Recently Microsoft updated their Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book owners have had problems with the pen button customization options, because they simply don’t display as they should.
Microsoft has, apparently, acknowledged the issue and is working on a fix.
In the meantime, however, a workaround has been discovered that seems to help most people with an SP4 or Surface Book who are unable to see the button customization options.
Problems with Surface App: The Workaround
To try this workaround, follow these steps in order:
- Make sure you’re logged on with an administrator account.
- Make sure you have the latest version of the Surface app (10.0.342.0 or later)
- Download the Surface Pro 4 drivers package (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=49498) or Surface Book drivers package (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=49497) as appropriate. It will be a large zip file.
- Extract the zip file to a location where you’ll be able to find it easily.
- Go into your Surface’s Bluetooth settings and un-pair the pen by tapping or clicking the Surface Pen entry then selecting Remove Device.
- Next, open Device Manager and go to the Human Interface Devices Section.
- Tap and hold (right-click) on the entry for HID-compliant pen then select Remove Device from the menu options.
- Do the same for the Surface Pen Settings entry.
- Next, go to the extracted drivers folder and browse to \Drivers\Pen.
- From the Pen directory, one at a time, drill down into each of the following subdirectories Surface Pen, SurfacePenPairing, and SurfacePenSettingsDriver then tap and hold (right-click) on the .inf file (Setup Information) located in each. When the contextual menu appears, choose Install.
- Restart your Surface.
- After your Surface restarts, re-pair your Surface Pen.
After you do all this, the Surface app should now display the button customization options.
In theory, the same fix should work for the Surface Pro 3 pen, as well. You’ll just need the SP3 driver pack (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=38826). In addition, I imagine it would also work with the Surface 3. Again, you just need the appropriate driver pack (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=49040).
I hope this is helpful for those of you that have been frustrated because the updated Surface app hasn’t been working on your device. I tell you, I sure like to be able to customize what my pen buttons do and now so can you 🙂
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.