What to Do If Your Surface Won’t Start

Here’s the scenario: We’ve had arctic temperatures here in the mid-west for the past couple of weeks. Yesterday, on the way home from work, we made a stop and had several bags of stuff to carry in with us. Consequently, we accidentally left one of our Surface tablets in the car overnight. And the temperatures dropped to -15 F!

Since we have two Surfaces, we did not notice that one was missing.

So, guess what happened? Yep, the Surface froze.

We brought it inside in the morning and let it warm up for several hours, but it still wouldn’t start. So, we figured the battery must be drained and plugged it in for an hour. The Surface RT still would not start.

So, at this point we had two things to try, one of which is not recommended for Surface RT/2.

Your Surface Won’t Start, Method 1:

  1. Make sure that the Power Supply is attached to the device.
  2. Press and hold the Power button for 10 seconds.
  3. Repeatedly press and hold the Power button for 1/2 second before letting go (on/off on/off on/off).
  4. Wait a few seconds to see if the Surface begins running and screen turns on.
  5. If it does not, repeat the process.

This is the preferred method but it still did not start our Surface RT.

Your Surface Won’t Start, Method 2:

Important: Microsoft says to NOT use this process on a Surface RT or Surface 2. But obviously our Surface RT already seemed dead, so we were willing to give it a shot.

  1. Always make sure the Surface is turned off first –  not a problem in our case.
  2. Press and hold Volume Up (on the left side) and the Power button at the same time for at least 15 seconds. [You may see the screen flash the Surface logo but continue to hold for 15 seconds.]
  3. Release both buttons and wait 15 more seconds.
  4. Turn on the Surface as usual.

This method worked for us! But as we said, we didn’t have anything to lose. Microsoft says it’s a big NO-NO for the RTs. So, do Method 2 at your own risk.

And that is how you do a hard reset, if your Surface won’t turn on.

What Are Several Reasons Why Surface Pro May Appear Not to Turn On?

A quick google search will show you that if your Microsoft Surface Pro won’t turn on, you are not alone. It’s a common problem for many Microsoft users. It is easy to freak out when your expensive device will not start up and you are stuck seeing a black screen, but do not get worked up right off the bat. The solution may be as simple as needing charging and not a software issue. Though it is always best to take it into the Microsoft store to be serviced, there are certain things you may want to try beforehand.

There are a few reasons why this could be happening, and usually, there is a basic problem to check out with simple answers. The most common reasons are a charging cable connection problem or a power issue.

  1. Cable charging connection problem. One of the best things you can always assume with a black screen Windows is that the battery is dead. This is the most common cause of the device not turning on. Plug it in before you begin to worry! If the device has been plugged in for a while (we suggest at least up to 40% of the battery should be charged) and has not begun running, you need to make sure the power light turns on. If the light is not on, there is a good chance that there is a connection issue with the Surface charging cable and not the device itself.
  2. The next reason your surface pro won’t turn on, as laid out above, may be an extreme climate problem. Your Surface Pro may freeze or overheat. Overheating is a significant cause of devices not turning on. Most devices have a built-in feature that shuts them off if they do begin to overheat as a self-protection mode. This is so that no damage or loss of information comes to your device. You would think these extreme weather conditions would break your device, but this is not always the case. As we have explored above with my frozen divice, there are things you can do to restart and continue using your device.
  3. Our last common issue is your device not waking up from Sleep Mode. In order to help avoid this issue, make sure that your device is always up to date.

At the end of the day, there may be no method to try at home that will fix the issue keeping your device from turning on. Thankfully, there are trained experts ready to help you. Be sure to treat your device with care and get informed about the basic things it takes to maintain a healthy Surface Pro.

How to Troubleshoot a Surface That Won’t Turn On

There are a few ways to troubleshoot a Surface Pro that won’t turn on. Microsoft Support advises these options for users!

