Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 Firmware Released

Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 Firmware Released

This week Microsoft released the highly anticipated firmware updates for the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book looking to finally address the list of issues that have been hampering the latest members of the Surface family since they were released last fall.

Probably the largest issue owners have faced is the device failing to sleep properly which then causes the device to turn on and quickly consume the available battery power.  As a temporary remedy users of the two devices were told to set their systems u so they would go directly to hibernate mode when not in use instead of the default sleep mode. This would avoid the the unplanned wake up and prevent users from discovering their device running hot when it should be sleeping.

According to the Microsoft Surface Support pages the two devices received the following fixes in this firmware release:

Surface Book

  • Surface Embedded Controller Firmware (v88.899.256.0) adds battery charging enhancements and thermal tuning.
  • Wireless Network Controller and Bluetooth driver update (v15.68.9037.59) improves access point compatibility and throughput on 5Ghz networks.
  • Surface DTX driver update (v1.3.202.0) improves detection of the Surface keyboard to the clipboard.

In addition to the updates list above, the following additional update is available for Surface Book devices that have the optional NVIDIA GeForce GPU discrete graphics chip:

  • NVIDIA GeForce GPU update (v10.18.13.5914) improves stability.

Surface Pro 4

  • Surface Embedded Controller Firmware (v103.899.256.0) adds battery charging enhancements and thermal tuning.
  • Surface Fingerprint Sensor driver update (v2.2.10.6) improves accuracy.
  • Wireless Network Controller and Bluetooth driver update (v15.68.9037.59) improves access point compatibility and throughput on 5Ghz networks.

One of our regular readers, Aaron Hall, shared with us a tip on how he reduced the frequency of some of the issues with his Surface Book prior to the release of the this weeks firmware updates.

Over the last two weeks he had installed the drivers that are directly available from Intel for the Skylake chipset. Those drivers, dated 23 December 2015, actually reduced the number of black screens on wake up that he experienced over the time he had them installed.

According to Intel those drivers were intended to address these issues:

  • Display may flicker on 6th Generation Intel Core and related processors
  • Corruption seen in Microsoft Store Maps application
  • Stability Fixes for 6th Generation Intel Core and related processors w/ Intel® Iris™ Graphics 540           
  • System may hang on systems with both discrete graphics and Intel graphics
  • System may hang on GfxBench
  • System may hang on systems with HD Graphics 510
  • Reduce probability of getting a blue screen in certain scenarios

When the new firmware drivers arrived this week he immediately installed them, keeping the Intel drivers installed as well, and then tested several scenarios throughout yesterday to see if the issues had been resolved with his Surface Book.

Here is how he summarized the day's results:

With new firmware and the updated beta Intel driver and default power configuration, the experience is pretty solid now. This morning at 6:15am, I woke it up from being in sleep/standby overnight unplugged. It was at 97% battery. It woke quickly and without issue. I put it back in sleep, packed it in my bag, and went to work. At 7:00am, I was able to wake up and resume consistently each attempt (about 10X within a half hour for testing). It was down to 94%. Then, I let it sit for about 3-4 hours this morning. When I woke it up after that, it was in hibernate again, and I'd only lost about 3% of battery-- probably in the 2 hours before it went to hibernate. From about 11:30am to 3:00pm, I was able to use it intermittently without issues... sleeping, waking, etc... but not let it go to Hibernate, and that usage took it down to 78% (from 91% at 11:30). So overall, pretty positive experience. No issue with "shrunken" lock screen. No issues with blank screen on wake. That's definitely the best I've experienced since purchase, but I wonder whether the display driver is the real fix here vs the firmware.

​Aaron makes a good point at the end of his summary by stating he is unsure if it is the Intel display drivers, the firmware update or a combination of both that have stabilized the system.

While monitoring social media over the last 24 hours since the updated firmware was pushed out I am seeing mixed results from other users.

How is your Surface Pro 4 and/or Surface Book running after the firmware update.

But, wait...there's probably more so be sure to follow me on Twitter and Google+.

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