When I reviewed the Surface Book, there were a lot of bugs with the software. Some of them have been pretty minor, and Microsoft has been updating the firmware and drivers on it since before it was launched. Most of the issues have been sorted out, but there was still one issue which seemed to be elusive to the teams at Intel and Microsoft. The Surface Book would not always sleep, or, I should say, when it went to sleep it would actually use much more energy than when it was being used. Often times I would close the lid on the Surface Book and after a minute or two I’d hear the fans kick in, and the device would get very hot to the touch. This was an even bigger issue if you closed it and put it in a bag, since the bag would just trap all that heat.

This bug was so severe that I could not recommend the Surface Book at the time of the review. Apparently this bug can also strike the Surface Pro 4, but the two review units that I had never suffered from the same sleep bug issue as the Surface Book.

Today there is good news, or at least the chance of good news. Microsoft has released a firmware update which directly tackles the sleep issue. Normally firmware updates get released with little fanfare, but head of Microsoft’s hardware division, Panos Panay, has written a blog post letting everyone know that there is a firmware update. It’s not too often that the head of a division steps up and writes release notes, so clearly he felt that this issue was a big enough one to make a statement, and to be clear it is that big of an issue.

Whether or not this fixes the issue will remain to be seen, but I’m updating the Surface Book at the moment and will report back in time, but hopefully this solves it. As I said in the review, the Surface Book is solid hardware that was let down by software, and assuming this update does fix the major issue with the latest Surface models, it will be much easier to recommend it to others.

Here is everything listed in the release notes for today’s update:

  • System Hardware Update – 2/17/2016
  • Microsoft driver update for Surface UEFI
  • Microsoft driver update for Surface Management Engine
  • Microsoft driver update for Surface System Aggregator Firmware

 

  • Surface Management Engine update (v11.0.0.1202) improves system stability.
  • Surface System Aggregator Firmware update (v88.1081.257.0) improves accuracy of battery status and battery life during sleep.
  • Surface UEFI update (v104.1085.768.0) improves battery life and improves stability during power state transition changes into and out of sleep states.
  • Intel® Precise Touch Device driver update (v1.1.0.226) improves stability during power state transition changes into and out of sleep states.
  • Intel® HD Graphics 520 driver update (v20.19.15.4364) improves display stability, system stability and battery life.
  • Intel® Display Audio driver update (v8.20.0.745) supports compatibility with the updated graphics driver.
  • Realtek High Definition Audio(SST) driver update (v6.0.1.7734) improves system stability.
  • Intel® Smart Sound Technology (Intel® SST) Audio Controller driver update (v8.20.0.877) improves system stability.
  • Intel® Smart Sound Technology (Intel® SST) OED driver update (v8.20.0.877) improves system stability.
  • Intel® Management Engine Interface driver update (v11.0.0.1176) improves system stability.
  • Intel® Serial IO GPIO Host Controller driver update (v30.63.1603.5) improves auto rotation reliability when tablet mode is turned off.
  • Intel® Serial IO I2C Host Controller driver update (v30.63.1603.5) improves auto rotation reliability when tablet mode is turned off.
  • Surface Book Base Firmware driver update (v1.2.0.0) improves battery life during sleep.

If anyone owns the Surface Book or Surface Pro 4, I would highly recommend installing this. According to Microsoft the update is being rolled out right now, so if you don't see it in your region just check back soon.

Source: Microsoft Devices Blog

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  • Wolfpup - Thursday, February 18, 2016 - link

    Windows is great, 10 overall is my favorite OS ever, and both Windows and the Surface Pro 4 are most certainty "cutting edge". Do we seriously have to have this fanboy hate on here of all places? Reply
  • ikjadoon - Thursday, February 18, 2016 - link

    The "new silicon" and "computer science problem" uniquely affected them, one of the few entrants into the premium laptop market. Huh, weird, all the other Skylake + Win10 laptops slept like babies. Seems like Microsoft didn't get the benefits of vertical integration much. Reply
  • BurntMyBacon - Thursday, February 18, 2016 - link

    ikjadoon: "The "new silicon" and "computer science problem" uniquely affected them ..."

    I don't think it was inherently a Skylake issue. As far as I can gather, it seems like it has more to do with the UEFI programming and, in the case of the Surface Book, the hybrid related software (release button, mode change, etc.). Probably less to do with the former than the later seeing as the Surface Book problems are fairly widely known, but the author didn't seem to know about any potential issue with the Surface Pro 4. Their hybrid solution is unique and I will give them a little slack there, but the UEFI programming shouldn't differ substantially from other players and speaks to Microsoft's relative inexperience in the field compared to the big players.

    ikjadoon: "Seems like Microsoft didn't get the benefits of vertical integration much."

    Meh. Extensive past experience with a broad range of diverse devices trumps vertical integration. Apple has both. Google taps industry players for the experience and works closely with them to get as much of the vertical integration benefits as practical. Microsoft has vertical integration, but it will take time to gain the experience in hardware and its associated firmware/drivers.
    Reply
  • fallaha56 - Thursday, February 18, 2016 - link

    er no

    i've owned this device for 2 months

    it's been hell with MS promising me fix after fix

    just enough to stop me sending it back
    Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Thursday, February 18, 2016 - link

    ??? We have three here... Two Core M, one i5 and I sold my i7 as I didn't need it and instead moved to the Core M. I shut it down, don't use hibernation or any of that stuff and, frankly, we've been pleased with the device. No idea where 'hell' comes from. Reply
  • lilmoe - Thursday, February 18, 2016 - link

    It comes from the land of hyperbole.
    Some people will take any opportunity to spread FUD.
    Reply
  • fallaha56 - Thursday, February 18, 2016 - link

    er how rude, get real -who's more likely to be a marketing droid -the guy struggling with well documented problems or the one come on here to say 'nope, no problems!'

    as to 'shutting down' lol i bought a $2000 tablet device not a DTR, i expect sleep to work
    Reply
  • lilmoe - Thursday, February 18, 2016 - link

    No one said there weren't any "problems". What ticks me off with people like you is the drama they're trying to sell out of a rather smallish problem, one that Microsoft itself has little to do with.

    What matters now is that the issues are allegedly being addressed. So if you have nothing to contribute towards the truth behind those claims (which poses the question if you really own one), then please sit on the side and wait for future articles analyzing those "fixes", or real users posting feedback.
    Reply
  • BurntMyBacon - Thursday, February 18, 2016 - link

    @lilmoe: "What ticks me off with people like you is the drama they're trying to sell out of a rather smallish problem, one that Microsoft itself has little to do with."

    Point of interest, this problem isn't smallish. It doesn't affect everyone and there is a workaround (that may not be agreeable to all), but when Panos Panay decides to handle this personally, it isn't small.

    Also, it may not be entirely Microsoft's fault, but Microsoft produces the device and the end user isn't likely care if it is the fault of Microsoft, Intel, Realtek, nVidia, or 3DFX. The expectation is on Microsoft as the developer of the device purchased to fix it. Credit is due if this patch does in fact fix the problem. Note: Purposeful use of companies who couldn't possibly be at fault was purposeful.
    Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Thursday, February 18, 2016 - link

    I didn't state that there were no problems. We still,on occasions, have the display driver crash. I'm trying to stop people stating, "It's been hell" which it, in all honesty, hasn't. Reply

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