Microsoft pulls faulty Surface Pro 2 firmware update

Microsoft pulls faulty Surface Pro 2 firmware update

Summary: Microsoft has pulled its Surface Pro 2 firmware update that it delivered on December 10 due to reported problems with excessive battery drain.


Following reports by Surface Pro 2 customers of excessively fast battery drain after applying last week's firmware updates, Microsoft has pulled the update.


"To ensure the best experience for our customers during the holiday season we have taken steps to remove the update for Surface Pro 2 that was previously published through Windows Update on December 10th, 2013. We are working to release an alternative update package after the holidays," confirmed a Microsoft spokesperson.

Microsoft isn't offering users any kind of workaround or additional advice -- at least not at this point. reported word of the troublesome firmware update for Microsoft's second-generation Intel-based Surface on December 18. Some users also have been reporting that they were unable to install the update that seemingly was at fault, though that may have been due to a false error message, WinBeta noted.

The problematic update is one of several that Microsoft delivered on December 10, its most recent Patch Tuesday, across its range of Surface devices. The update for Surface Pro 2 included a patch that was designed to improve Surface Cover interaction including power-saving sleep functionality.

Instead, some users who've applied that update have found the opposite to be true. Their new Surface Pro 2 devices are losing battery power extremely rapidly, rather than hibernating properly. There are a number of reports about the problem on the Microsoft Answers forum.

As I noted last week, I've heard from some Surface Pro users that they've been having problems with spontaneous reboots after upgrading to Windows 8.1. There are a couple of threads on Microsoft's Answers site about this. This seems to be a separate issue that predating the December firmware updates and were focused on the first-generation Surface Pro. I still have not received any information about what Microsoft is advising users with this issue, but will keep asking.

I've also seen some users reporting that their ARM-based Surface RT and Surface 2 devices have been sporadically requesting their the Bitlocker Recovery key at boot after they applied recent firmware updates. I also haven't seen any acknowledgement by Microsoft of this issue or suggestions as to what users should do to attempt to circumvent it. I've got a question in to Microsoft on this one, as well. Some of my Microsoft sources have said there is a fix in the works for this one, but no word as to when it will be pushed out.

In the meantime, in case you haven't seen TechRadar's recent list of 15 fixes for Windows 8.1 "annoyances," it might be worth a look. The first fix is for those who've had problems with SkyDrive syncing since Microsoft integrated SkyDrive into Windows 8.1 -- something I've heard a number of folks have mentioned as having run into with their Surfaces and other Windows 8.1 PCs and devices.

Topics: Microsoft Surface, Microsoft, Tablets, ARM, PCs, Business Intelligence


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Wondering...

    Since all Surface Pro 2 variants share the exact same hardware, how could this go through basic QA? Has it been rushed?
    We're not talking about an obscure symptom here. Wondering.
    • So...

      are you saying, "If you want to act like Apple, be like Apple," or are you saying, "If you want to act like Apple, be like Apple?" Inquiring minds want to know.
      Info Dave
      • Oh no! It's a disaster!

        The Surface is failing, but Microsoft refuses to acknowledge it.

        We've seen this sort of thing before. Microsoft releases buggy software. Then they release a 'fix' that actually introduces new problems and makes it even worse.

        Imagine someone who got a Surface for Christmas. This is what they get...

        "false error messages"

        "losing battery power extremely rapidly"

        "spontaneous reboots"

        "Skydrive syncing" problems

        "sporadically requesting their the Bitlocker Recovery key at boot"

        Oh dear.
        • I own a Surface.

          I have absolutely none of those issues, both pre-patched, and post-patched.

          But go ahead, spread your FUD, it's nice to hear that you take pleasure in posting comments about a product you've probably never used.
          • Tell MS to restore the firmware update, then.

            Since *you* are not experiencing any of the problems listed in the article then we *must* therefore assume that all reports of problems with the firmware update are lies. The firmware update itself was probably unnecessary in the first place too...

