Surface Pro 3
If you have a Surface Pro 3, you probably received a firmware update on or around 8/292016. This firmware update is a fix for Simplo batteries only. Most people have reported their SP3’s with Simplo batteries now show reasonable capacity (but there are customers reporting bricks).
A trend is appearing in the Microsoft Community Forums (Answers) that suggests that something in the firmware to fix Simplo has had a bad impact on Surface Pro 3’s equipped with LGC batteries. This thread has some folks posting about this https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/surface/forum/surfpro3-surfhardware/surface-pro-3-with-lgc-lgc-battery-degradation/13d03fbe-1edd-489f-bd0a-2c07ff615128?msgId=25830051-4e6d-4a5d-b194-2e78168e6534 (and there are a couple of others).
If you have a Surface Pro 3, you should open an administrative cmd prompt and type
powercfg /battery report
Save the file and if it looks like the samples below, post in the above thread. As you can see, these folks are stuck on a fixed, less than 100% capacity. This condition was not present prior to the 8/29 firmware update. You can also let me know on Twitter, @barbbowman if you are impacted.
While Microsoft’s response to the SIMPLO issue has been restricted to “working on a possible software fix”, customers are starting to report that even when plugged in, their SP3 tablets shut down. In essence, they can’t use their Surface Pro 3’s at all. This seems to happen when the amount of usable battery fully charged falls below a certain point, and as the days continue without a fix, more and more customers will have unusable devices. I don’t see that they will be able to keep their devices running long enough to even apply a software fix, should one actually become available. These customers are trapped. Microsoft won’t swap them out, and some are paying the usurious $450 out of warranty exchange fee. Note that Microsoft committed to a $200 battery replacement program on a Reddit AMA https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/26m9cu/we_are_panos_panay_and_the_surface_team_at/chsei5u but has refused to honor this or even comment on it. (And as an aside, Apple charges $129 to replace an out of warranty battery.)
Microsoft told customers in the same Reddit AMA https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/26m9cu/we_are_panos_panay_and_the_surface_team_at/chse7pn that “the battery can get charged daily (5 days a week) for over 4.5 years and still maintain 80% capacity”. Again, customers are responding in the thread that they can’t even use their devices while connected or docked.
I checked my sent email and note that as a Community Forum Moderator that I brought it to the attention of Microsoft on March 3, 2016. And a couple of times thereafter. I saw the trending that early.
And as of Saturday, March 6, afflicted Microsoft customers have not had a single update on the situation since the initial “we think we can fix in software and are working on a fix”.
As a Community Moderator on the Microsoft Surface Forums, it’s pretty easy for me to pick up trending hot issues (unlike the paid Forum staff who do not triage or correlate). I regularly forward these on to a contact inside Microsoft. At the end of June, I saw an increasing number of reports about a sudden and dramatic decrease in Surface Pro 3 battery capacity. I’ve been forwarding these along every since, asking that Microsoft at minimum state that “we are investigating reports”, but no official MS rep has even posted that they are reading and investigating.
Sadly, once out of warranty, it costs $99 to even contact official support. And the scripted answer is “we will replace your device with a refurb for $450” (etc.). Many folks have gone this route.
I’ve been scraping the forum and doing my own analysis. The folks who know how to run a battery report (admin cmd prompt, then powercfg /batteryreport) have been posting screen shots or cut and paste text outputs. Based on the sampling, I see only SIMPLO batteries and no LGC batteries. This is disturbing.
I’ve been begging MS to respond to afflicted users. The silence is deafening.
Below is a sampling of what I am scraping from the Forum. If you have a Surface Pro3 and are seeing diminished capacity, PLEASE post in https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/surface/forum/surfpro3-surfhardware/surface-pro-3-battery-degradation/783f6a00-19ba-4dcf-a828-0ad87751e15a. Please include a screenshot/capture of the capacity history and the manufacturer of the battery.
If you are caught in the looping BSOD boot loop, the latest from Microsoft on fixes to try (in order) are posted at http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/surface/forum/surfpro3-surfusingwin10/repeated-bsod-after-firmware-update-surface-pro-3/529a1da2-3657-43f9-9af1-81c183650ce4?page=7&msgId=f76680cd-ee75-41a7-a1e4-38ffe3ac6b72
This fix has undergone several iterations. For convenience, here’s a capture of the latest version of instructions:
I had a bad experience with the September 29 firmware update for the Surface Pro 3 (bot not as bad as some). Unlike many other folks, my own wireless connectivity and speeds have been great with Windows 10, including using the .193 Marvell wireless driver. That was not the case for many, and a fix for some was to find the older .151 driver on the net and roll back to that. Or to use an external 802.11ac USB adapter (as I mentioned in a previous post).
The 9/29 firmware was unexpected as there had been one on 9/15. I installed it and rebooted and the wireless was MIA. I rebooted a second time and had connectivity, but it was intermittent, slow, and unreliable. Fortunately, I had the older zip files and drivers and was able to re-install the .193 driver and regain my great connectivity.
But this was not the case for others. Reports started appearing on the Surface Answers Forum and customers were reporting loss of wireless, BSOD loops and failed firmware updates in Windows Update history.
I sent emails to Microsoft on the issues and was forwarding threads for several days.
The update was pulled on Friday I believe (Edit 10/5/2015: I’m told it was pulled on 10/1, but if the computer has already pulled it down from WU, it can install anytime up to 10 days later). Customers are reporting getting hosed again but the update was probably already on their system awaiting installation. A couple of bad files were posted for SP3/W10 – both a zip and MSI file – neither of which contain wireless or bluetooth drivers for the SP3. This means there are no drivers posted on Microsoft’s site officially for Surface Pro 3 owners running Windows 10. I’ve always thought (and asked) that Microsoft should post all the drivers and leave older drivers available for those that need them.
Word came down that doing a system restore should get people up again followed by running the MSI to get the firmware/drivers installed, and the Forum owner posted that after doing a system restore, running the MSI file would take care of the issues. This has not been the case for many. And even getting to System Restore has been a problem for some.
Microsoft posted two files for 9/29. I looked inside and there are NO drivers for wireless or bluetooth. As of right now, https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=38826 has two files you should not use:
Here’s the best fix (minus the step to run the MSI) to get out from under the BSOD groundhog day issue if you are still impacted AND can get to System Restore or if you are having issues after this firmware update:
“1.Boot Surface using USB recovery media. If you do not have recovery media you can download from here: http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en-us/support/warranty-service-and-recovery/downloadablerecoveryimage. Once you have recovery media proceed to next steps.
2.Press and hold the volume-down button while you press and release the power button. When the Surface logo appears release the volume-down button.
3.When prompted select the language and keyboard layout you want.
4.Select Troubleshoot, then Advanced Options, followed by selecting System Restore then select the target operating system.
5.Use a system restore point
prior to applying the System Firmware update.Edit 10/5/2015: Be sure to use a restore point 9/28/2015 or earlier.
6.After moving to an earlier restore point you should boot into Windows.“
If you can’t get to restore or don’t have a restore point, it is going to get ugly. I already see this on the Answers Forum. I don’t have a magic bullet and I don’t know if Microsoft is working over the weekend on this.