Before trying any of these suggestions, we are reminded to be sure to disconnect any additional plugged in accessories such as a USB drive, plug in keyboard, SD card, and any other connected additions. These add ins can affect your device and sometimes cause it to have issues turning on. If your device turns on just fine after you disconnect these accessories, you have likely found the source problem!

  1. The first advised troubleshooting solution is to plug your Surface into the power supply and begin charging it. Charge the battery for a decent amount of time and then try to turn on your device. Hopefully your screen will light up! Like we have previously mentioned, it is possible for there to be an issue with your charger if the Surface charging light does not go on!
  2. The second solution suggested by Microsoft Support is for users to try the “hotkey” keyboard shortcut. This method consists of pressing the Windows command prompt key+Ctrl+Shift+B if you have a keyboard connected. If it’s in tablet mode, press both up and down volume buttons on the keyboard quickly three times and hopefully the Surface will beep and refresh, booting the screen up. If you do not hear this noise, repeat the last step.
  3. The third solution suggested by the experts is to restart the device by forcing shutdown. This solution consists of holding down the power button for ten seconds and up to thirty seconds, or until it reboots, then pressing it again to turn it on. The screen should then light up. Another option is to hold the volume up button on the keyboard and power button simultaneously for 15 seconds. Keep holding it even after the Windows logo pops up on the screen, then press the power button, as usual, to start it up!

Of course, as mentioned before, if none of these troubleshooting options work, taking your device into the Microsoft store for the pros to check it is the best option for users!

Microsoft Surface Pro users may also like our video instructions on Delete Internet Cache on Surface RT upon Exit and Change Language on Your Surface.

Consider a Refurbished Surface Pro 3

With newer Surface Pro laptops being released Microsoft has been offering some pretty good deals on the older Surface Pros. However, if you want to save the most money, you should consider a refurbished Surface Pro 3.

These are factory refurbished Surface tablets that are just as good as a non-refurbished tablet and even carry the same warranty. Depending on the model, you can save up to $350 USD on a refurbished Surface Pro 3!

Here’s an outline of the price difference between refurbished and brand new Surface Pro 3 tablets:

The refurbished Surface Pro 3 tablets come with a Surface Pen and power brick (just like a new one) but because you’re going to save AT LEAST $160 USD you can, essentially, get a Type Cover for free and still save $30 USD off the cost of a non-refurb Surface Pro 3!

Here’s a table outlining the price difference between refurbished and brand new Surface Pro 3 tablets:

SP3 Model New Price Refurbished Price Savings
i3/64GB $799 $639 $160
i5/128GB $999 $799 $200
i5/256GB $1,299 $959 $340
i7/256GB $1,549 $1,159 $390
i7/512GB $1,949 $1,599 $350

Refurbished Surface Pro 3: FAQ

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about refurbished computers (like the SP3).

  • What’s a refurbished SP3? – A refurbished SP3 (sometimes called refurbs) is one that had some sort of problem during testing but was fixable. Alternatively, they may have been returned to Microsoft after someone bought a newer computer or had a (fixable) problem with it.
  • Aren’t they lower quality? – No. In fact, I prefer refurbished machines (when I can get them conveniently) because most quality control (QC) testing is automated these days. Usually, a real-live technician fixes the refurbs and ensures they are working correctly. As much as I like technology, I still think having a trained technician looking something over is going to produce better results than a quick test done as quickly as possible on an automated assembly line.
  • Are there other benefits? –  Aside from saving money, you’re helping save the environment by preventing (at least a few) toxic electronic components from ending up in landfills.
  • Where can I get more information about refurbished computers? – From Microsoft: http://www.microsoft.com/refurbishedpcs/

Refurbished Surface Pro 3: Where Can I Get One?

When purchasing a refurbished product, it is always best to choose one that is “certified.†With a  refurbished Microsoft Surface Pro 3, for instance, you will be getting a device that Microsoft has worked hard on, and used their personal touch with. If the device needs a new product, it will be a Microsoft part that is installed.

