What you need to know
- iFixit is now offering official repair tools for Surface devices.
- The tools are sold to authorized technicians to fix Surface PCs.
- The partnership between Microsoft and iFixit helps address some concerns with Right to Repair advocates.
Update 12/15/2021: Thanks to u/SurfaceDockGuy on reddit, we now know prices for the new tools. We've updated the article accordingly.
There's no doubt that the Right to Repair movement is gaining traction in the US. And while Microsoft hadn't done too much regarding that struggle, its latest Surface devices make an effort to make things a bit easier, including replaceable SSDs, and in the case of the forthcoming Surface Laptop SE, even more accessibility.
Today, Microsoft and iFixit are announcing a partnership whereby iFixit's Pro independent repairers, Microsoft Authorized Service Providers, Microsoft Experience Centers, and Microsoft Commercial customers can now purchase official Microsoft service tools for Surface devices directly from iFixit.com.
While these tools are not available direct to consumers, it does allow companies besides Microsoft to offer services to repair consumer and enterprise Surface devices. From the press release:
Those three tools include:
Surface Display Bonding Frame ($29.99)
Used in conjunction with weights to press the screen assembly onto the device to ensure proper adhesion. The frame also comes with a piece of 12" x 12" 3/8" thick EVA foam, which the device should be placed on during repair.
Surface Battery Cover ($19.99)
The Surface Battery Cover is placed on top of the opened device to ensure that no accidental contact is made with the motherboard or other sensitive components.
- Supported devices: Surface Laptop 3 (13.5-inch, 15-inch), Surface Laptop 4 (13.5-inch, 15-inch), Surface Laptop Go, Surface Laptop SE, and Surface Laptop Studio.
Surface Display Debonding Tool ($59.99)
Used to separate the screen assembly from the device. The tool ensures that the opening pick is inserted just deep enough into the device to separate the screen assembly without damaging other components.
- Supported devices: Surface Pro 7+, Pro 8, and Pro X
The iFixit Pro program is something independent repair technicians can apply to by filling out a form. Once completed and approved, those new iFixit Microsoft Service Tools for Surface can be purchased for use.
While this is a significant first step in repairability for Surface, even iFixit acknowledges Microsoft can still do more:
And remaining true to its principles, iFixit notes that this partnership won't affect its editorial team, where the company will continue "to tear down and review new Microsoft products objectively."
Considering Microsoft no longer has any physical Microsoft Stores to handle warranty repair and exchanges, this partnership with iFixit should make the lives of consumers and businesses a lot easier with more options for getting their Surface repaired.
Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.
This is awesome. Even if it isn't for individual consumers, this is still a massive improvement for consumer welfare and transparency.
Excellent first step. Make tools, manuals and parts available to DIYers or local repair shops. Glue isn't so bad if Surface tablet screens can be easily removed and then rebonded without breaking anything. I think iFixit gave the Surface Pro X a high score because the display tape was much easier to remove compared to the Surface Pro 7.
Even better, stop using glue to make computers!
I replaced the battery in my Dell XPS yesterday. Took 20 minutes. Maybe 15 screws and one cable to disconnect. Just need to be careful not to lose any of the tiny screws. Only improvement would have been fewer screw sizes (there were 4).
Once open, everything was clearly visible and held in with screws. Not sure what was where as heatsinks covering a lot of bits, but I'm sure I could have replaced the HDD by following instructions.
This would be the right way.
Some of those heatsinks were probably RF shielding rather than heatsinks.
This is awesome and addresses my biggest long-standing concern regarding Surface devices.. repairability and the ability to replace the battery, which DOES inevitably degrade after several years.
I think Apple has gone one better. Anyone can buy the tools and the parts. Then once they sold you those, and you break it, they can either charge you to repair it, or sell you a new one.
That debonding tool seems a bit off ... Maybe a demo video would be informative. This is a step in the right direction though ...
I think a deboning robot would be better for commercial use. Insert, Heat to specified temp and Separate.
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