If you have a Surface tablet (except for the Surface RT), one of the cooler features it offers is built-in support for the Miracast protocol. If you don’t know about Miracast, it basically lets you send video and audio to a compatible TV or projector wirelessly.
It’s awesome when it works but, what about when it doesn’t?
With that in mind, I’m going to cover some advice for troubleshooting Miracast on Surface tablets.
Troubleshooting Miracast on Surface Tablets: Restart Your Surface and Receiver
I could go into the reasons why it works including memory leaks, runaway processes, and the like but I won’t because it’s incredibly boring and you don’t really care, you just want the F*&%^*&g thing to work, right?
So, restart your Surface and try again. If that doesn’t work, try restarting the receiving device as well.
Troubleshooting Miracast on Surface Tablets: Check Compatibility
Next, let’s make sure you’re not trying to do something that’s never going to work because there’s simply a lack of compatibility. Unless you’re using a Surface RT, your Surface tablet is Miracast compatible but what about the TV or projector you’re trying to send to?
Fortunately, there’s a convenient and searchable website that let’s you check for Miracast compatibility; you can find it here: WiFi Alliance
Check your receiving device for compatibility before trying anything else. Otherwise, you’re just going to be causing yourself a lot of unnecessary frustration.
Troubleshooting Miracast on Surface Tablets: Turn Off Bluetooth
It’s not likely but it’s possible that Bluetooth is causing the problem with your Miracast device. Disable Bluetooth on your Surface and restart, then see if the problem has been fixed.
Troubleshooting Miracast on Surface Tablets: Anti Virus and Firewalls
If you’ve installed any third party anti-virus or firewalls, you will want to try temporarily disabling them to see if that’s what’s preventing Miracast from working.
If you disable it and Miracast starts working, you will want to see if there’s a way to add an exception for the Miracast functionality, so it can function.
For the record, the built-in Windows Defender and Windows Firewall won’t cause Miracast a problem unless the Wireless Display setting has been unchecked under Windows firewall, to make sure that’s not the problem, follow these steps:
- Bring up the Search charm (swipe in from the right of the screen)
- Search for Allow an app through Windows Firewall and select the item with the same name
- Make sure all three check boxes for the Wireless Display option are checked
If you do anything with firewall or anti-virus settings, make sure you restart your Surface before trying to connect to your Miracast device. If you don’t, it may still not work because the changes probably won’t get committed until a restart occurs.
Troubleshooting Miracast on Surface Tablets: Domain Group Policy
Some folks on the Surface tablets where the option to project to a wireless display is missing.
If you’re a home user you can probably skip this whole section – it won’t apply to you, but if your Surface is (or was) in a domain (and you’ll, know if it is) then you’ll need to involve IT to get it fixed or remove your Surface from the domain.
If you (or your IT person is curious), the issue stems from the Group Policy located at Computer Configuration > Policies > Windows Settings >Security Settings > Wireless Network (IEEE 802.11) named Don’t allow Wi-Fi Direct groups.
If you specifically disable the policy and reapply, it should start working after the Group Policy has a chance to sync.
Troubleshooting Miracast on Surface Tablets: VPN Software
If you’ve installed VPN software (such as VyprVPN, which we use and recommend), you could have some problems connecting to a local Miracast device.
This is because the VPN works by sending your network traffic directly from your Surface to some remote server. Obviously, since your Miracast device is on the network where you are and not where that server is, it may have problems working.
Fortunately, this is usually easy to fix. Just make sure you’re not connected to the VPN network at the same time you’re trying to use Miracast and it will clear up the problem 99% of the time.
For that last 1%, you could try disabling the VPN software adapter. Here’s how:
- Make sure the VPN is not connected
- Go into Control Panel (however you want to get there)
- Select Network and Sharing Center then Change Adapter Settings
- The Network Connections window should appear. You need check to see if the VPN virtual adapter is active or disabled. In the example screen below it’s the TAP-VyprVPN Adapter V9 entry
- If it is active, despite the VPN being disconnected, tap and hold (right-click) on the virtual network adapter for the VPN to bring up the context menu and select Disable
- Restart your Surface and try connecting to Miracast again
If this doesn’t correct the issue (or if it was already disabled), you may want to consider uninstalling the VPN software to eliminate it completely as the cause of your Miracast problem on your Surface.
Troubleshooting Miracast on Surface Tablets: Docks and USB NIC’s
If you’re using a third-party docking station, it’s possible that one or more of the drivers it installs (in particular for any included network adapters) is be causing Miracast to break. The problem could happen even if the Surface isn’t plugged into the docking station.
This is because, like the VPN software, docking stations often install virtual devices such as virtual video adapters and virtual network adapters which may prevent Miracast from working correctly.
Same goes for any USB wireless adapters you may use or have installed drivers for in the past.
The easiest way to correct the problem is to follow the instructions in the VPN section for disabling the software adapter but look for items related to the dock or NIC you use.
Troubleshooting Miracast on Surface Tablets: Virtualization Software
Virtualization software (such as Virtual Box) will also install software (or virtual) network adapters and may cause similar problems connecting to Miracast devices.
Fortunately, you can use the same steps outlined in the VPN section to find and disable them then see if you can connect via Miracast.
If that doesn’t work, you should try uninstalling your virtualzation software and restarting just to make sure it’s not causing your problem some other way.
Troubleshooting Miracast on Surface Tablets: BlueStacks
Despite being a Surface, BlueStacks is suspected to cause issues on Windows 8.x machines. In particular, it’s suspected of sometimes causing stuttering of Miracast video.
The only known way to resolve this issue is to remove BlueStacks.
Clock on Surface Tablets: Refresh or Reset your Surface
I hate to say it but it could be that your operating system has something seriously wrong with it and it can’t be corrected any way, other than a System Refresh or Reset.
You can find Microsoft’s instructions for doing so here: Restore, Refresh, or Reset Surface Pro or Surface 3.
Personally, I’d recommend a refresh first then only try the reset if that fails. In either case, make sure you backup your data first, so you don’t lose it.
Clock on Surface Tablets: Contact Microsoft Support
If a full reset didn’t solve the problem than it’s possible there’s a weird hardware fault with your Surface that’s preventing Miracast from working. Unfortunately, the only way to address it is to contact Microsoft Support or visit your nearest Microsoft Store.
You can find a few tips on getting Support for your Surface from this article: How to Get Microsoft Support for Surface Tablet Hardware.
OK, my fingers hurt from typing up this monster post; so, good luck solving your Miracast issues. The information in this article should be of help.
As usual, if you have information or questions, feel free to comment below.
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.