A few days ago, we posted our experience with the latest round of patches from Microsoft and how they affected the Surface Pro 3 WiFi issues that Microsoft recently acknowledged.
While our initial experience with the latest patch was positive, Joanna is sending her Surface Pro 3 back to Microsoft for a replacement since (it seems) we got a dud. It has not only had the WiFi issues but also boot, speed, Bluetooth, blue screen and touch screen issues as well.
However, in between the initial improvement from the MS patches and the realization that our SP3 is defective, we we did some additional research and troubleshooting and came up with something that might help folks who are still having Surface Pro 3 WiFi problems but don’t have a tablet with malfunctioning hardware (like ours).
Many folks have reported that they are only seeing WiFi problems with the Surface Pro 3 when it wakes up from sleep. They seem to be rooted in SP3’s new feature called InstantGo.
Another possible fix for Surface Pro 3 WiFi Issues: What is InstantGo?
InstantGo is a technology that maintains network connectivity when your screen is off in standby mode on the Surface Pro 3. This allows the system to update things in the background, and keeps the tablet ready to quickly resume, i.e. with just a click of the pen. A good example of InstantGo would be allowing Skype to receive calls when your Surface is sleeping.
Power consumption in this mode is minimal, so the battery won’t drain very much, and your Surface can wake up quickly when you need it to.
A lot more information can be found out about InstantGo on Microsoft‘s Windows Experience Blog.
Another possible fix for Surface Pro 3 WiFi Issues: Turning off InstantGo
OK, now that you know what InstantGo is, the big question is how do you turn it off? Before we get to the how of it, let me describe what you’ll lose if you follow this procedure:
- Your Surface Pro 3 will probably have a shorter battery life since the wireless card will be operating at maximum power at all times (but, you’ll probably gain a little extra network speed).
- It might take a little longer to wake from sleep or to start up.
If you think these small caveats are worth to have a workaround for the Surface Pro 3 WiFi connection problems you may have been experiencing, do the following:
Turn off InstantGo: Hyper-V
- From the Charms Menu, search for programs and features
- Tap Programs and Features from the results. When the Programs and Features window appears, select Turn Windows features on or off from the menu on the left side.
- When the list of Windows features appears, ensure the Hyper-V feature is checked
- After the feature finishes installing select Restart Now
In case you’re wondering, Hyper-V is a feature that allows you to run virtual computers on your Surface. We’re enabling it, not because we want to run virtual machines, but because it enables a few extra power options we need to help with the Surface Pro 3 WiFi issues.
TURN OFF INSTANTGO: Configure Power Options
- From the Charms Menu, search for power options
- Tap Power Options from the results
- When the Power Options window appears, select the Choose what the power buttons do.
- When the Systems Settings window appears, select Change settings that are currently unavailable
- Uncheck the Turn on fast startup (recommended) box then select Save Changes
- Back at the main Power Options screen, make sure the Balanced (recommended) option is selected and tap or click Change Plan Settings
- On the Edit Power Settings screen, select Change advanced power settings
- Under the advanced settings window make sure the following settings are made: Wireless Adapter Settings/Power Saving Mode/On Battery: Maximum Performance then tap or click OK
- Close all of the Power Options related windows
Finally, go back to Programs and Features and turn off the Hyper-V component by using the same instructions just making sure the box is unchecked instead of checked. This will get your Surface’s power options back to normal but won’t undo what you did.
If you skip this last step, clicking the button on your pen probably won’t wake your Surface from sleep.
So, let’s summarize what you just did:
- You turned on Hyper-V temporarily in order to enable extra power options
- You changed the power options to direct the most power to the network card possible
- You turned Hyper-V back off to set things back to normal (but with WiFi working better)
Hopefully, this workaround will let you get around the WiFi issues with the Surface Pro 3, if you happen to be one of the unlucky folks having them. It worked for us but unfortunately, it did not take care of the other hardware problems we were seeing.
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.