Microsoft to issue an update 'soon' to fix Surface Pro 3 Intel i7 heating problems

surface pro 3

Microsoft plans to release a software update "soon" that it claims will fix an overheating related issue that some owners of the Intel i7 version of the Surface Pro 3 have encountered since the 12-inch tablet started shipping in early August.

Many owners of the tablet have posted statements to Microsoft's Answers support forum, stating that their i7 Surface Pro 3 overheats, even when doing normal tasks such as web browsing. Some have reported that the tablet actually shuts down, with the screen then displaying a high temperature icon to show that the unit won't start working again until it cools down.

In a statement sent to Neowin, a Microsoft spokesperson claims that the company is aware of "a very small number" of Surface Pro 3 i7 units "that are temporarily restarting and incorrectly showing a 'Thermometer Gauge' icon while attempting to boot up." The statement added:

"Our investigation reveals that the system is triggering this event sooner than it should for some people, only when the device restarts, and this does not occur when the device is booted and running. We have an update that will address this that will be ready for our customers as soon as possible."

The statement added that the i7 processor in the Surface Pro 3 does cause the "fan to spin more regularly and at higher speeds – and for the unit to run slightly warmer". It would appear that the company feels the heat coming from this version of the tablet is something to be expected and that the high temperature icon problems are related to a software glitch. Of course, we will post up an alert when Microsoft releases this new firmware update.

What do you think of this explanation from Microsoft?

Source: Neowin


Reader comments

Microsoft to issue an update 'soon' to fix Surface Pro 3 Intel i7 heating problems


This. I've used the i5/8GB/256GB version of the SP3 and experienced the same over heating issues (minus the shut down and hot temp icon) while doing something as simple as watching a YouTube video in modern IE. Rather odd being that you can run Photoshop and it be just as quiet and cool as ever.

I use Hyper for YouTube, but when clicking a YouTube link in IE you're taken to the YouTube website and it's easier to just watch it there versus opening another app and having to search the clip. I really wish Microsoft would implement URL based "Open with app..." functionality, similar to how Android allows for.

Posted via the WPC App for Android!

That's because stupid Flash isn't a lots resource task. It's a RAM and CPU hog. It's evil and must die, HTML 5 for the win!

Meanwhile, I use Hypertube from the Windows Store for all my YouTube needs. It runs great, is very feature rich, I think it's better designed than the actual website, and it uses only a 1/4th of the resources that Adobe Flash demands.

Maybe you need to learn to read. It is not a hardware issue, it is a firmware issue:

"Our investigation reveals that the system is triggering this event sooner than it should for some people, only when the device restarts, and this does not occur when the device is booted and running."

I used to do software drivers for a major semiconductor company, and we had a saying: "If it were easy, the hardware guys would fix it." The hardware guys didn't think it was so funny though. :)

The i5 gets hot but, not any hotter than any other laptop i've used.  I have some HP's that will almost scorch the surface of a desk when running cpu intensive operations.

I know lol, that is why I asked :P, If it was that hot... Can you imagine the headlines?
"Need a BBQ grill for summer? Look no further than the Surface Pro 3!
The tablet hybrid that does it all!".

Well he / she could have meant Fahrenheit. That is way too hot to be Celsius and bearing in mind it is running a 4650U CPU with a max tdp of 15 watts.

Watch out for flash based websites, those are the main culprits when my fan starts running. Browsing to another site or closing the browser stops the fans and heat for me.

Just got an i7/256 yesterday and it shut down in the middle of the 42 (!) updates too. There was a firmware update in there too. I powered it right back on and it continued updating right where it left off. No problems at all today putting it through some paces. I intend to do some heavy lifting while mobile (PhotoShop, video editing, Office, sketching) so we'll see how the next few weeks go.

Those are issues that need to be eradicated when testing the product! The i7 version doesn't come cheap though it's not necessarily overpriced so you need to deliver. We're already looking at the third generation and some issues of the first generation are still not fixed on this device (according to official Microsoft forums).

I’m sure it is affecting more than they say, actually it affects everyone if it is a software issue they just haven’t discovered this “feature” yet.  We had 2 of 4 do this so far.

I have the i7 SP3, no overheating issues, I run Architecture software like AutoCAD, Revit, Sketchup, Adobe CC...... No issues. I mean, it gets hot, the fan kicks on, but my desktop with NVIDIA processor gets really hot, and i could get an egg on my desk where my Thinkpad sits after doing some work. The benefit in all of this, the hot part is the screen, and it's not sitting on your lap.

