Devil in the Details: January Surface Firmware Update is Bigger than Hoped

Devil in the Details: January Surface Firmware Update is Bigger than Hoped

Yesterday, I gave you a heads-up about the January firmware releases for Microsoft's Surface Pro series, and in that announcement supplied a few details about what each update contained. The firmware updates that delivered yesterday were only for the Pro series of Surface tablets, so those still clutching the non-Pro versions were left out this month. Some of you have been left out of any new updates for months. And, if that bugs you, maybe it's finally time to move on. We've not seen any activity from Microsoft on ever supplying another non-Pro device. With the popularity rise of the Surface Pro 3 and the very noticeable move away from ARM, it will probably never happen. I believe there's a special place for those that took the plunge and bought those devices.

Microsoft seems to be pretty proud of this month's firmware updates and believes it has finally delivered on a year's worth of promises. Just on first glance, like I showed yesterday, the fixes look valuable. But, there's more – and it's potentially amazing. Microsoft has taken to its Surface for IT blog to give even more details about the updates further proving how proud it is with this release. If you're a Surface Pro 3 user, the details should make you salivate and hunger to update right away. And, of course, if you've ever experienced any of the problems in the list of fixes, you'll be glad to see that Microsoft spent some considerable time late last year working our a huge number of issues.

For those that deploy images to Surface devices in their organizations, the firmware and driver packs are also now available. Microsoft maintains a page in its Download Center so the latest firmware and driver images are easy to find.

You can get them here: Surface Pro 3, Surface Pro 2, and Surface Pro firmware and driver packs

With the number of solid updates this month, business users will definitely want to roll these out right away. I've included Microsoft's list of fixes just below and while it contains what you'd normally expect to find in a major bug fix release, there are a few that should make a huge number of people happy – issues that have been lingering and have garnered a mass of customer complaint. Some of those include battery drain fixes, Hyper-V and WiFi interactivity improvements, and better support for European customers.

Here's the details of what to expect:

Intel(R) HD Graphics Family driver update (v10.18.14.4029)

  • Adds support for the Autodesk Mudbox 2015 paintbrush tool.
  • Ensures that unreadable text does not appear in the Microsoft Outlook calendar pane.
  • Improves performance of video display and zoom features in DirectX applications
  • Adds support for the fast cursor feature when using Miracast adapters, including the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter. 
  • Ensures there is no flickering/blank display on externally connected monitors, especially when connecting multiple monitors in a daisy-chain configuration
  • Improves compatibility with Samsung U28D590D and Dell 2713Hb monitors. Some customers reported they saw a change in screen resolution when the device is docked and connected to Dell monitor. This has been addressed in the update.
  • Adds additional support to enable better compatibility with Panasonic and Actiontec Miracast adapters
  • Ensures there is no unexpected battery drain while the Surface device is in Connected Standby mode.
  • Resolves KMODE_Exception_Not_Handled system crash when using Excel PowerMap
  • Resolves some instances of Stop 0x9F and Stop 0x133 system crashes.
  • Resolves system hang that could occur if f.lux was enabled by an application.
  • Resolves system crash that could occur when attaching to external monitors immediately after waking the device from sleep or removing it from the docking station.

Marvell Wireless Network Controller and Bluetooth driver update (v15.68.3073.151) 

  • As part of ongoing improvements to Wi-Fi experience on Surface Pro 3 device, customers now have the ability to manually select a preference between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz connections for their device. We will publish a separate blog to describe this functionality further so more customers can take advantage of this capability.
  • Modifies power management logic to allow the wireless adapter to function properly when the Hyper-V feature is enabled in Windows.
  • For European Union customers, there are specific requirements outlined in EN 300 328 v1.8.1. This update includes capabilities to stay current on these requirements, including an LE switch to better control energy detection and Bluetooth Power setting.
  • Resolves a low throughput scenario when using Cisco 3702 access points in 11ac mode.

Surface Home Button driver update (v2.0.1179.0)

  • Improves compatibility with Surface Hub application.

Surface Integration driver update (v2.0.1182.0)

  • Improves compatibility of Surface Pro 3 with Windows 10.

Microsoft Docking Station Audio Device driver update (v1.31.35.7) 

  • Addresses scenario where no sound would play while the device was docked without an external speaker connected.


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