Microsoft pushes out surprise Surface Pro 3 firmware update for better business security [Update]

Microsoft has released a surprise second firmware update for the Surface Pro 3 this month. This software download is designed primarily for business and enterprise users to offer them better security for the 12-inch tablet.

Here's what's new in this firmware update, which should be rolling out to Surface Pro 3 owners in the next few days automatically via Windows Update:

Surface Pro UEFI (v3.11.760.0) adds support for enterprise disk encryption, enhances the advanced configuration settings for device security, and adds configurable support from the Windows OS for provisioning scenarios.

Earlier this month, Microsoft released a Surface Pro 3 firmware update for the Surface Pen setting drivers to add "new functionality and features for the Surface app found in the Windows Store." Microsoft is currently selling most of its Surface Pro 3 models for between $100 to $150 off their normal price.

Update: A Microsoft blog has posted a more detailed change log of what's included n this firmware update:

  1. Surface Pro UEFI update (v3.11.760.0) provides added flexibility to configure UEFI in Surface Pro 3 devices. As more of commercial customers are deploying Surface Pro 3 for their end users every day, they have asked for more flexibility to configure the UEFI in these devices. Here are some of the improvements that are now available -

I. Modifications to boot process: It is now possible to configure UEFI to allow the system to boot from alternate devices such as USB flash drives and PXE, without requiring Volume Down button to be pressed at boot time.

II. Advanced device security capabilities: Many customers have asked for advanced device security capabilities. For example, education customers want the camera turned off so students can focus on their learning experience in class. To support such unique scenarios, customers can now selectively disable following hardware ports on the device.

Side USB port, Docking ports, Front camera, Rear camera. On Board Audio. microSD card, Wi Fi, Bluetooth

Customers can also choose to disable Boot from Network (PXE) capability.

III. OS Configurable Settings: To help large enterprise customers support their provisioning scenarios, we have now added an interface to allow UEFI configuration settings to be managed remotely. In an upcoming update, we will be releasing a downloadable tool that commercial customers can use to configure UEFI settings on their devices.

IV. Surface Pro UEFI update (v3.11.760.0) improves customer experience while installing the firmware capsule updates. Improves performance of EFI applications such as 3rd party disk encryption software that load before Windows. Improves the reliability of the ESC key functions in pre-OS environments, such as Bitlocker Recovery screen.

Sometimes when the drivers would not load properly within Windows, the device would function well, but the driver would show a yellow mark in Device Manager. This would prevent the drivers from loading when trying to attach a cover or plug in a USB device. The update resolves this scenario.

Source: Microsoft: Via: WinSuperSite

John Callaham