            Either that, or your particular annecdote is not statistically significant.
          • So it's only bad

            For Non-Microsoft entities? You seem to think Microsoft is perfect. I could see it, if it was bogus. You know like "antenna-gate", or "Location-gate". Those were molehills made into Mountains, by the press. I say this because one was not replicated by anyone I know, and several of us tried. Short of wrapping the phone in tin foil, we couldn't get it to fail. Granted I only tried 6 different phones. Location-gate was promoted by Microsoft to distract people, from bing tracking. When you could enter the phones WiFi address, on bing maps, and track the phone (in real time), that is more of a pressing issue. One you had to have the phone, download software, and the get where the phone was. The other you could track it from info, on the back of the box. Which is worse?
            I hate trolls also
        • Why do you bring Apple into this all the time?

          Oh dear, with that list I swore you were talking about Apple seeing that list was a list of their issues to date.

          My bad. :(
          • Oh dear, what a tool you are...

            We all know you are one of the biggest MS apologists on this site but really....

            That list is hardly a list of Apple related problems

            1: false error messages - I use a Mac and Windows side by side on my desk - don't think I ever saw a Mac error message - either genuine or false. Windows on the other hand.....

            2: losing battery power extremely rapidly - until today today I never heard of either Mac or Windows devices doing this - clearly this is MS leading the way again.

            3: spontaneous reboots - cant say I ever noticed this on a Mac, or even the need to reboot very often at all - Windows Pc's however seem to need a reboot nearly every time there's updates installed.

            4 and 5 are both Windows specific applications\services that you wouldn't find on a Mac anyway!

            Do you actually know anything about IT at all???
            The Central Scrutinizer
          • Maybe you should read more often?

            Apple encountered of few of the issues mentioned, including battery drain (search on it).

            I could have crafted an Apple specific list (but that would have taken some time), and it was really just a "hey Vbitrate, iPad has it's problems with updates, too" response, so yeah I know the last two, but really didn't care to go into everything to any level (he's not worth that much effort),

            And yes, I know FAR more about IT then the ABMer's like Vbitrate and most others do, since my job requires I keep up on what happens with all these vendors, not just 1 or 2

            Seems these ABMer's skip over any Apple related bug/problem report while trolling for any on Microsoft, so their lack of knowledge isn't my fault.
          • Why the pointless gainsaying?

            How do you feel about this particular Microsoft issue? Because the fact is, whatever issues Apple may have are not relevant to the article, and it seems like your attempt to bring them up here serves little purpose except to deflect from Microsoft's issues.

            The worst part of this is that you're not even defending them here; you're just attacking their competitors and acting like that's a defense. If that's the only way you can defend Microsoft, you should probably strongly reconsider whether they're worth defending.
            Third of Five
        • Good thing you upvoted yourself so many times

          it not like anyone else would want to.
          • I suspect that all the folks..

            who are suffering from these problems with Surface firmware updates might disagree with your opinion on that....
            The Central Scrutinizer
          • I suspect that all the folks..

            who are tried and true Anything But Microsofters are somehow gaming the voting as its hard to believe 50 different people up-voted them in the course of 2 minutes.

            This tells me that if they need to vote themselves up, that they can't let their statements and accusations stand on their own merits.
          • People are gaming all the votes and flags

            At least two people seem to have been having a little war here today...
          • Honestly Bill.....

            You seem far to DESPERATE to spread blame and displeasure.
            I own and enjoy 2 dedicated Windows 7 MediaCenter Theater pcs and 1 hex core 16 gb Windows 7 gaming monster, as well as MacBook Pro and 2 Mac Minis.
            It's pretty reasonable for me to say that were I to format and reload the operating systems on 1 of the PCs and 1 of the Macs and allow both to install updates and automatically restart (doing nothing else) on their own that the PC would ultimately fail to restart correctly with some error before the Mac.
    • schedule automatic updates for Mondays

      Then you can let someone else Guinea pig for you.
    • Suprised is the proper word.

      As in I'm "surprised" it took this long for Microsoft to botch up the Surface firmware even worse than it was on release.
  • Such a long list of problems that

    I am left to wonder if there is any part of Surface that actually works :-(
    • re:

      Spoken like an ABMer who has never even seen a Surface. I've had a Surface Pro 128 GB since they first came out and never had problem one. It's a perfect device for the state of hardware technology when it was introduced. The Surface Pro 2 is a little better in keeping with the state of more recent hardware developments.
      Sir Name
      • And again, your personal experience is irrelevant

        It is rather absurd to try to pretend that the extensive list of problems does not exist simply because you might not have experienced a problem.