Having problems with your Microsoft Surface 4 Pro? We have 16 solutions

pc sales recovering led by detachable tablets surface pro 4 hero
Nothing frustrates like getting a shiny new Surface Pro 4 and finding out it doesn’t work. That’s why we’ve collected the most common complaints about Microsoft’s latest professional tablet and provided you with helpful steps to make your Pro 4 well again in short order. Scroll down to find the problems, or use the toolbar at the bottom of your browser to quickly jump through any potential problems you might have. Hopefully, the answer to your problem is below.

Problem: My Surface Pro 4 is really, really slow

Solution:

  • A number of different issues can cause your Surface Pro to slow to a crawl. We suggest that you start by looking through all your open desktop apps and closing down a few of them. If your speed immediately improves, you had too many programs running for your RAM to deal with — keep this in mind in the future.
  • We also suggest that you check your disk space to see if your storage is a little full. You can easily clear up a little disk space by searching for “disk cleanup” in your Search box, which will bring up the Disk Cleanup. Launch it, choose the types of files you don’t mind losing, and then run the tool to delete unnecessary files. Afterward, empty your Recycle Bin.

Problem: My touchscreen is refusing to respond

Solution:

  • If your touchscreen isn’t, well, responding to your touch, then you may have been locked out. First, try the basics like wiping down your touchscreen to clean off any oil. It sounds strange, sure, but you should also turn off surrounding electronic devices to see if they’re causing any unwanted interference.
  • If you can still use your keyboard, try restarting your Surface by pressing the Windows logo key (with a keyboard), then using the Tab key to select Power. Press Enter to enter the Power options, and use the arrow keys to select Restart.
  • If your entire computer is frozen, this is a different sort of problem. On your Pro, do a manual restart by going to the Start Menu and selecting Shut Down. If you cannot even do this, press the power button for around 30 seconds. When the Surface Pro turns off, hold down both the Volume-Up button and the Power button at the same time for 15 seconds, then release them. Wait again for about 10 seconds, then press the Power button to restart your device.
  • You can also try resetting the touchscreen’s calibration. Use Windows Search to search for “Calibrate.” You should then see an option to “Calibrate the screen for pen or touch input,” which you should select. Choose the Reset button and use it if possible. If you cannot select Reset, tap the Yes button to start the re-calibration test.

Problem: My screen won’t rotate

Solution:

  • If you’ve been spinning your Surface Pro 4 in circles trying to get the screen to rotate, head to the Action Center and take a look at your Screen Rotation Lock button. Once there, make sure it’s turned off.
  • If you can’t find the Rotation Lock button at all, don’t panic — sometimes the button does disappear. A solution that seems to work here is removing your Type Cover keyboard and re-attaching it. The keyboard is connected to how the screen rotates, and thus can lead to problems.

Problem: My Type Cover keyboard stopped working

Solution:

  • If your Type Cover keypad is not longer responding but your touchscreen is working fine, then detach the keyboard and use your touchscreen to restart your computer. You can restart your Surface Pro simply by going to the Start Menu, selecting Power, and choosing Restart. Then re-attach your Type Cover and test functionality once more. This usually clears up the problem.
  • If the problem persists, make sure your Pro’s software is up to date. To update, go to the Start menu (with the Windows logo), select Settings, and choose Update & Security. Here, look for an option that says Windows Update, and select “Check for Updates.” If updates are found, select Install. You can restart your Surface Pro by going to the Start menu, selecting Power, and choosing Restart. Remember to give your tablet ample time to restart, because the update process isn’t always quick. Your Surface Pro 4 may be busy for the next half hour or so.

Problem: Windows Hello won’t recognize me

Solution:

  • In theory, Windows Hello is a cool feature that uses a bit of facial recognition to help you log in, much like the Xbox’s ill-fated Kinect. Sadly, however, your Pro 4 might not always recognize your face.
  • There’s a way to improve Hello that you should try in these scenarios. Begin by heading to the Start menu and selecting Settings. From there, choose Accounts and go to Sign In Options. Here, you can make several adjustments, including one that will Improve Recognition for Hello. Simply select the re-calibration option and follow the steps.
  • If Windows Hello will not work, you can choose an alternative login method at the login screen, such as the password you’ve previously set on the device.

Problem: My tiles suddenly look funny

Solution:

  • Don’t worry, you aren’t going crazy. Sometimes the tile view can suddenly shift for no particularly good reason, so you may open up and find a huge list of single tiles staring at you. You can fix this issue by going into Settings and looking for the System. Once there, look for the Display tab and adjust the appropriate slider to adjust the size of apps, text, and other facets of the interface. By default, the Surface Pro 4 is set to 200 percent.

Problem: The Surface Pro 4’s audio doesn’t work.