There are a few things you can 100% count on when getting a Certified product from Microsoft:

  • The device will be tested thoroughly, and you can bet you’ll have a fully functional product in both power and performance.
  • All Windows OS software, as well as updates, will be put back onto your device.
  • Your product will be cleaned and inspected for exterior harm, and then it will be fixed up to look brand new.
  • You will get all your device manuals, cables, and chords, packaged in a new Microsoft box.

Getting a certified refurbished Surface Pro 3 device is the closest thing you can get to a new device without spending new device money on it. Microsoft makes sure to make you feel like your purchase was worth it, and they refurbish the device with total excellence. If the job is done right (and it almost always is, since they have a name to uphold), you should not be able to tell this is a used device!

One of the best perks of getting a certified device from Microsoft is the limited warranty you will receive. Warranties are essential to possess with any software product you purchase (or any costly product, for that matter), but it is even more critical with refurbished devices because anything can go wrong no with it, matter how excellently this product is repaired. Keep in mind, this is still a used product that has been given a new life!

With the refurbished Surface 3, you are genuinely getting maximum savings. You are pretty much getting a new device for a lower price, and it is indeed the better option than purchasing a Surface Pro 3 from a third-party. These offer no guarantee of quality, and likely no warranty either.

Remember that there are multiple versions of the Surface Pro 3, which is a PC with touchscreen display and tons of other features:

  • Surface Pro 3 with a touchscreen tablet and laptop combination. Comes with a the Intel Core processor i5, as well as a 4GB RAM and storage the is 128GB. The best part is you will get the Windows 10 app store included! The surface pro type cover is expensive on its own, so this dual device is indeed a steal.
  • For a bit more, you can purchase a more decked out Surface Pro 3. This next version has 258GB SSD as well as 8GB of RAM. Still a Core i5 processor, just with more space.
  • You even have the option to get an Intel Core i7 laptop processor if this one tickles your fancy. This option has 256GB of storage. Another Intel Core i7 processor option is 512 GB of storage.  

What Are the Advantages of Refurbished Purchasing, And is it Safe?

As we have mentioned above, purchasing refurbished computers means potentially saving hard-earned bucks, as well as leaving less of a carbon footprint behind. But let’s dive a little deeper into these perks and more.

As far as being environmentally conscious, the adoption of devices falls in line with recycling and living more waste free. As a consumer, you are now being beckoned to reuse instead of buying new. Green living was not a conversation we were having just a few years ago, but the world is progressing, and we are making strides into sustainable living, in all areas. Refurbished devices are a key part of this call for better awareness of how the consumer treats the earth.

You, of course, have a choice in the matter, but the industry is changing the game all over the world by reminding us that the adoption of refurbished electronics is something of a duty. E-waste is some of the worst. The constant turnover of new devices is not sustainable for the planet. Unfortunately, we are seeing this more and more as the years go by, and the fad of upgrading every year grows bigger and bigger.

Certified refurbished products are pretty much new and typically come with a warranty, making them seem more and more desirable and trustworthy for the consumer. While major companies work on ways to create more sustainable electronic products (with more raw ingredients), buying refurbished is a big game changer for the planet. The market is changing, and the reliability of certified refurbished products is becoming stronger.

So, is it safe to purchase a refurbished device? In a word, yes. But there is one caveat: the device needs to be certified. If you are buying uncertified, there are tons of issues that can potentially arise. Consumer injury and other accidents have occurred because of unlisted, uncertified products that went south after purchase. If you are looking for safety as well as reliability, certified is the only way to go. Don’t skimp and buy from a third party seller just because it may save you a few bucks. It will not be worth it or cost less in the long run if something goes wrong.

When it comes down to it, it is essential to do all your homework before purchasing a certified refurbished device. Make sure the retailer who is restoring your electronic has good reviews and a good reputation. Do your research on if they offer a warranty for a decent amount of time or not, in case there is an issue after you bring it home with you. It is vital to cover all your bases before purchasing a refurbished product if you are looking for quality that lasts! Buying a surface laptop from a big brand like Windows, or purchasing a certified refurbished Macbook from Apple, is usually your best bet!