You may have a defective model. The first one I had, the mic stopped working. However, it or its replacement never had heating issues. Well, not unless you counted running the screen at full brightness while playing Asphalt 8. The screen would get rather hot.

I am shocked, shocked to learn that a Core i7 generates heat. Let me count again how many fans and heatsinks I've got in that i7 desktop...

Even my old Surface Pro version 1 [i5] will burn the crap out of my leg if I am not careful.

The more I read the happier I am with my i3 version. Was worried about speed but I have had not noticed any lag in day to day tasks. Understood some people will need the power for various reasons, but if you are looking to a great computer without the big price tag (and no heat issues) don't hesitate to go i3.

I'm a little dubious of the claimed "fix." When I first received by mail my SP3 i7 it, too, overheated/shutdown when applying Windows updates fresh out of the box! I carted that baby over to my local MS Store for an immediate exchange and haven't experienced the problem since. I rather suspect there's a QC problem with the manufacture of these units. One expects heat from an i7, but not overheating while performing everyday tasks.

What to they mean by "soon"? I think they also said they would fix the Cyan/bitlocker issue "soon" more than one month ago.

Go ahead and use the Nokia tool. It will deliver Cyan & 8.1. The only real drawback is the contents of your phone get erased and you'll have to fiddle with your start screen arrangement, again, but if you perform the prescribed backup, all of your installed apps will be restored, albeit many without login information, but that's generally an easy fix.

I purchased a SP3/i7/256 (use it for work and personal use) - had no overheating issues where it would not start up, or randomly shutdown.  It would run hot more then not, and the fans would kick in on things that’s seemed like they were low intensity tasks - and the battery would die quickly (because of the fans).  My colleague had a SP3/i5/256 - and his battery would generally last longer, and the fan would hardly kick in - while more or less doing the same thing (and yes, keeping in mind that unless we are doing exactly the same thing - it is not a true comparison).  My battery life was barely 6.5 hours on a good day, and 4 hours when it would run hot for what would appear to be no reason.

Anyhow, on the 25th day - I went back to the Microsoft Store and exchanged it for the i5 (I didn't need the power of the i7, and the i5 is good enough for me); been using it now for 48 hours - and although fan kicks in here and there - it is running much cooler then the i7, and battery is lasting longer.  I only exchanged it, because of that fear of something going wrong down the road - I figure something might give sooner or later with all that heat.

Hopefully, MS will iron out the issues with a firmware update - I am sure it’s no small feat having a i7 stuck in such a small footprint.


Ok, this is odd because I have an ASUS Ultrabook running W8.1 that is now experiencing the same symptoms. I've been able to single out two things, Windows Defender, and Windows update. Those two processes are eating CPU when idle to the point of thermal shutdown if left alone.

But all I have to do is move mouse around then they quite down, till I leave the system alone and they take it back to max CPU and take the system to thermal shutdown.

You may have a bad virus pattern file. Try removing Windows Defender and clearing its files from the computer. Then re-download and re-install it. Also check Windows Update and see if there is an update it is hung up on. Search Bing for more info on Windows Update and high CPU utilization.

I am very happy to see that MSFT is addressing this issue post haste. I hope the fix is not to throttle the processor to the point of uselessness. I concur with the issues related to Flash. If I ever get a SP3 or any Surface Pro device, I will never install Flash on it. No matter the device I have used it on, it is always the worst offender of overusing the processor. There is a very real reason that Apple decided to not support Flash and this is the reason.

Again, I applaud MSFT for recognizing and addressing this issue quickly. I have seen a very different side of MSFT of late, having to deal with Office 365, I am impressed by how quickly they deal with issues on certain products.

I have SP3 i7. It doesn't really have an over heating problem. I saw that thermometer icon only at the very first boot and never again.

Mine gets hot just running skype and internet browser for 20 minutes and its annoying because my friend can hear the fan noise while on skype and drowns out my voice completely

How can this be a software bug? My unit was so hot you couldn't hold it. Just opening up Microsoft Outlook caused the processor to report 92 degrees Celsius???

Before any of the firmware updates, installing Metro apps would cause it to get too hot to old (and actually triggered an overheat shutdown with the temperature logo).

MY SP3 I7 with 8MB ram and 512g disk space is no exception.  It got so hot that it shutdown and displayed the dreaded thermo icon.  What a bummer!

Installed the latest upgrade and there is noticeable improvement in battery life!  Heating is no longer an issue and the fan noise is gone!!!  I hope this is it!