At the launch of the Surface Pro 4 in October, Microsoft announced that a special spacer would be available to allow Surface Pro 3 docking station owners to properly fit the Surface Pro 4. The Surface Pro 4 is a tad bit thinner than the Surface Pro 3. Microsoft promised that those customers that bought into the Surface Pro 3 ecosystem (docking station, etc.) would still be able to use the Surface Pro 4 when it arrived. But, to keep this promise, the company had to engineer a special spacer.
However, since the announcement and Surface Pro 4 release, trying to obtain one of the spacers has been worse than pulling teeth. At least with pulling teeth, you’ll eventually be successful, despite the enormous pain.
I’ve spent the better part of the past couple months working with various local Microsoft stores to obtain this special spacer but without luck. During my year-end travels, I’ve taken time out of my work load to visit local Microsoft stores (from the Mall of America, Minnesota to a location in Austin, Texas to my hometown in Cincinnati). None of these stores had them in stock and none of the store workers knew what I was talking about.
I even used the chat feature for MicrosoftStore.com and talked to a couple support reps at different times, who both told me that spacers could only be obtained from a physical Microsoft store. After telling them my story, that store workers looked at me like I’m making stuff up, they apologized for the inconvenience but couldn’t give me anything more other than, yes, I’d just have to keep trying my local Microsoft store.
I know I’m not the only one that has been plagued by this problem. Friends have taken to extreme measures and MacGyver’ed their own solutions, using beer coasters as docking station spacers. Not surprisingly, it works – and its free. But, it’s not the Microsoft-promised solution.
Microsoft has now made the spacer available to acquire online through its Surface Online Service Center.
To locate the spacer, login to the Surface Service Center (register your device if you haven’t already) and then use the Replace an Accessory option. The spacer will only be available in the list if you’ve registered your Surface Pro 4.
The spacer is free, but you have to pay $6 for shipping.
Microsoft still swears that you can obtain these for free from a physical store, and the trip may save you the $6 shipping cost. I called my local store here in Cincinnati today to find they still have no clue what I’m talking about. So, if you want to try to save the shipping fee, call ahead – otherwise just order it online.