean the Connectors

It’s possible that the power connector is corroded or dirty and that’s preventing a good connection when you connect your SP3 to power. There are a couple of things that might address this issue.

Make sure the power adapter is UNPLUGGED before trying either of these:

  • If you have some isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, use a Q-tip to gently clean the brass connectors
  • If you don’t (or if they’re really dirty), use a pencil eraser to gently scrub the connectors

While you’re at it, look into the slot where the power connector attaches to your SP3 and make sure there’s no foreign material lodged in it (like lint or paper from the bottom of your computer bag). Oh, and don’t use a wet Q-Tip or metal tweezers to do this.

Assuming your connectors are clean and free from debris but your SP3 is still not charging properly, it’s time to contact Microsoft.

Surface Pro 3 not charging: Time to Contact Microsoft

Well, crap…… It looks like I can’t help you and you’ll need to either visit a Microsoft store (if one is near you) or contact Microsoft support. You can check out our post (link below) to help you get through to them as quickly as possible.

How to Contact Microsoft Support

I hope you found this troubleshooting guide helpful and easy to follow. As always, if you have questions, please let us know. It might take us a few days to get back to you but we do try to make sure your questions get answered.

If we can’t get back to you, your fellow readers may also be able to help.

Tim


55 COMMENTS

  1. My SP3 power cord doesn’t stay connected. The plug that goes into the box portion of the charging cord falls out easily. Is this a design flaw, or has mine been broken?
    Thanks!

    • Sounds like yours is damaged somehow. If you bought yours at a retail store (Microsoft Store, etc…) you might be able to return it. MS is pretty good about returns, believe it or not. Especially at a Microsoft Store.

      Hope this helps,
      Tim

    • Laurie, did you manage to get your problem resolved? Mine has the same problem so because it slips out of the power adapter i don’t get a full charge unless i hold it….it just started doing this though.

      • My boyfriend jammed it in really hard, and it seems to stick now. Doesn’t seem quite right, so after the holiday buzz is over, I’m headed back to Best Buy to talk to them about a replacement cord.

        Thanks!

    • I found that you had to literally shove it in. i thought i was going to break it but it went in and stays in now. I was getting frustrated with it mot staying in so i jammed it in lol.. all is well now except I have a no battery detected issue..ugh.

  2. I have the same problem. Bought mine on Amazon on November 28th. Cord only goes in the adapter box about 1/4″ and is very loose. If I set it down it comes out. Had to tape it in place, but they will need to send me a new one. Tried the Miscrosoft “Answer Desk” and cannot connect with them by chat or phone. Very frustrated.

  3. Well, this is interesting. Ordered a Surface Pro from the online Microsoft store and received it yesterday. My power cord also will not stay connected at the box. If I hold it tightly in place it will charge. Microsoft is sending out thousands of these things with a faulty cord? I cant help feeling I am doing something wrong although I have tried everything. I really don’t think it is a software problem.

    • ok, I believe my problem is that the battery icon does not “move” to show it is charging, which i am used to on my other electronics. It just shows the plug icon beside it. It is working fine.
      It is still very loose at the box though and I cant use the Surface while it charges.

  4. If your cord does not stay in the box very snug then it is defective and they will send you a new one. When charging a light on the back of the magnetic connector (to the Surface) will light up. It should stay solid when charging.

  5. I got my SP3 from a 2nd Hand Shop here in Japan last November 30. It was charging fine for the first and second time but for the third time until now it became very slow. It takes about 12hrs to fully charge my SP3 now. I don’t know what happened but I’m suspecting that the windows update may have caused it because after running several updates this problem occurred. Please help me fix my SP3 Sir.

    • Jason,

      I haven’t heard of any issues with updates but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

      Assuming you already tried the fixes above and want to try….

      Search for “view your update history” and you should be able to figure out which updates you need to remove. You should be able to find out information on each update to see if any look suspicious.

      Once you’ve figured out which update(s) you suspect, search for “view installed updates” and you will have the option of removing updates you select.

      Be careful, this might take a while and you’ll likely have to restart your machine a couple of times.

      You might also consider running a battery report before uninstalling updates just to see if the report shows a problem with your battery.

      http://www.lovemysurface.net/run-battery-report/

      Tim

  6. Yes I’m having the same problem! Wth! My cord won’t stay conected to the box unless I push it in pretty hard. Very annoying that this is happening with so many people as well. The fitting needs to be fixed !