If you are smart with your research, you can get computers and tablets for as much as half off of the original price. The price comparison is essential to determine if it is worth purchasing certain products. With our Surface Pro 3, it is worth it because of the benefits and price drop. With the later versions, there are reasons these may not be the wisest investment.

A Refurbished Device Is a Great Option

In general, we see that purchasing refurbished devices is an excellent choice for a variety of reasons. The purchase of a certified refurbished Windows Surface Pro 3 comes with tons of perks and nothing to lose. Windows is sure to cover all the bases and give you a great quality product. Consider buying certified refurbished products from here on out! It is best for you, and the planet.

So, if you don’t want to go with a third-party, potentially problematic refurbished Surface Pro 3, and want to save some hard-earned cash on a refurbished SP3, head on over to the refurb section of the online Microsoft Store here: Buy a Refurbished Surface Pro 3.

See also:

Surface Pro 4 Accessories – What’s New?

Best Surface 3 Case Options For You

Turn Off Hibernation In Windows 10

Updates on Surface Pro 3 Battery Issue

I have recently written multiple articles about solving battery related issue for the Surface Pro 4. In those articles, I have been getting some comments/questions about the problems of the Surface Pro 3 as well. Unfortunately since I have never owned one, I am unsure about solving these battery issues. Nevertheless, I went ahead and did some research and was able to find some information about it.

To recall, after about a year or so of Surface Pro 3 usage, the battery started to degrade fast. Within days, the full charged battery only lasts an hour or two. That’s less than 20% of the full capacity on a full charge.

Multiple articles on the net have confirmed that this issue is not caused by any hardware problems meaning the physical battery itself is fine. This is caused by a software defect which means it is fixable. These problems can be fixed through firmware updates.

A Microsoft forum Moderator reported that the team has “isolated” the problem to a limited number of customers. There is a huge thread still being updated on this issue.

For further information of solving this problem for the Surface Pro 3, stay up to date on this Microsoft forum for possible solutions.

Which is the most popular Surface device on Windows 10?

So what is the most popular Surface device that is currently running on Windows 10? The Surface Pro 3 has been out much longer than the Surface Pro 4 but it was initially released with a earlier version of Windows. The Surface Book received a lot of hype during the initial release but did it sell well, especially compare to the Surface Pro 4?

I honestly expected the Surface Pro 3, Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book to top this chart. But according to AdDuplex, here’s the result:

The Surface Pro 3 and the Surface Pro 4 are placed just about where I expected but the Surface Book appears to be far less popular. Looks like most people are choosing the Surface Pro 4 over the Surface Book. I guess portability and price is more important to most people than a slight increase in the screen size and some performance.

The original article did speculate that this might (partially) be because of the world-wise supply shortage – the Surface Pro 4 became available to most parts of the world from the get go while the Surface Book was only available to few countries. I doubt that alone can explain almost 10-times lower number though.

I expect most Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3 users to have upgraded their Windows to the version 10 by now, so given this chart, I’d say the Surface Pro 4 is doing rather nicely.

And here’s one more slide that might interest you:

No big surprise here, the big five – HP, Dell, Lenovo, ASUS and Acer are leading this chart. But I do expect Microsoft to gain significantly by this time next year when they have the next generation models in production full speed.

… and 5 more days to go from the end of our vacation!

Surface battery life – how to maximize it

This article focuses on how to take care of your battery so that you can enjoy longer lasting battery even after many years of Surface use. This is not an article to talk about how to make your Surface battery life last longer on each charge – there are plenty of articles written on that topic.

Battery Life Cycle

Every type of rechargeable battery invented by human has a restricted number of life cycles. Each life cycle is defined as 100% of full capacity. So if you drained your battery 50% then fully charged twice, that’s one full cycle. Typical modern lithium batteries can last 500 to 1000 life cycles although some claim over 2000! This of course, depends on your usage habit. As long as your usage pattern isn’t very harmful for the battery, your device should last well past the lifespan of your device.

