Microsoft tries yet again to fix Surface Pro 3 Wi-Fi problems

Initial reports about the Surface Pro 3's sixth firmware update in three months are promising, but users are still having Wi-Fi wake-up problems

Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 has had no end of problems, particularly with Wi-Fi and waking up while Wi-Fi is turned on. A new firmware update, System Firmware Update 9/9/2014, issued yesterday and rolling out now, seems to solve many of the lingering problems. But there are still reports of Wi-Fi not waking up, especially when Hyper-V is enabled.

As I reported three weeks ago, the Surface Pro 3 had five firmware upgrades in two months:

  • The first patch appeared on June 13, the day the Surface Pro 3 officially shipped with all sorts of problems with dropped Wi-Fi.
  • July 8 brought both a second firmware update and a warning from Microsoft that yet another update would be coming on July 16. It didn't solve many of the Surface Pro 3's problems.
  • July 16, true to its word, Microsoft rolled out a third firmware update. The patch didn't fix the overheating and random lockup problems reported earlier, and it induced new Wi-Fi problems for systems that previously had none.
  • An Aug. 12 firmware update addressed problems with the Power Cover and LifeCam. As far as I can tell, it solved few if any of the other outstanding problems.
  • The fifth firmware update, on Aug. 19, added completely incongruous features -- displaying the BIOS password state and asset tag information -- and didn't even seem intended to fix the ongoing problems. In spite of the lack of documentation, many people say this patch improved the Wi-Fi problem for them.

The sixth firmware update, dated Sept. 9, is aimed squarely at problems that have dogged the tablet from the start. Microsoft's release notes state that it fixes the UEFI, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth driver, and it patches the Integration driver -- all of which are intended to fix the Wi-Fi problems. There's also an Embedded Controller firmware patch to fix the thermostat icon on boot (which may be the root cause of the overheating complaints) and a System Aggregator update that should (again) improve interaction with the cover.

Initial reports on the long-running Microsoft Answers thread on the topic carry some reason to hope. Several Surface Pro 3 owners say the problem appears to be solved -- although skepticism runs deep. On the other hand, poster Vidal.Dz says:

Still having issues while waking up from sleeping. Please contact me if you need more info.

-Win 8.1 update 1 with ALL (optional and recommended) updates applied.

-Surface pro 3 256 i5 8gb in RAM.

-Hyper V enabled.

SUWAndreas confirms that claim. On one of the (many) shorter Answers Forum threads, RickBurkett states:

just applied the 9-9 updates and firmware. no difference in Wi-Fi behavior.

by no difference i mean that sometimes i have to click a link several times before the site will come up. At first i click the link, say to using internet explorer and nothing happens. then i click it again and after a few seconds i get This page can't be displayed, finally i click it again and it came up.

On another (relatively) short thread, Michael McGaha says:

I have installed the firmware update (and all of the other updates) and am still having the same problem. I can be connected, close the surface and let it go to sleep, wait a few minutes, open the surface back up and hit the power button. when it comes up to the login, I log in and there is no internet connection, even though it still shows that I'm connected to the Wi-Fi. After a minute or so I get the warning symbol showing limited connection. I can select the connection and disconnect, then reconnect and it comes right back, but it'll sit there for 10 minutes (the longest I waited for it) and never make a good connection to the Wi-Fi.

Perhaps the seventh time's a charm?

This story, "Microsoft tries yet again to fix Surface Pro 3 Wi-Fi problems," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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