Microsoft's Surface Pro Series Gets Firmware Updates Overnight

Microsoft's Surface Pro Series Gets Firmware Updates Overnight

I woke early, as usual, and like I do every morning, opened the Type Cover on my Surface Pro 3 to figure out what the day would hold. Today started a bit differently than most because I was immediately confronted with a system update. Since I'm an avid updater, I let it install before getting down to business. Of course, this gave me time for a couple extra sips of coffee which is always welcome.

You might not remember due to the busyness of the holidays, but Microsoft didn't provide any updates to its Surface tablets in December. Or, did it? I caught Microsoft's attempt at providing an update during the waning moments of 2014. On December 30th, the Surface Pro 3 History Update page was altered to show a pending Firmware Update, but that update never showed up despite constant checking.

So, it's possible Microsoft intended to deliver the update, but never followed through for one reason or another. Based on Microsoft's patching and update delivery problems in 2014, it's highly possible that Microsoft found some problems with it and pulled back to save Surface owners some headaches. We'll probably never know. But, it's also likely that the updates available today represent a piece of what Microsoft tried to deliver in December.

The Firmware Updates available today all target just the Pro series of Microsoft's tablets. It's been a while since we've seen updates filter through for the non-Pro models. If you're keeping track, the Surface 2 hasn't been updated since October, and the red-headed stepchild of the bunch, the Surface RT, hasn't had a firmware change since August.

The Surface Pro 3, of course, is getting the bulk of new feature updates. Microsoft continues to try and improve (or fix) the WiFi issues that have plagued the tablet since it released, though I have surmised that the WiFi issues are based on specific configuration since I've never experienced the problems myself. According to Barb Bowman, the WiFi update included in this month's release doesn't fix any problems automatically, but instead resolves issues of connecting to 2.4GHz instead of 5 GHz on your dual band router through the addition of a new driver with new configuration options. Barb has already dug into the new configuration options here: Specify 2.4 or 5 GHz WiFi bands on Surface Pro 3.

Additionally, and one of the improvements I'm most looking to test, is the update to the HD Graphics Family driver. If you're a hard core SuperSite fan, you might have missed my Surface Pro 3 Diary series over on WindowsITPro. In the series, I talked through my journey of turning the Surface Pro 3 into my daily driver. I went in with an open mind and was pleasantly surprised to find that the Surface Pro 3 could replace, not just my laptop, but my entire computing setup. But, through that experience I found that there was considerable performance gains in running multiple monitors through USB, instead of the more modern DisplayPort.

Personally, I don't own a Surface Pro 2. The Surface Pro 3 is with me constantly, and I use my original Surface Pro to run the latest Builds of Windows 10. So, I won't be testing the Firmware Update for the Surface Pro 2. If you are able to install it and test and have time to talk about your experience (good or bad), drop a note in the comments.

Taken from the Microsoft Surface Update History pages, here's what the updates for each model seek to improve.

Surface Pro 3

  • Surface Pro UEFI update (v3.11.450.0) adds support for updated HD Graphics Family driver.
  • HD Graphics Family driver update (v10.18.14.4029) enhances display stability and performance, improves user experience when using Miracast adapters. Improves compatibility with DisplayPort monitors and daisy chaining.
  • Wireless Network Controller and Bluetooth driver update (v15.68.3073.151) addresses connectivity issues while Hyper-V is enabled. Adds an advanced feature to control the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz band preference.
  • Surface Home Button driver update (v2.0.1179.0) ensures compatibility with the Surface Hub app.
  • Microsoft Docking Station Audio Device driver update (v1.31.35.7) improves the user experience while using the Surface Pro 3 Docking Station so that sound is available when a speaker is not connected to the docking station.

Surface Pro 2

  • Surface Pro UEFI update (v2.05.0150) improves the PXE boot experience with the 1 gigabit Surface Ethernet Adapter and further enhances the system security.
  • HD Graphics Family driver update (v10.18.14.4029) enhances display stability and performance, improves user experience when using Miracast adapters. Improves compatibility with DisplayPort monitors and daisy chaining.

Surface Pro

  • Surface Pro UEFI update (v1.7.50) further enhances the system security
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