Here’s how you can find out how many life cycles you have consumed so far:

  1. Press <Windows> + R
  2. Type ‘CMD‘ then <Enter>
  3. Type ‘powercfg /batteryreport‘ within the Command Prompt window then <Enter>.
  4. This will create a file called ‘battery-report.html’ at some location that you need to note down in the Command Prompt.
  5. Use the file explorer to navigate through to the report file.

When you open it, you will see the report with lots of information on the battery usage. You will also find the number of life cycles you have consumed on your Surface (see – ‘CYCLE COUNT’ field).

Depth of discharge seriously impacts number of life cycles as seen here (from batteryuniversity.com):

  • 100% discharge: 300 – 500 life cycles
  • 50% discharge: 1200 – 1500 life cycles
  • 25% discharge: 200 – 2500 life cycles
  • 10% discharge: 3750 – 4700 life cycles

You shall not do

There are couple of things you should be aware that negatively impact the Surface battery life. Here are couple of them:

  • Heat – high temperature is very bad for batteries in general. Many cell phones damage batteries when it is used under load (such as playing games) while charging. I use a laptop cooler when I use y Surface Pro 4 extensively.
  • When you are using the device on battery, try not to go lower than 40%. Then charge back to 100%. This will pretty much ensure you will get at least 1000 life cycles. Most modern devices have some kind of built-in protection – they tend to report conservatively at the low end to discourage people from draining too low. Going down to 0% is bad but in reality, the controller will likely have stopped discharging well before the actual level dropped to 0%.

You shall do

  • Use ‘hibernate’ instead of ‘sleep’ mode. Yes, it is a bit slower but when your device is in hibernation mode, it discharges at far slower rate than when it is in ‘sleep’ mode. The problem with the sleep mode is that sometimes people forget that their device is set to sleep mode and leave them for a long time. This gradually brings the battery level to 0%.
  • Microsoft recommends to completely drain then fully charge about once a month. This is to recalibrate the battery monitor for the maximum accuracy. Remember, under a normal circumstance, this is considered bad but it needs to be done at least once a month, at least according to Microsoft.
  • Try to use as little battery as you can before charging. More frequently you charge, the better without going deep discharge.

In short

Getting the best Surface battery life isn’t really that hard. Here’s what the Surface Team said on their batteries:

“The batteries on our Surface products are designed with some of the highest charge cycles for consumer electronic devices. This means that the battery can get charged daily (5 days a week) for over 4.5 years and still maintain 80% capacity.”

This is probably good enough for just about anyone.

Might be interesting to see how your device compares to others. Please post the age of your Surface and your life cycle consumed below.

How to fix scaling issues on older Windows Apps

(The above shows Photoshop CS3 displaying super-tiny buttons due to scaling issues)

Having a high resolution screen is very nice – everything looks much cleaner and more detailed. Well, at least that is the theory and it works well on most modern devices where both the OS and the applications are aware of potentially large(!) variations in pixel densities across many devices. Unfortunately, Windows has a long history and much of it’s applications, even today, are not aware of this. When ultra-high dpi devices (such as the Surface devices) were introduced to the market, things looked pretty ugly – super tiny, overlapping or blurry fonts, buttons, cursors, and other elements. Even the vertical scroll bars were too thin to grab. These are the scaling issues you will be facing on all Windows devices with high dpi screens no matter who built it.

Soon, Microsoft introduced means for developers to handle wider variety of dpi displays within Windows, but the application developers couldn’t catch up quickly. And in many cases, they chose not to. Like many, I own many older copies of applications that are borderline unusable on today’s modern devices. And just to be clear, in most cases, the problem is caused by the apps, NOT Windows. Microsoft can’t help you here with some magical updates.

