Microsoft Ships a Major Surface Pro 3 Firmware Update

Posted on March 26, 2015 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface with 0 Comments


While Microsoft generally ships Surface firmware updates on Patch Tuesday—as it did earlier this month—it also occasionally ships updates at other times. And it did so today with a new firmware update that appears aimed at corporate deployments. It’s a big update.

On Tuesday, March 10, Microsoft delivered firmware updates for Surface Pro 3 and the original Surface RT, and it renamed the Surface Hub app to Surface app to avoid confusion with the upcoming Surface Hub hardware. So today’s Surface Pro 3 firmware update is the second one for March 2015.

There’s not a lot of information on the Surface Pro 3 update history which identifies the update like so:

System Firmware Update – 3/26/2015

Surface Pro UEFI (v3.11.760.0) adds support for enterprise disk encryption, enhances the advanced configuration settings for device security, and adds configurable support from the Windows OS for provisioning scenarios.

But fortunately, Microsoft’s Surface for IT Pros blog provides more detail. And there is a lot to say.

Here’s what’s new.

Modifications to boot process. It is now possible to configure UEFI to allow the system to boot from alternate devices such as USB flash drives and PXE, without requiring Volume Down button to be pressed at boot time. (FINALLY)

Advanced device security capabilities. Many customers have asked for advanced device security capabilities. For example, education customers want the camera turned off so students can focus on their learning experience in class. To support such unique scenarios, customers can now selectively disable following hardware ports on the device: Side USB port, docking ports, front camera, rear camera, onboard audio, microSD, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. Customers can also choose to disable Boot from Network (PXE) capability.

OS Configurable Settings. To help large enterprise customers support their provisioning scenarios, we have now added an interface to allow UEFI configuration settings to be managed remotely. In an upcoming update, we will be releasing a downloadable tool that commercial customers can use to configure UEFI settings on their devices.

Improved customer experience while installing the firmware capsule updates. This includes improved performance of EFI applications such as third-party disk encryption software that load before Windows and improved reliability the ESC key functions in pre-OS environments, such as the BitLocker Recovery screen.

Improved driver loading. Sometimes when the drivers would not load properly within Windows, the device would function well, but the driver would show a yellow mark in Device Manager. This would prevent the drivers from loading when trying to attach a cover or plug in a USB device. This update resolves this issue.

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