back to article Microsoft blames dying Surface Pro 3 batteries on software bug

Microsoft has admitted that the battery problems hitting some Surface Pro 3 owners aren't down to hardware failure, but rather a software issue. Redmond's support forums have been inundated with complaints about the high-end fondleslab's battery life. The problem only appears to affect hardware that uses batteries from third- …

  1. Tom 7

    And the update is


    1. J. Cook Silver badge

      Re: And the update is


      At least it's not a Surface Pro 4. 8.1 is officially 'not supported' on that device, although there are people who have done it.

    2. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: And the update is

      *And the bug is W10.

      Fixed it for you.

  2. Kevin Johnston


    "shrinking from 39,873MWh to 8,770MWh"

    Either that is a typo or that is more power than I would want sat on my lap even once it had dropped to a mere 8.7GWh

    1. eswan

      Re: Wow

      "shrinking from 39,873MWh to 8,770MWh"

      Did they forget to top up the Mr. Fusion?

      1. Commswonk

        Re: Wow

        As long as it's not a battery problem Elon Musk might welcome a call from them. Could revolutionise his plans...

        1. YARR

          They don't call it the Gigafactory for nothing you know. These new GWh batteries will keep the Duracell bunny running long after nuclear fusion in the Sun shuts down.

    2. JeffyPoooh

      Re: Wow


      Yep. 39,873 Megawatt-hours is worth approximately $6M dollars. Imagine paying $6M to recharge your tablet.

      Some future Solar Impulse 3 would be able circumnavigate the Earth endlessly, for years on end, powered by the battery out of a Surface 3.

      How can people get through life without knowing that M = mega and m = milli?

    3. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Wow

      Oops - yup, an editing error changed m to M. It's been fixed. Don't forget to email so we can sort out problems immediately rather than when we get round to reading article comments.


      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Wow

        But that wouldn't be as amusing as thinking about the ramifications of GWh battery packs!

        Not a very portable tablet - a 40GWh LiPo battery would weigh around 240kT...

        1. Gideon 1

          Re: Wow

          You'd get some spectacular battery fires

    4. Sgt_Oddball

      Re: Wow

      Maybe we can finally get power supplies for a Phased plasma rifle in the 40-watt range if they've got such a capacity available....

      (though I don't think it will end well, least not for humanity)...

      1. Chloe Cresswell Silver badge

        Re: Wow

        Or a battery powered delorean?

  3. edge_e

    What I want to know is

    Was the battery capacity monitor written by the same guy who did the file copy dialogue?

    1. Thought About IT

      Re: What I want to know is

      Probably the same guy who "fixed" the problem with the Surface 4, whereby closing the lid resulted in random shutdowns and resultant loss of work, by treating it as a hibernate, rather than sleep request, regardless of how that option is configured. You'd think they'd be able to get in house hardware working with in house software!

  4. djstardust

    Surface Pro

    Had a look at one today. Nothing special at all and the prices are horrific .... and that's before you add £110 for a plastic keyboard.

    They really are having a laugh with this!

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Surface Pro

      At one point I thought the idea of a tablet that's also a fully featured x86 Windows device might be a great tablet, given that it can perform double duty as a tablet and a PC. The more the Surface saga goes on, the more I suspect that I was wrong.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        Re: Surface Pro

        I was lucky to pick up one with a 'demo licence'.

        Really nice piece of kit, just glad I only paid £500 rather that £1500+

      2. Down not across

        Re: Surface Pro

        At one point I thought the idea of a tablet that's also a fully featured x86 Windows device might be a great tablet, given that it can perform double duty as a tablet and a PC. The more the Surface saga goes on, the more I suspect that I was wrong.

        The concept is not necessarily utterly flawed. Microsoft's implmentation does, however, leave lot to be desired. For less money (depending on configuration) one could get for example HP Spectre X2 which actually quite nice.

        1. Fuzz

          HP Spectre X2

          For me the X2 has one big issue. It has a single USB-C connector which is used for charging, video output and USB 3.1. Thing is the charging part is non-standard this means that you can only charge the device using the HP charger. If you want HDMI output you can't do that and charge at the same time unless you buy the HP dock which is £200. If you try and use a standard USB-C to HDMI/USB-A/USB-C adaptor it stops working as soon as you connect the charger.

    2. Gerard 1

      Re: Surface Pro

      Surface 3 Pro and now Surface 4 Pro user here; best device I've ever used. Power of a laptop with the form factor of an iPad. Bloody love it.

      1. Mr_Pitiful

        Re: Surface Pro

        I've got a Surface Pro 3 & 4 as well, fantastic piece of kit

        It'll run everything my desktop will and connects well to a cast enabled TV or monitor

        No battery problems with mine

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Sleep of Death

    I don't believe they've fixed the sleep bug yet, so I wouldn't hold my breath for MS to fix this one...

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Sleep of Death

      It only seems to affect the factory install. I reinstalled Windows 10 from scratch and not had the problem since.

      Still shouldn't happen, but I can't see why MS haven't fixed the default image.

  6. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

    battery firmware?

    If this problem is linked to one specific battery vendor, then it could be a misunderstanding between ACPI power management and battery firmware. Like this one:

    It is also possible that bugs lurk on the ACPI side of things. Time will tell.

  7. Howard Hanek

    Buy a SurfacePro and Save the Planet....or something

    One of the more expensive components of our growing urban landfills........

  8. Hotears

    30GWh in 5 months lets us do some calculations. 5 months is 3600 hours, so the average power is 8.3 MW. The surface area of both sides summed is approx. 0.12 m^2, so temperature rise with the device vertical in still air with convection currents will be ~0.5K/W. So this thing will idle at ~4.7 megaKelvin. Display brightness will not be a problem.

    1. NotBob

      That's why it's been so hot around here. Someone's bought one.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    I have a suggestion for you Microsoft…

    Turning off the telemetry might help improve battery life… then the computer's radio transceiver won't be transmitting so often.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I have a suggestion for you Microsoft…

      I have a different suggestion: why not stop trying to imitate Apple and stay the f*ck away from hardware?

      That way Microsoft can still use the customer's hardware as an excuse for things not working - they have something like 3 decades worth of expertise in that. Trying to do an Apple means making it very, very clear that it has never been the hardware but the quality of their software: even when they control both they can't make it work...

  10. Talic

    I've seen at least 2 SP3's with Simplo batteries with this fault.

    they went from ~38w/h to ~2w/h in a matter of weeks.

    Windows 10 didn't make any difference.[yet]

  11. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    What do you expect from microsoft?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What do you expect from microsoft?

      [x] Failure

      [x] Excuses

      [x] Overpriced rubbish

      [x] Ruined usability

      [ ] Selling an upgrade as a fix

      [ ] Blaming someone or something else (usually the customer)

      The last one is a digression from their normal behaviour, so I suspect someone has worked out they can't keep this one quiet.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What do you expect from microsoft?

        Maybe they are 'doing an iPhone' and holding it wrong?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe its the ever increasing amount of cough telemetry they are trying to upload, its a big battery drain, maybe you could fix it by installing linux, its fixed all my windows issue so far.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like