How do you deal with such situations? Although the following method won’t work with every single legacy apps with scaling issues, it will work for many. Unfortunately, there’s no global button you set to enable this – you must create a manifest file for each app, but once done, you can forget about it.

Here are the steps:

  1. Press “Windows Button” + R.
  2. Type “regedit” then <Enter>. It may ask for permission, if so click on “Yes”.
  3. Navigate to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersionSideBySide
  4. Right-click on “SideBySide”, then click on “NEW > DWORD (32bit)”.
  5. Type “PreferExternalManifest” then <Enter>.
  6. Once the new entry is created on the right side of the panel, right click on “PreferExternalManifest“, then “Modify”.
  7. Enter the value 1. Make sure the Base is of type “Decimal”.
  8. Finally, click on “Ok”.

You just told Windows that you want to use external manifest file by creating one new entry in the registry. Now, you must create your own manifest file and place it in the same location as where the EXE file of your app is located.

Download the following file, rename it, then place it in the right directory where your EXE file is located: (Click here to download). Your manifest file MUST be renamed to match your EXE file, then append “.manifest”. So if your EXE file was “Photoshop.exe” then your manifest file should read “Photoshop.exe.manifest”.

Now you can execute your EXE file and hopefully your app will present you with less scaling issues.

What I have found out so far on this workaround is that it doesn’t work in all cases. Out of all apps I have tried so far, about half of them worked (on the Surface Pro 4) and more the up to date the app, more likely that it will work. As an example, I have a very old copy of Adobe Photoshop (version CS3) and this workaround doesn’t work for me at all, both on the Surface Pro 4 and the Dell XPS 15. But for some of the other recent apps, it works great. Some of the more recent Adobe apps have also been reported to be working. In some cases, the scaling works better but overall, it looks a bit more blurry – still a better trade-off.

Here is the link to the original article written by Dan Antonielli.

Since I still want to use the Photoshop CS3, I’m afraid I’ll have to continue to look for other solutions… Oh well.

Printing For Surface Owners

Printing For Surface Owners Basics

The Surface is, of course, a paperless device (and many of us want to keep it that way) but the reality is that there is still much need for paper. Whether it is for work or for personal reasons, you probably still find yourself needing to print from your Surface device. This is especially true if you have made the transition to Surface as your main (or only) device, as we both did. Naturally you want to know some basics about printing.

Below is a collection of posts on printing from MS Surface tablets that we have covered on Love My Surface. For your convenience, we combined them all into a handy Printing Basics For Surface Owners Guide. Don’t forget that we continue to add new content all the time, so subscribe to LMS today to get our latest updates and don’t miss anything new.

Do you have a specific printing question? Post it in our Love My Surface Help Forum and let our Surface community help!

Printing 101 Series:

Print From Surface Tablets 101

Printing 101 Part 2: Printing With Google Cloud Print

Printing 101 Part 3: Share a Printer On Your Network

Printing from older devices

Print from Surface RT or Pro

Large Volume Printing (Business or School)

Batch Print Files On Your Surface

Pairing Bluetooth Devices (Including Printers) in Win 8.1

Tip of the week: Pair Bluetooth Device With Surface

Getting Started Guide For New Surface Owners

If you are a new Surface tablet owner, then you may like our Quick-start Guide for your new device – Getting Started With Surface Tablets get it today!

Multiple Issues after Firmware Update on Surface Pro 3

UPDATE: Apparently a Microsoft Engineer on the Microsoft Answers Forum has determined that many of the issues with the update come down to a single driver. Specifically the Surface Pen driver. Here’s what he had to say about it:

Thanks for all that have provided responses for this blue screen “DRIVER_POWER_STATE_failure” issue.  With your help we were able to identify the source of the issue being the Surface Pen Settings driver (version 10.0.302.0 dated 10/22/2015) which was inadvertently being installed as part of the “System Firmware Update – 1/19/2016” or manually installed by some customers.

