Surface Pro 3 Dogged by New Battery Issues (Updated)

Posted on September 22, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface with 0 Comments

Surface Pro 3 Dogged by New Battery Issues

This week, new complaints from Surface Pro 3 owners suggest that Microsoft’s recent fix for endemic battery life issues has in fact caused new, different and more serious issues. In fact, some believe that it was Microsoft’s August fix that is causing this new issue.

UPDATE: Thanks to Mary Jo Foley for pointing out that Microsoft has now acknowledged this issue:

We are aware of a battery issue that is affecting a limited number of Surface Pro 3 users. We can confirm that the issue affecting these customers was not caused by the software updates issued on August 29th. Our team is actively looking in to the issue to determine the cause and identify a fix. We will post an update as soon as we have more information to share.

Here we go again.

As you may recall, Microsoft uses two sources for its Surface Pro 3 batteries, Simplo and LG.

In July, Surface Pro 3 users began complaining about battery life issues which, in some cases, were so serious that the devices couldn’t be used unless they were plugged into power. After a bit of investigation, one commonality was discovered: All of the impacted Surface Pro 3 devices utilized Simplo-made batteries. And a few weeks later, Microsoft had some good news: It said that the problem could be solved by a software fix. Which it later said it was testing.

Then, over a month and a half after the battery life issues were first reported, Microsoft finally delivered that fix. And it seemed, based on reports I received from readers on Twitter and via email, that Microsoft had indeed fixed the problem. That was August 29.

Over three weeks later, it’s clear that the Microsoft fix has triggered another round of battery life problems. And amazingly, improbably, this one is even worse.

This time, Surface Pro 3s with LG-made batteries are impacted, and this time, many users are discovering that their devices are unusable, or only usable for a few minutes at a time. Even when connected to power.

As always, Microsoft is moving slowly to quietly address this new problem.

In a Microsoft Answers support forum, on Microsoft engineer allegedly told a customer that this new issue was “definitely a different problem from what we saw with the Simplo batteries.” Another told the same person it was “the same as” the Simplo issue.

Classic.

Either way, Microsoft is aware of the problem. And maybe it’s time to acknowledge that publicly. Especially since this appears to be a problem of Microsoft’s own making.

So what can Surface Pro 3 users actually do?

Obviously, if you’re not experiencing any issues, you can just use your computer normally. Maybe browse over to Apple.com and see what a refurbished MacBook Pro is going for these days.

But I kid.

As Surface Pro 3 owners are all too aware, Windows includes a command line-based battery report utility that will tell you which kind of battery you have in your device. (Among other things; this report is very useful for a number of things.) Do make this report, open a command line window (WINKEY + X, Commmand Prompt) and type in the following command (and then tap Enter):

powercfg /batteryreport

You’ll find the report at C:\Windows\System32\battery-report.html. Near the top of the report, under Installed Batteries, you can see whether you have a Simplo or LG (LGC) battery. As you can see, my Surface Pro 3 has an LG battery.

battery

This report will be useful if you do start experiencing battery life issues: You can use it when dealing with Microsoft Support, which, if you’re lucky, you will never need to deal with.

Good luck.

 

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