Surface Pro 3

Recovery from Windows 10 Surface Pro 3 Firmware Update

 

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:

 

badfirmware

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.

Windows 10 WiFi Issues with Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3

 

There are a large number of Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3 owners reporting severely slow wireless speeds, limited connectivity and other problems with the new Windows 10 Operating System. These issues are being widely reported on Microsoft’s Community forums, Reddit, and on third party sites. Examples:

 

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/surface/forum/surfpro3-surfusingwin10/surface-pro-3-slow-5-ghz-wifi/a86d1d08-fe47-45f6-841d-93c6efa2a752 

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/surface/forum/surf3-surfnetwork/wifi-slow-surface-3/9d537832-877e-4690-83c6-4239a00af15a

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/surface/forum/surf3-surfnetwork/surface-pro-3-with-netgear-nighthawk-dog-slow/a28b43e3-5990-4573-a81b-566736cc46bf

https://www.reddit.com/r/Surface/comments/3gbf3o/5ghz_packet_loss/

http://forums.windowscentral.com/microsoft-surface-pro-3/369901-updated-windows-10-driver-issues.html 

 

So far, there’s been no real comment from Microsoft on whether or not they understand the issues or any information on timing of a fix. For some reason, Microsoft will not post the older Marvell wireless driver Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller: 15.68.3073.151 which some folks report resolves the issue. The driver is available elsewhere on the web, and although it is not legal to redistribute Microsoft software, it’s out there on the web. Some (but not all) customers are reporting relief using the .151 driver. (They need to force install the old driver from device manager using the browse, have disk, let me pick option, and also disable driver updates..). I’ve personally asked that the old driver be posted on the official drivers page at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=38826 and have had only silence as a reply. Quite frankly don’t understand why Microsoft won’t post a driver that is known to help some customers with these issues. Most likely reason is that posting an older driver is admitting the existence of a problem. And it seems to be a marketing mantra to not acknowledge problems until a fix is available.

Given that it took Microsoft 9+ months to fix Wi-Fi driver problems on Windows 8.1, I’m not very optimistic. If you are severely impacted by slow/bad connectivity, you can throw a small amount of money at the problem and buy an external USB Wi-Fi adapter that should improve performance on at least the 5GHz band. I currently carry around one from Edimax which is less than $17 on Amazon. It works extremely well on Windows 10.

edimax

Should you need to spend money to fix something Microsoft broke? Absolutely not. But given the lack of engagement from Microsoft on this issue, it’s probably the only reliable option.

Trouble Shooting Miracast

Updated April 24, 2015

In general to mirror your display using Miracast, both the source and the display receiver should be Miracast certified. You can check devices at https://www.wi-fi.org/product-finder-results?capabilities=2&items=300 and also download a spreadsheet with all Miracast certifications. The first step in solving Miracast connectivity issues is verifying your devices are certified.

If your devices are certified, but Charms, Devices, Project does not offer “add a wireless display”, check for software that might disable Miracast functionality by hooking into the network stack.

Software or Policies that may prevent Miracast from Working:

 

1. VPN software (note that Netgear ReadyCloud software also adds a hidden VPN device and may be installed by the Genie installer).

Some third party VPN solutions identify WiFi Direct (the underlying technology for Miracast) as a “Split Tunnel” and deem it a risk to security so they disable the functionality.

Windows 8.1 has built in support for some third party VPN solutions, but not all. Currently supported are Checkpoint VPN, F5 VPN, Juniper Networks Junos Pulse, Microsoft, and SonicWALL Mobile Connect. You will need to uninstall third party VPN clients (and restart) and then configure. If your VPN solution is not supported, you will probably need to completely uninstall it and reboot to use Miracast successfully.

To setup a native VPN connection:
First, access Windows 8.1 native VPN connections: from the Start screen type VPN and search

vpn network

and then select Manage virtual private networks (VPN). You can then select one of the supported VPN solutions and complete the setup.

 

vpns supported

2. Some group policy settings or firewall settings if you are on a domain. This thread on TechNet may help you resolve this issue: https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/8a1060b2-2e79-49b4-bcca-76c15a639513/miracast-broke-after-connecting-to-domain?forum=w8itprogeneral

3. Third party anti virus and/or firewalls – recommend completely uninstalling these, restarting, and then checking to see if you can add a wireless display. If you are using a third party firewall like ESET Endpoint, you may be able to create a firewall rule (see http://blogs.msmvps.com/wnewquay/2015/04/24/surface-pro-3-wireless-display-adaptermiracast/ for information on ESET Endpoint).

4. Third party virtualization software like VirtualBox – either uninstall VirtualBox or uncheck the VirtualBox item in Wi-Fi Properties and reboot.

virtualbox

5. Netgear Genie installs a virtual adapter called NETGEAR Firewall Driver similar to the above VirtualBox Drive. Either uninstall the Netgear Genie software or uncheck the item in the properties box and reboot.

 

Stuttering

 

Bluestacks is known to cause audio and video stuttering on the Surface Pro 3. Uninstalling Bluestacks resolves the issue.

 

Microsoft branded Wireless Display Adapter fails to connect, everything else looks good.

 

If your Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter doesn’t negotiate a connection with your computer or tablet, the following may help. This process may work for other branded Miracast dongles as well.

1. Go to Control Panel and open Device Manager and expand devices

2. Uninstall the Microsoft Miracast Display Adapter

3. Unplug  the wireless display adapter from the power source and the monitor and then re-connect Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter to monitor and power it up with USB power source or USB AC adapter from another device.

4. Reset the MWDA

•Press and hold the Reset button for 10 seconds.
•When the button is released, you will see the LED light blink on the adapter and a message on the TV that indicates it is resetting. Wait until it indicates “Ready to connect”.

5. Restart your computer. Rediscover the MWDA – Slide in from the right side and selected Devices from Charms. Select project and then Add a Wireless Display. Connect to the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter.

Did MSFT Just Commit to Fixing Artist’s Complaints on Surface Pro 3?

 

There’s a long thread over in the Community forum: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/surface/forum/surfpro3-surfupdate/surface-3-wavy-diagonal-lines-when-inking/78c138e5-50db-4544-a988-6023a84b9675?page=11&tm=1428088290680#LastReply and it looks like (based on the answers we just got in the Reddit AMA held today by the Surface team, that there may be work that can be done. Timing unknown, and probably way off in the future.

 

sp3 pen

Specify 2.4 or 5 GHz WiFi bands on Surface Pro 3

 

On January 15, 2015, Microsoft released a package of drivers to Windows Update that includes an updated Marvell WiFi driver for the Surface Pro 3. If you are one of the folks that has been trying to resolve issues of connecting to 2.4GHz instead of 5 GHz on your dual band router, this new driver includes settings to fine tune your connectivity preferences.

First, verify that you have Driver Version 15.68.3073.151:

 

1. Type the words device manager on the Start Screen/search and then open device manager.

2. Expand Network adapters

3. Right Click or tap and hold the Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller and select Properties

4. Open the Driver tab and verify the version

 

marvell1

Specify the band:

By default, the Band is set to Auto in the Value field. Access the dropdown list and select 5GHz if you want to connect to only the 5GHz band. Note that the 5GHz band is the one that provides the 802.11ac speeds. You can also specify 2.4GHz only.

 

marvell2

Important: If you change locations and have specified a setting other than Auto, you should change the setting back to Auto to insure connectivity “on the road”. This is especially important when using public WiFi which normally uses the 2.4GHz band.

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