This driver is not intended for Surface Pro 3 and is no longer being offered as part of the update.  If you had manually download and installed the Surface Pen Settings driver from the Surface Pro 4 Drivers page in an effort to enable Surface pen button customization through the Surface app on Surface Pro 3, you will need to roll back and remove the driver.

We are sorry for any confusion or inconvenience that this has caused.  If you have version 10.0.302.0 of the Surface Pen Settings driver on your Surface Pro 3, follow the steps below to roll back and remove the driver from your Surface.  We are working on an update to resolve this issue if the Surface Pen Settings driver is not rolled back.

He also included the following steps to remove the errant Pen driver from your SP3:

  1. Restart (not shutdown) Surface.
  2. Right click the Windows Start Menu icon and click Device Manager.
  3. Click the arrow next to Human Interface Devices to expand that node.
  4. Double-click on Surface Pen Settings.
  5. Click on the Driver tab to view the version information.
  6. If the version of the driver is 10.0.302.0, please click Uninstall.
  7. In the Confirm Device Uninstall popup, check the box to “Delete the driver software for this device” and click OK.
  8. Restart (not shutdown) Surface.
  9. You should now have the Surface Pen Settings driver version dated 3/30/2015.

Well, lately, it seems that everytime something goes wrong it’s with the Surface Pro 4. I’m happy to report that this is not one of those times. Unfortunately, this time, it’s a problem with the Surface Pro 3.

As you may know, Microsoft just released the Surface Pro 3 firmware 19/01/2016 update last week and, complaints started pouring in almost immediately after the update hit the wire. While complaints are popping up in multiple places, the majority are showing up on the Microsoft Answers Forum, under the thread named Issues after updated Surface Pro 3 firmware 19/01/2016.

Another popular place for people to complain seems to be Reddit.

Issues after Firmware Update on Surface Pro 3: What’s Breaking?

Here’s a partial list of the reported problems people are seeing on Windows 10:

  • Occasional BSOD citing “DRIVER_POWER_STATE_failure”
  • Rebooting to a black screen.
  • Not going to sleep/shut down properly and/or randomly waking up from sleep mode resulting in battery drains.
  • Surface App button mapping stops working.
  • Windows Hello stops working with SP4 Type Cover fingerprint reader.
  • Login via PIN stops working.
  • Start button (software/on-screen) stops responding.
  • System freezes.
  • Touch input stops working.
  • SP4 Type Cover no longer works.

If you think you’re safe by sticking with Windows 8.1, you may not be. There was, at least, one person who complained about a battery drain problem with Windows 8.1 as well.

Issues after Firmware Update on Surface Pro 3: What Can You Do?

If you’re having issues after the update, the best thing you can do to address these firmware problems is to rollback the update under Update Settings. Rolling back the update seems to fix the problem most of the time, just make sure you change your settings to prevent the updates from trying to automatically reinstall.

To do so, find the Windows Update settings then select Advanced Settings. Next find the update (System Firmware Update – 1/19/2016) and remove it. Next, go back into the Windows Updates settings and  set the pulldown to “notify to schedule” under the Choose how updates are installed section. Alternatively, you can check the Defer upgrades checkbox but, be aware, that will stop all updates for “up to several months”.

Afterwards, I’d give Microsoft a few days before attempting to install the update again. If we hear any new further news about this issue, we’ll let you know.


Remap The Surface Pen Button on Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book

When the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book was released, the included Surface app proved pretty much useless. It only offered two main functions:

  • You could change the sensitivity of the Surface Pen (slightly).
  • You could send feedback to Microsoft.

This was pretty irritating since Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3 users could (and still can on Windows 8.1 or Windows 10) use the app to remap the Surface Pen Button on the end to select which version of OneNote was launched. Not so with Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book, where pressing this button—now called the magic button, though I use the term eraser button—simply launched OneNote Mobile, and offered no way to configure it otherwise.

If you wanted to remap the Surface Pen button to do a custom action or run a different program, it involved using a scripting language called AutoHotKey and the creation of custom scripts.

