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Surface Pro 3 SIMPLO Battery Issue?

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 http://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.

 

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Add a Fingerprint Reader to Surface 3

You read the title correctly. I’ve added a fingerprint reader to my Surface 3. (And you can do this with any Windows 10 device that has a USB port). Windows Hello is a wonderful feature that provides an extra level of protection from prying eyes while traveling. While I’m not necessarily paranoid, I don’t want strangers seeing my password or PIN while I’m lunching and computing. I feel more secure.

While you can purchase a typecover for the Surface Pro 4 (that also works with Surface Pro 3, but this combo has some power management issues), there is no similar option to purchase a typecover with a fingerprint reader for a Surface 3.

Luckily, there’s a way to do this (if you don’t mind using the single USB port on the Surface 3 and tying it up at least while you log in; you can remove and attach this peripheral while Windows is running so for me it is no big deal).

Amazon sells this super tiny add-on fingerprint reader from “Eikon” at a good price. It’s made by Authentech, who made many of the built in fingerprint readers for nearly all the big computer vendors (they were purchased by Apple in 2012).

authentech

I attached this device to my Surface 3 (green arrow below) and Windows immediately recognized this device and installed what it needed (red arrow) in a few seconds.

attached to S3

I’m currently using Windows 10 Insider Build 14388, but this device will also set up in a similar manner on Windows 10 10586.xxx.

1. Go to Sign in options in Settings.

2. If you don’t already have a PIN, set one up as this is required to use a fingerprint reader.

3. Windows Hello will change the Require sign-in to Every Time as part of the setup and you will see this when setup is completed.

 

setup1

4. Next, you will need to “enroll” or setup at least one fingerprint; select Get started to launch the wizard.

setup2

5. Confirm your PIN when prompted.

setup3

6. Follow the prompts to swipe a finger and setup the first fingerprint (and add additional fingers if you wish to do so).

setup4

When complete, you’ll be able to log in using Windows Hello.

hello

This is a neat little device and it installs and sets up seamlessly and flawlessly. I recommend it highly.

If you have any questions on this, you can contact me on Twitter @barbbowman or in the Microsoft Surface and Windows/Windows Insider Forums.

Fix for Microsoft Bad Update that disrupts WiFi, Cellular, BT for Surface 3 LTE

 

I was a victim of (yet another) bad Microsoft Windows Update for Surface that wreaked havoc with wireless connectivity, cellular, and bluetooth. In addition to the inappropriate Surface Pen driver forced on unsuspecting SP3 users. Surface 3 LTE users also received a nasty surprise.

Symptoms were coming back from hibernate, etc. I’d lose connectivity, WiFi would disappear, cellular would disappear, Bluetooth would disappear. Device manager would cycle through some weird messages when I checked the properties of the  modem adapter and the wifi adapter, ending with Code 38. Bluetooth would be missing. Here’s what the cellular modem driver looked like in Device Manager.

code38.1

EDIT: Microsoft has posted a KB and link to request a hotfix https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3138639. The hotfix leads to a requestable fix that is incorrectly labeled as for Surface PRO 3 and not Surface 3 LTE. You’ll get a MSI that you can run to re-install the correct driver.

 

wrong sku

 

If you want to fix it manually, steps are below. It’s what I did and it works.

 

1. Download the driver ZIP file for your device:

 

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=49039   Surface 3 LTE ATT
Surface3_4GLTE-ATT_Win10_151109_0.zip

 

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=49037  Surface 3 LTE North America Carrier Unlocked Surface3_4GLTE-NorthAmericaUnlocked_Win10_151109_0.zip

 

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=49041  Surface 3 LTE Outside of North America and Y!mobile Japan
Surface3_4GLTE-RestOfTheWorld_Win10_151120_0.zip

 

2. Extract the Zip file and make a note of where it is exactly.

3. Open device manager and find System Devices and expand the tree. Scroll down through lots of entries and find Surface CoSAR.

devman coSAR

4. Right Click/press and hold Surface CoSAR to display the Properties window and select Driver, Update Driver.

 

5. You need to use the force install, Browse your computer, Have disk process. Select Have Disk and then Next.

right click manual

 

6.  Now you need to navigate to where you extracted the Zip file. You’ll find the needed driver in the \Drivers\MOBB\SurfaceCoSarDriver folder – see screen shot below. (SurfaceCoSARDriver.inf). This is the driver you need to install.

expanded tree

7. After successful install, restart your Surface 3 LTE.

I received this information on the cause being the CoSAR driver from Microsoft Engineering last night. So far, after implementing this fix, things are back to normal. Note, I also rolled back the Marvell wifi driver from .59 to .47 because .47 performs better for me.

