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Microsoft Issuing Patch for Surface Pro 3 Power Drain Problem

Microsoft is issuing a software patch for Surface Pro 3 devices with battery drain issues.

Surface Pro 3 users may have been affected by the problem for months. Users writing in a Microsoft community forum post had described experiencing an overall battery degradation effect, with some indicating that the problems started back in April. This week, Microsoft published a FAQ explaining that it is delivering a patch to all Surface Pro 3 devices, even ones that didn't experience the battery-drain problem.

The problem wasn't with the batteries as some thought. It was a problem with Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 Update 1. The battery capacity was underreported by those operating systems. Moreover, the misreporting by the OSes caused the batteries to stay undercharged and degrade.

Microsoft is issuing a system firmware update, dated Aug. 29, to fix Surface Pro 3 devices. The update is getting delivered through the Windows Update service and will fix "the logic in the firmware component." However, it takes a couple of boots before the system is able to start reporting battery use correctly. After the update is applied, the system will "self-correct over the next several charge and discharge cycles," Microsoft's FAQ explained.

Users can also manually install the update. The FAQ lists four steps to follow in that case. Microsoft warns not to use the Surface Docking Station when installing this update. Instead, users should just plug into the AC power adapter directly.

The new driver, once installed, should be should be version 38.10.90.0. It'll be listed under Surface Pro Embedded Controller Firmware properties.

Microsoft's FAQ is looking to compensate those Surface Pro 3 users who may have paid for out-of-warranty support for the battery issue. It plans to reach out to those users in about 30 days, the FAQ added.

Microsoft is claiming that "only a limited number of Surface Pro 3 devices" were affected by this misreported power flaw.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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