However, it just got a whole lot easier Microsoft has updated the Surface app (a free download from the Windows Store). The app’s latest version (10.0.342.0) includes options for setting what the Surface Pen Button does via a simple pulldown.

Remap The Surface Pen Button: Updated Surface App

While the new version of the app keeps the original two functions on the SP4 and Surface Book, it also adds the ability to remap what the eraser button does when you click, double-click, or press and hold it. Each of those actions can cause a different reaction.

By default, a single click of the button will start the Modern/Metro version of OneNote but, by using the simple pulldown, you can set it to run any desktop or store app. In addition, you can disable the button and easily set it back to the default.

Remap The Surface Pen Button: Desktop OneNote

One of the more common requests we receive regarding the Surface Pen is how to set the top button to run the desktop version of OneNote, as opposed to the mobile version. With the updated Surface app, it’s easy, just follow these steps:

  • Launch the Surface App.
  • Select the Pen section (looks like a little pen along the left of the screen/window).
  • Scroll down to the Button Customization section and select the pulldown for Single-click.
  • Select Launch a Desktop App. When you do, an option for Select a Program will appear. Select the plus sign (+).
  • A standard open window will launch. Browse to C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16 (assuming you have Ofice 2016 installed) and select OneNote.exe.
  • Tap or click the Select Program button. The Select a Program option will change to Microsoft OneNote.

That’s it. Now when you single-click on the Surface Pen button, it will launch the desktop version of OneNote instead of the Mobile version.

If you want it to run a different program instead, just follow the same steps but browse to the program you want.


Trade in your old Surface tablet

If you have an older model Surface and you’ve been wondering if you can trade it in for a new Surface Pro 4 then I have some news for you.

Microsoft recently setup a trade-in program for older Surfaces in the US (including PR) and you can get up to $700 trade in credit! You’ll have to hurry, though, because the offer expires on November 7th.

In order to get the credit, you have to visit the trade-in website (via the Microsoft Store website) which is operated by a Microsoft partner: Surface Trade-In

Once there, you need to pick your old Surface model and choose a couple of options, like is it working/not working, are you trading in the power adapter, and are you trading in a keyboard.

Trade in your old Surface tablet: How Much Can I Get?

Here’s a table I put together after trying EVERY OPTION (you’re welcome) and finding out that (a) you MUST include the power supply and (b) the keyboard options do nothing.

So don’t bother trading in an old keyboard cover, especially if you are trading in a SP3 since the old keyboard works just fine on a SP4.

Model Value
Surface RT (Any Model) $150
Surface 2 32GB $175
Surface 2 64GB $200
Surface 2 w/ LTE $200
Surface Pro 64GB $200
Surface Pro 128GB $225
Surface Pro 256GB $300
Surface Pro 2 64GB $175 (possible mistake)
Surface Pro 2 128GB $300
Surface Pro 2 256GB $300
Surface Pro 2 512GB $300
Surface 3 (Any Model) $250
Surface Pro 3 i3/64GB $350
Surface Pro 3 i5/128GB $400
Surface Pro 3 i5/256GB $500
Surface Pro 3 i7/128GB $550
Surface Pro 3 i7/256GB $550
Surface Pro 3 i7/512GB $700

If you happen to have a broken Surface 3 or Surface Pro 3 (nothing earlier) you can even get a few bucks but not very much. A broken top of the line SP3 will get you a mere $27.50.

Better than nothing, I guess.

Trade in your old Surface tablet: The Fine Print

As with anything Microsoft does (or any big company for that matter) there are a few bits of “fine print” you need to be aware of. For your convenience, I listed them here:

  • You must send the old Surface in to be evaluated and will receive a redemption code via email for the credited amount
  • The code is only good in the ONLINE Microsoft Store.
  • Device cannot be password protected.
  • In order to get the full amount, you need to apply the credit towards a new SP4.
  • The redemption code is only valid until 12/7/15

So, if you want to save a few hundred dollars and trade up to a new Surface Pro 4, now might be the time.