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.