If you use my process above, please let me know on Twitter @barbbowman if this resolves your issue.

How to get online With Verizon with an unlocked Surface 3 LTE

This post provides the steps to activate an unlocked Surface 3 LTE for consumer/retail/soho customers who have Verizon as a carrier who are not eligible for a business package from Verizon. The unlocked Surface LTE is only available to business customers with a 5 line minimum commitment and two year contract. https://ecomm.verizonwireless.com/commerce/servlet/en/verizon/devices/devices-tablet/microsoft-surface-3. This article shows you how to activate a single unlocked Surface 3 LTE.

Ever since I first heard about the Surface 3 with LTE, I was chomping at the bit to replace my Nokia Lumia 2520 with a better Windows tablet that included cellular capabilities. When I heard that the first devices would be AT&T only, and then T-Mobile I was disappointed. Then I heard about an unlocked version. When that unlocked SKU became available in mid September, I asked about Verizon. I couldn’t get an authoritative answer, but was told that a VZW specific model was coming. So I waited.

On November 12, I saw an announcement that Verizon was finally selling a VZW Surface 3 SKU. http://www.verizonwireless.com/news/article/2015/11/microsoft-surface-3-with-verizon-4g-lte-now-available-for-business-professionals.html. I tried to order online, but found that it was business customers only. Five lines, five devices. I called and was told the same thing. As a consumer, no chance. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper.

I decided LTE was LTE and that just had to be a way to get an unlocked Surface 3 LTE working on the VZW network. And I followed my instincts. Here are the steps. Don’t skip any.

1. Go to a Verizon company owned Store (not an agent)

2. They’ll need to add an unauthorized device to your account/plan (or swap out one that is already there).

3. They need to make a NANO SIM.

4. They need to place this NANO SIM in their demo iPad and activate it.

5. They need to turn WiFi OFF on the demo iPad and wait for the SIM to activate on the network and verify by successfully browsing the web.   Making the connection to the Internet with the activated SIM is a critical step. Don’t let the VZW tech tell you this is not needed.

6. Completely turn off your Surface 3.

7. Put the NANO SIM in the Sim tray and slide into your Surface 3.

8. Turn on the Surface 3.

 

On the Surface 3.

1. Open Settings, Network and Internet and turn Cellular ON if it is off. You should turn Wi-Fi off temporarily to test your LTE connection

 

airplane mode

2. You may need to wait a few minutes, but as long as you or the VZW tech followed the first 5 steps above, you should get connected to Verizon’s LTE network. You’ll see an icon in the task tray indicating signal strength and should be able to visually confirm your connection in the Action Center.

 

LTE1

Network and Internet, Cellular will show Connected as well.

LTE2

Trouble Shooting

If the above doesn’t work (it really should), a few things you can check:

1. If Network and Internet, Cellular does NOT show Verizon Wireless (LTE), turn on Wi-Fi.

cellular1

2. Tap the signal strength icon. This should let you access the info online about the SIM and the device. I’ve removed so PII from the screenshot below, but the important pieces are there. Under Network Mode, insure that it shows LTE and APN is set to vzwinternet. If it isn’t, get Verizon to make a new NANO SIM. A partially activated SIM might show GSM as the Network Mode.

 

 

connection manager

3. If you tap the Network Settings box above, on a successfully activated and working connection, the Network Type may show as Global. This is OK.

 

apn

 

Verizon employees don’t have much experience with this and you can print this article out so they have a reference. Don’t let them tell you they have to send your device IMEI and other info in to a special team to be added to a database of devices. It isn’t needed and won’t help.

I hope this is helpful. If you’ve used this to get an unlocked Surface 3 online, let me know on Twitter @barbbowman. Enjoy

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