Solution:

  • Let’s get the basics out of the way first. Find the volume controls and mute key on your Type Cover, and press them to make sure your sound isn’t just quiet or muted. Some apps may have their own volume controls too, so if it’s only one app that’s not making any sound, look for volume control options within the app itself.
  • Sometimes sound drivers may need to be updated. You can do this by restarting your Surface Pro. You can restart your Surface Pro simply by going to the Start menu, selecting Power, and choosing Restart. Remember to give your tablet ample time to restart, because the update process isn’t always quick. Your Surface Pro 4 may be busy for the next half hour or so.

Problem: My screen is flashing or flickering

Solution:

  • When people first started buying their Surface Pro 4 tablets, this was a problem that a number of users noticed — a flickering screen that made the tablet nearly impossible to use. Microsoft has since issued an update that fixes the problem. To update, go to the Start menu (with the Windows logo), select Settings, and choose Update & Security. Then, look for an option that says Windows Update and choose “Check for Updates.” If updates are found, select the Install option. You can restart your Surface Pro simply by going to the Start menu, selecting Power, and choosing Restart. Remember to give your tablet ample time to restart though, because the update process isn’t always quick. Your Surface Pro 4 may be busy for the next half hour or so.
  • If updating your system doesn’t work, people have tried a number of other approaches, with varying degrees of success. One of the more reliable solutions is to disable Hyper-V, a visual feature that may have gotten turned on accidentally. The quickest way to disable it is to go to Command Prompt in the Start menu and paste the following command: “exe /Online /Disable-Feature:Microsoft-Hyper-V“.
  • You may also be able to fix the issue with a restart. You can restart your Surface Pro by going to the Start menu, selecting Power, and choosing Restart. 

Problem: My battery is draining faster than it should

Solution:

  • Battery issues have been plaguing the Surface Pro 4 since its initial release. The problem is frequently related to Windows Hello, which doesn’t necessarily turn off when your Pro is in standby. That leads to constant battery drain. To prevent Hello from continually looking for your face, head to Settings, choose Accounts, and select Sign In Options. From here, disable Windows Hello and see if your battery life improves.
  • It’s also a good idea check your charging cable and charging port for damage. Your battery may not be getting much power if your cable is physically damaged.
  • If your Surface Pro 4 must constantly be charging in order to stay alive, you may have an old or defective battery. However, there is one more thing you can try — updating your device and restarting it. To update, go to the Start menu (with the Windows logo), select Settings, and choose Update & Security. Here, look for an option that says Windows Update and choose “Check for Updates.” If updates are found, select Install. You can restart your Surface Pro by going to the Start Menu, selecting Power, and choosing Restart. Remember to give your tablet ample time to restart though, because the update process isn’t always quick. Your Surface Pro 4 may be busy for the next half hour or so.

Problem: I just got a notification that a driver(s) crashed

Solution:

  • You may notice this in particular with the display driver, but it can also happen with other drivers on the Surface Pro 4. Microsoft recently patched the problem, so the first thing you should do is make sure your system is up to date. To update, go to the Start menu (with the Windows logo), select Settings, and choose Update & Security. Here, look for an option that says Windows Update and choose “Check for Updates.” If updates are found, select Install. You can restart your Surface Pro simply by going to the Start menu, selecting Power, and choosing Restart. Remember to give your tablet ample time to restart, because the update process isn’t always quick. Your Surface Pro 4 may be busy for the next half hour or so.
  • If that doesn’t solve the issue, rest assured that the problem nearly always comes up while using Microsoft Edge. This can cause an odd glitch that makes one or multiple drivers fail in rapid succession. Consider using a different browser, like Chrome, to see if this stops the problem.

Problem: My Surface Pro 4 won’t turn on

Solution:

  • Check your connections, your power connection light, and your charging cable to make sure there is no obvious damage or disconnects that might keep your Surface Pro 4 from booting.
  • If the Pro 4 refuses to turn on even though its power source appears to be fine, try forcing a restart. Press and hold the power button for 30 seconds, then release it. Then, press the power button as you normally would to turn the tablet on. Do this while the device is plugged in.
  • If your tablet is completely frozen and won’t restart, you can force a shut down by pressing the power button for 30 seconds, and then pressing both the power button and the volume-up button at the same time for 15 seconds. Release the buttons, then wait 10 seconds. Then, press the power button to boot your device. Again, make sure you’re connected to a power source when you do so.

