Microsoft's Surface Book, Pro 4: New firmware updates bring more battery, sleep fixes

Microsoft has released its June firmware updates for the Surface Book, Surface Pro 4, and Pro 3 devices.

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The latest firmware updates for the Surface Book and Surface Pro again target enhancements for the battery in sleep mode.

Image: Microsoft


Microsoft continues to wrestle with persistent battery issues affecting its flagship Surface Book, Pro 4, and Pro 3 devices.

Microsoft appears to have addressed the most troubling power-management issues that have lingered since the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 went on sale last year, but new firmware dates for the two flagships suggest it's still eking out more improvements for these features.

In December Microsoft apologized for the "less-than-perfect" experience owners had had so far. The problems were down to a number of bugs, but perhaps one of the most consistently complained about issues was battery drain in sleep mode, supposedly caused by power-management issues linked to Intel's Sky Lake processors.

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In February, Microsoft's head of Surface hardware assured owners it had fixed the devices' power-management issues. Since then it also has delivered several firmware updates that address issues affecting battery performance related to sleep mode.

The latest firmware updates for the Surface Book and Surface Pro arrived this week, and similarly target enhancements for the battery in sleep mode. It carries two driver updates for the Surface Pro 4 and three driver updates for the Surface Book.

A new driver for Surface UEFI in both devices "improves system stability when the device resumes operation from sleep or hibernation, and optimizes battery use in connected standby," Microsoft notes.

The Surface Book is also getting an updated driver for the Surface Firmware Update, which "reduces the occurrence of unexpected shutdowns while the device is sleeping".

An updated Surface Integration Driver for the Surface Book and the Surface Pro 4 also "resolves issues where the touchscreen remains active when the clipboard is closed against the keyboard".

Although it is coming up to a year since Microsoft released the Surface Book and Pro 4, it's not known when or if indeed it will announce successors this year.

ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley recently noted that given the difficulties Microsoft had with Intel's then-new Sky Lake processors, it's unlikely to be in a rush this time around. Also, Intel's new Kaby Lake processors aren't expected to go into mass production until late 2016.

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