  7. Thank you, problem resolved! I had a charging problem where the white charging light would come on the charging attachment connected to the surface, but would then fade off almost immediately. The solution that worked for me was #7 as per the first diagram. The fixed connection going in to the power pack must have been knocked and wasnt sitting right. I pushed it back and that immediately solved the problem. Thanks again!

  8. My cord as well slips out of the adapter. It won’t charge unless I hold it in place very hard. Not cool for spending this much money on this thing.

    • Yeah,

      There seems to be a lot of complaints about that lately. I do know that if you take it to a Microsoft store, you can get it replaced (at least they replaced one I had with the same issue).

      It’s not as good as it not happening at all but, at least, they’ll try to make it right.

      Tim

  9. I have a new surface pro 3 too, I’ve had it for barely a week and the charger simply stopped working. I plugged it in as usual and the light came on, I left the room for a few minutes and when I came back the light was off and the charger is now useless. Plus, my surface’s battery has drained and I can’t even turn it on!

    I tried all of the above steps but it looks like I have to get a replacement…the problem is I am currently abroad and am now carrying around a device I can’t use.

    • Viv,

      Try pushing the cord that goes to the wall into the power brick as hard as you can and wiggle it while looking to see if the light came on.

      Some folks have had issues with that connector being very loose and causing a problem.

      Also, test the wall outlet. I know it was in the article but, check it again. It could be a low-voltage condition.

      If you happen to have access to an electrical multimeter, you can try testing the power output of the charger. If it’s supplying power normally, it could be that your Surface had a hardware failure.

      ;-(

      Tim

      • Hi Tim!

        Like I said, I tried all those fixes, I knew about jamming the power cord in tightly when I started using it. My surface was able to briefly turn on after the charger stopped working, but shut down due to the battery being drained. I tested all the wall outlets of my house, all are funcional. The USB port of the brick doesn’t work when I tested it with my phone so I’m fairly sure the fault lies with the charger :/

        • Hi Viv,
          Sorry you’re having all this trouble – that sucks. But it does sounds like you’ll need to get a replacement for the charger. I don’t know where you are abroad but Microsoft can ship many places; they also have stores in some countries.

          Good luck!
          Joanna-

          • Hey Joanna! Thanks, it does indeed suck D:
            I spoke with Microsoft about getting a replacement charger since my Surface is still under warranty, but they do not ship to my location (Colombia), nor are there any Microsoft stores here! So they’re shipping to a US address (a friend of mine) and I’ll somehow get it sent over to my location. I’m just really bummed that I’m unable to use my Surface for a long while. I love the Surface but it looks like a lot of the chargers turned out defective.

      • i have a similar problem, my sp3 has been working and charging fine for 4 weeks but as of a few days ago it simply does not charge. the first time i noticed it was when it said plugged in but not charging then from that point on it has not charged, regitered as being charged or the led light not on. and all the battery has gone say i cannot troubleshoot or anything.

        Regards Ross

        • Hi Ross,
          It sounds like you’ll need to contact MS support. If you’re SP3 is dead without charge and you have no way to charge it, this would be your only option. If you have a Best Buy around though, you could take it there and see if they would help you test it with another charger.
          Good luck!
          Joanna

  10. You know, I have had this SP3 for a few months now. The charger is a Pain in the but. I even ordered a new one and that one is just as crappy as the original one.
    You guys are making me want to go back to IPad for sure.
    I need to know how to address the charging issue if my battery is completely DEAD and I can’t get it to charge.
    Please Help or it is going back to Best Buy on my first trip back to Vegas.

    • Debbie,

      I’m sorry for the delay but we were traveling for a family emergency.

      Anyway, I’m sorry that you’re having these issues with your power supply.

      If you’re that frustrated with it then you might be better off switching back to your iPad as it’s pretty obvious your experience with the Surface has been tainted.

      However, one more suggestion. Since you said you were going to Vegas,go talk to the folks at the Microsoft Store

      http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/locations/nv/las-vegas/fashion-show/store-1025

      And don’t leave until they help.

      This is a problem I can’t fix remotely but, if you go stand in the middle of their store and ask for help, they’ll help.

      Hope this helps,
      Tim

      • I was convinced something was wrong with my plug and my docking station plug but then I decided I was just not pushing hard enough or something. I pushed really hard and it went in place and stayed. I think you just have to force it the first time and then it is ok. I think the hard plastic is just not smooth.

