Microsoft Finally Issues Surface Pro 3 Battery Fix

Posted on November 10, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface with 9 Comments

Microsoft Finally Issues Surface Pro 3 Battery Fix

Good news, Surface Pro 3 users: A new firmware update for your tablet promises to fix the battery issues many have been experiencing since the summer.

For background, these issues first, ahem, surfaced in July. Later that month, Microsoft said that a software fix would cure the problems. And then the firm promised to fix this issue in mid-August. But that fix actually caused a worse battery problem. Which Microsoft is now finally fixing.

Yes, this is what it can be like to own a Surface device.

Anyway, a number of folks on Twitter alerted me to this new firmware update a few days back. But—as has been the case recently—Microsoft neglected to document it on its Surface Pro 3 Update History web site. Three days after it was issued, however, Microsoft has finally come clean.

According to the site, an update for the Surface Pro Embedded Controller Firmware issued on November 7, 2015 “corrects an error that may occur on a limited number of Surface Pro 3 devices where the full charge capacity of the battery is misreported to the operating system and device firmware. This update corrects the firmware component that functions as a ‘fuel gauge’ so that the battery capacity is accurately reported.”

An associated FAQ provides a bit more detail. According to Microsoft, impacted Surface Pro 3 devices will only work properly when plugged in to power. When on battery, it looks like the battery capacity has diminished, and the device will no longer hold a battery charge.

Microsoft attributes the flaw to “an error condition” that causes the correct charge capacity of the battery to be misreported to both Windows and the device firmware. As a result, the battery will no longer charge to full capacity and Surface Pro 3 no longer works on battery power.

Obviously, this fix is good news. But if you were impacted by this problem, you’re not done yet: Microsoft says that it will take “several charge and discharge cycles” before the battery reports the correct battery charge to Windows and the firmware. Meaning, you’ll need to power it all the way up, use it on battery until the battery dies, recharge it, and then repeat that process at least two or three times.

And if you didn’t experience this problem, you’re good: Microsoft says that the issue won’t occur on those devices.

You can get “System Firmware Update – 11/7/2016,” as it’s called, from Windows Update as always. Cross your fingers.

 

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7 Comments
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  1. 1 | Reply
    FullyLoaded Alpha Member #1477 - 3 weeks ago

    Well it's better than having it blow up

  2. 1 | Reply
    ricka Alpha Member #936 - 3 weeks ago

    The firmware update was issued November 7, 2016, not 2015 (5th paragraph).

    1. 0 | Reply
      wright_is Alpha Member #1319 - 3 weeks ago
      In reply to ricka:

      I was about to say, if they released it last year, why is it only now appearing for download? ;-)

  3. 0 | Reply
    arknu Alpha Member #1121 - 3 weeks ago

    I have never had these issues with my Surface Pro 3 (LGC) - that is, until installing this firmware update. Now the Surface won't boot when not plugged in (and when plugged in, it only boots sometimes). There is something seriously wrong with this update!

  4. 0 | Reply
    gsmith-plm Alpha Member #1599 - 3 weeks ago

    Isn't this the 3rd time they guaranteed they fixed this?

    If this is, in fact, a real true fix then good - I had a problem back in Jul 2015 which a firmware update fixed, but battery life was never what it should be and I've settled for throttling things down a lot when running on battery.  Perhaps now I'll loosen it up a bit and see what happens.

    BTW, anyone know where in settings (other than update history or at a cmd prompt) the Firmware version is displayed?

  5. 0 | Reply
    rejohnson Alpha Member #2198 - 3 weeks ago

    Still not available as a separate download for us poor SCCM folks.  Always playing second fiddle to consumers...:-(

  6. 0 | Reply
    Narg Alpha Member #420 - 3 weeks ago

    Yes, this is what it can be like to own a ?Surface? device.  Any device...