Problem: I just woke up my Surface Pro 4, and all I see is a blue screen

Solution:

  • Be careful — if your Pro is just rebooting and downloading some updates, then it needs to keep doing its job and you should leave the tablet alone. Also, keep in mind that the screen may appear black, bluish, or dark during this time. However, if you see a blue screen that eventually leads to an error message, there’s an issue. This is a problem that the Pro 4 is encountering in some instances, and, for now, it’s just one of those things.
  • Your best bet, after waiting about a half-hour for the problem to clear, is to force a restart. Press and hold the power button for 30 seconds, then release it and press the power button again to boot your Pro 4.

Problem: My Wi-Fi can’t connect

Solution:

  • Generally, the most reliable method of fixing this problem is getting up and resetting your wireless router. Most routers have either a reset button, but you can always unplug the router and wait for a little while before plugging it back in. Try this first.
  • If the problem seems to be the Surface Pro 4 itself, check the basics. Go to the Start menu, select Settings, and go to Network & Internet. Here, you will see an option for Airplane mode — make sure it’s turned off. Then, go to Wi-Fi and make sure your wireless capabilities are turned on.
  • If you can’t find your Wi-Fi settings or locate a network, try updating and restarting your device. To update, go to the Start menu (with the Windows logo), select Settings, and choose Update & Security. Here, look for an option that says Windows Update and select “Check for Updates.” If updates are found, tap Install. You can restart your Surface Pro simply by going to the Start menu, selecting Power, and choosing Restart. Remember to give your tablet ample time to restart though, because the update process isn’t always quick. Your Surface Pro 4 may be busy for the next half hour or so.
  • If nothing has worked so far, then you can run the network troubleshooter to locate other problems. Enter “network troubleshooter” in the Windows search bar, and then select Identify and repair network problems.
  • Check to see if your drivers are working correctly. Enter “device manager” in the Windows search box, and select the tool when found. Expand your Network Adapters, and look for something called the “Marvell AVASTAR Network Controller,” or something that falls under a similar name. Open it, and select Driver. Click Disable, and confirm. Then, go to the Start menu and Restart your Surface Pro 4 to reload the driver in question and see fi you can find Wi-Fi networks again.

Problem: The Mail app won’t show my new email messages

Solution:

  • Mail app problems can come from several different sources, depending on the issue. A lack of new messages is one of the most common problems, and is usually related to an account or syncing issue. You should start with the basics, aka new updates. Go to the Start menu, select Store, and choose the picture of the little guy in the upper-right corner. From here, select Downloads and tap Check for updates.
  • It could be that your email is connected to the wrong account. You can select the proper email account or manually download items by going to the Mail app and selecting Settings in the lower-left corner. Choose Accounts, select the account that you want to change or modify, and choose a time frame from which to download new emails. Keep in mind that you may need to delete an old account in order to create a new one.
  • Mail is pretty good at automatically detecting email settings, but sometimes it may not pick up on your IMAP protocols. If you have IMAP settings — your email provider can give you more information on this — and Mail isn’t working, try manually entering your IMAP protocols. Go to your Mail app, select Settings, tap Accounts, and choose the Add Account option. Select Other account, then IMAP, and then Connect. If Mail can’t automatically find your IMAP settings, you can provide all the necessary information.
  • If you have a Gmail account and are experiencing problems, know that Gmail makes it difficult for Mail to borrow information. Head to this website and make sure that “Access for less secure apps” is turned on.

Problem: My Surface Pro 4 won’t connect to a second screen

Solution:

  • Take a quick walk around and ensure everything, from your adapters to your power cables, is firmly in place. Also, ensure there’s no apparent damage to the cables or ports you’re using.
  • Inspect your second screen and make sure that it’s set to the right type of port — HDMI, VGA, etc.
  • If you haven’t installed updates in a while, this may be causing the problem. To update, go to the Start menu (with the Windows logo), select Settings, and choose Update & Security. Here, look for an option that says Windows Update, and choose “Check for Updates.” If updates are found, select Install.
  • Your second screen settings could also be messed up. You can find out more by going to your search bar and lentering “project.” This should bring up an option to “project to a second screen.” Select this, and you should see several different projection options, such as Duplicate, Extend, and Second Screen Only. Try choosing your desired option, or switch between the options to see if one works better than the rest.

Problem: I can’t install updates properly because of freezing or error messages

Solution:

  • First, try running the Windows Update troubleshooter. Head over to this web page, click the link to activate the troubleshooter, and follow the on-screen prompts.
  • Plug your Pro 4 in before starting the update — don’t install updates on battery power. If possible, never shut down your Surface in the middle of an update. If you have to shut down your Surface, you can hold the power button for 30 seconds to force it to turn off. This can help solve some error messages that may appear.
  • The problem may also be related to dates and times. Go to your Start menu, select Settings, and go to Time & Language. Here, change Set time automatically to Off. Afterward, change the date and time to your correct date and time. Turn Set time automatically back to On, and see if you can update your system successfully.

Editors' Recommendations