  11. I measured the depth of the socket side and then compared it to the plug side. There was about 3 mm difference so I pushed the plug in harder and it seated. Works fine now

  12. Bad Design on power supply. I am very disappointed with MS design of the power supply. The cord is not reinforced where it meets the connector to surface ( see solution – actually problem #6). This is a highly stressed area and any engineer should know to reinforce those areas to prevent fatigue. When I tried to return to MS store, they told me power supply was an “accessory” and not covered by warranty. Huh- since when is power an accessory?

  13. Charger worked fine for a few months but suddenly it got worse. For an odd reason it wouldn’t charge when plugged in and after fiddling it would charge. This has got worse and worse to the point it takes too long. I need help

    • I believe it’s a “lowest bidder” problem. Some exec at Microsoft got a big bonus for shaving the cost of the power brick by a few pennies. Unfortunately, those few pennies should have been spent on higher quality materials that don’t wear to the point they no longer reliably connect.

      I hate to say this but, you will need to get hold of Microsoft and complain about it. If you do a good job, you might get them to send you a replacement. You’ll have better luck if you can visit a brick and mortar Microsoft store as you will be harder to ignore in person.

      Good luck.

  14. My charger’s light comes on for a split second, as well as the screen, but then it dims and my surface says it needs to be charged. It has done that with every charger I own, in different power sockets and everything. What do I do?

  15. Is it fine to use a replacement charger not a Microsoft brand? Please help. I have tried it and it works very well but I am not sure if my SP3 will deteriorate later on.

  16. Hi,

    My Surface Pro 3 is now on Windows 10, after a clean install, but does not start on battery, even when windows indicates that the battery is fully charged.
    I have already try restarting as indicated but still the same.
    Can anyone have any idea of what is happening?
    Do i have to return it to microsoft?

    Best regards,

    • You’re not going to like this but…. that’s a new one on me. I have no experience with this issue but, it sounds like a driver got munged during the upgrade and not your Surface can’t recognize the battery.

      – You could try down-revving to 8.1 (http://www.lovemysurface.net/rollback-to-windows-8-1-on-your-surface/) and see if the problem persists.
      – You could also go into device manager and update the driver for the battery devices then restart your Surface.
      – A little more drastic but you could try deleting the battery devices from device manager to try to force Windows to reinstall them after a restart. I’d be sure to back everything up first.

      Or you could try some/all of the above. If nothing works, take it to Microsoft as defective.

  17. My Surface Pro 4 is not recognizing the battery charger, the LED charger light does not turn ON when it is connected. The problem is that I cannot turn on the computer because the battery has no more charge. Perhaps the charger drivers have been damaged after a Windows system update. Now, it is not possible to access the system to update the drivers. Does anyone know how to solve this? Perhaps I can boot up the computer as a slave with another Surface?
    I already tried the charger in another Surface and it works fine. Also, I tried another charger in my Surface and it doesn’t work.
    Microsoft insists that I send them my Surface but I live in Peru and it will take forever to send it and will cost a forturne.

    Any ideas? Thank you so much!

  18. Thank you Jonathon for your answer. Unfortunately, it didn’t work.
    The Surface connector looks in great condition. However, when I plug the charger the LED doesn’t turn ON. In addition, if I then take this charger to another Surface (a good one), the charger won’t work. It will work again if I unplug and plug the charger again to the wall. That seems to reset the charger again and it will then work with the good Surface.
    The same thing happens if I use another “good” charger.
    So it seems that the “bad” Surface is sort of magnetizing? or messing the charger temporarlily.
    Not sure how can I solve this.
    Is it possible to charge the Surface using the pins at the bottom of the tablet, that is where the keyboard connects?
    Or perhaps using the USB port?

  19. My SP3 is “dead” , when the power is plugged in , the white power-cord light is on, but no heat is observed whether on the supply or the SP3.

    One of two:
    1.The battery is dead,
    2.the charging circuitry is bad.

    Are there any ways to find it out ?
    thanks

  20. So my Surface Pro 3 has been working fine for over 2 years already. I haven’t used it in like 2 days, then when I go to turn it on it flashes a white circle with a low battery symbol and turns back off. Everything’s connected, cable LED turns on, I’ve tried switching outlets, did the 30 sec power button + volume thing, did the 15 sec trick too. Nothing. I seriously don’t have the money to send it in, is there any hope?

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