So, Microsoft released Version 1.0 the Surface Diagnostic Toolkit and, let me tell you, if you own a Surface you need to know about it.
Basically, the Surface Diagnostic Toolkit runs your Surface through a series of tests. These tests are designed to cover everything from making sure the latest patches and drivers are installed, to checking every key on the keyboard, and everything in between.
The toolkit comes as part of the Surface Tools for IT which is a set of programs designed to help IT professionals deploy and maintain Surface devices in a business environment. However, the Surface Diagnostic Toolkit is simple enough that anyone can use it (even if you don’t have a lot of IT savvy).
As such, I would recommend that everyone who owns a Surface downloads a copy and keeps it tucked away in a folder. That way, even if you’re not having a problem at the moment, you can easily test your hardware in the event something starts acting up.
It’s also a great tool to have on hand, if you’re planning on buying a used Surface. Just copy it onto a USB drive and run it against the Surface before you hand over your cash.
Surface Diagnostic Toolkit: Getting It
To get the toolkit, just follow these instructions:
- Go to Microsoft’s Download Center and click on the Download button for the Surface Tools for IT.
- Next, make sure the “Surface_Diagnostic_Toolkit_v22.214.171.124.zip” file is checked then select Next.
- Open the zip file and save the Surface_Diagnostic_Toolkit_v126.96.36.199.exe file to your desktop.
Note: Depending on when you’re reading this, the “v188.8.131.52” portion of the file names may be different depending on if/when Microsoft updates the tool.
Surface Diagnostic Toolkit: Using It
Now that you have the toolkit, the next step is to run it. If you do all of the tests, it will take about 20 minutes and since many of the tests require you to interact (disconnect power, type on the keyboard, etc.), it’s not something you can just kick off and come back to later.
However, the tool does give you the option of selecting which tests to run; so, if you are suspecting a problem with the dGPU on a Surface Book, you can run just that test without the need to do every other test (which can be a bit tedious).
Running the Surface Diagnostic Toolkit:
- Make sure you’re logged in with admin rights.
- Run the Surface_Diagnostic_Toolkit_v184.108.40.206.exe program.
- When the EULA widow appears, select the Proceed button.
- Next, the “Welcome” screen will appear. From here, you can select to run all tests or select which tests to run. For this example, I’m going to select the Select Tests option.
- From the Select Tests window, make sure only the tests you want to run are selected. You can use the Uncheck All option to clear all of the tests (which will be selected by default). Once you’ve selected the tests to run, select the Run Tests button.
At this point, the test(s) you selected will begin running. All you have to do is follow the on-screen instructions.
As an example, here is the Integrated Keyboard Test screen:
During this test, you need to manually hit every button on the keyboard which will turn them from grey to green in order to show that they are working properly.
Also, you can hit the Skip Test button during any test to skip it and move on to the next test.
While it would be nice if more of these tests were automatic, the Surface Diagnostic Toolkit does the job of checking out pretty much everything that can go wrong with a Surface tablet or Surface Book.
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.