It doesn’t appear to be the all-encompassing update that will fix all Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 woes, but Microsoft has finally released what appears to be a substantial a firmware update for the devices.
Note: The original posting said that this firmware update was for Surface Book only. It is available for Surface Pro 4, too, of course, so I’ve updated the post. –Paul
As you may recall, Surface Book and the nearly identical Surface Pro 4 suffer from endemic reliability issues that appear to be related to Intel “Skylake” SoC (system on a chip, which combines the CPU with many other supporting chips in a single piece of silicon). I’ve called on Microsoft to be more transparent about these issues, but have been met with silence.
Well, I’ve been met by unintended comedy. Microsoft actually announced new versions of both Surface Book and SP4 with more storage. They’ve issued a Surface recall … for older power cords. They’ve delivered firmware updates … for Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3. And they’ve published an open letter called Surfacing the Facts… which has to do with the already-explained Surface/NFL incident from last weekend. Hilarious, right?
Today, Microsoft has finally delivered something—anything—for beleaguered Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 users who are happy to accept even a partial fix for the many issues they are seeing. And this does appear to be a partial fix: There’s no hint that any of this will fix the single biggest issue, which is related to the new power management states that come from Skylake.
But hope springs eternal.
According to Microsoft, System Firmware Update – 1/27/2016 includes the following updates:
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 (v184.108.40.206) improves detection of the Surface keyboard to the clipboard.
NVIDIA GeForce GPU update (v10.18.13.5914) improves stability only on those Surface Book models with an optional NVIDIA GeForce GPU discrete graphics chip.