Microsoft working on 'sleep' issues with Surface Pro 4, Surface Book with solution early next year

Microsoft this week fixed the crashing display driver issue found on the new Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book. The problem stems from the early adoption of Intel's new Skylake chipset, which is causing issues even for non-Microsoft PC manufacturers. One problem still exists, however, which is the sleep/standby states for these devices.

Windows Central has covered the topic before, and it can be quite frustrating. Essentially the Surface goes into standby (low power state) but not to a sufficient level. As a result, the CPU could stay active while the Surface is in transit (e.g. your bag) or just lying there resulting in a heated and battery depleted device. This sleep state issue is not universal and seemingly random.

Microsoft is aware of the situation, which should not be too hard due to the level of complaints. Now, a representative from the team has spoken on the matter in the Community Forums:

"Yes, The 'standby' battery life is an issue we are working on and have been working on. We can put the processor into a deeper sleep state than it is currently set to. We couldn't do it at RTM for a variety of reasons, power management is a very hard computer science problem to solve especially with new silicon. Currently it is not in the deepest "sleep" that it can be so there are wake events that would not otherwise wake it. We will have an update for this issue sometime soon in the new year."

The big news there is not to expect an update to address this until early next year and is rather disappointing.

For now, Microsoft says there are a few things users can do to improve things dramatically:

  1. Don't have websites open that are actively streaming when you close the cover or put the device to sleep
  2. Change power settings to disable sleep and only hibernate

The first tip is a common one. Microsoft Edge could keep sites active in the background even when on standby. Indeed, this is true even on Mobile, which is why some people experience bad battery on the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL. Best bet: close out tabs with active elements until Edge and the OS are updated.

The second tip we have advocated for before. It was only with the Surface Pro 3 did we see Connected Standby support. Before this, the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 went directly to hibernate. We use this setup on the Surface Book and frankly it works just fine as the time to wake is a couple of seconds due to the speed of the processor and SSDs.

You can read how to change those settings on the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 here in our guide:

How to force the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book to hibernate to save battery

Wrap up

Microsoft has a lot of work cut out for them on their new Surface Book and Surface Pro 4. While new chipsets are problematic, it does little to alleviate concerns for those dropping $2k on hardware. Luckily with the above temporary solution users can still experience all that is great about the new Surfaces with a little tradeoff.

Source: Microsoft Community (opens in new tab)

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Yea, this is very dissapointing. Especially with their Surface Book claim at the announcement event that "when you close it, it goes to sleep, and will only sip power" (not the exact wording, but you get the point). It's not just an Edge or browser problem, though. I've found that if you're streaming music or a video through Goroove or TV & Movies, and close the Surface Book, it will actually continue playing. I was really hoping they would fix the sleep issues sooner, rather than later. 
  • Agreed. Real shame they didn't work this out before the device rolled out.
  • In retrospect, other devices have been havign sleep issues since WIndows 8.0. My previous laptop would frquently wake itself up. 
  • To be fair, that is how it is supposed to work and mostly does.  I have a problem maybe once a day.
  • It's supposed to keep playing. That's a feature.
  • While it is frustrating, at least Microsoft has an excellent track record of supporting their hardware.  The earlier Surface tablets had stubborn-to-fix wi-fi issues, but Microsoft kept at it with several patches. On average, I think the Surface support has been great.  If you have an MS store nearyby, you can turn your device in for a replacement one with no questions asked.  Apple, which is also known for making great high-end hardware, has a more checkered support record, with instances of reluctant solutions that come only after lots of vocal owners complain. Though a replacement would have the same driver/firmware issues until they have a patch, Microsoft has been pretty open about problems as they are discovered. Seeing  how they have supported previous hardware, even after they are no longer the latest model, makes it easy for me to recommend Surface.  I'm gonna likely upgrade my Surface Pro 3 for a Pro 4 as soon as I can sell a rare Lego set on EBay for a few hundred bucks :)
  • "Apple ... has a more checkered support record"   Not really true, they continue to be one of the top rated tech companies for support.
  • Shhhhh. Don't mention that here, people don't want to hear that! You can almost heart the changes of la la la
  • It's a matter of your company size and reputation. MSFT only started to build their hardware, so they have to do everything to please customers. Apple on the other hand, doesn't need to do that. For every customer leaving Apple, they get another 5 people. And Apple knows that even if you are unhappy with your device, you will crawl back in a year. If MSFT grows to be like Apple, they will start doing the same thing.
  • We live in the era of "ship broken, patch later!" Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • This is getting silly. Fixing their bugs with the new Book should be a priority if anything. The sad part is that majority of these bugs are all software related, which makes it even more absurd that it takes them so long to fix. Hopefully they also fix disappearing mouse pointer and pen losing writing function same time as they fix the sleep mode, not separately.
  • Could be worse, the keyboard on my Surface Book periodically stops working. Ironically, the one button it recognizes is the detach button. Once I detach the clipboard, and re-connect it, everythign works again. 
  • You should swap it out for a replacement; MS Store won't fight it. It sounds like you have a broken connection.
  • Don't look for a quick fix. The Windows 10 dev team is on his holidays for Christmas.
  • and where did you get this information?
  • I have these same issues on my custom built desktop. Weird sleep behavior and display driver crashes during Edge use. I'm also running Intel graphics with a Haswell-refresh core i5.
  • Yeah, I have a feeling they are trying to help solve an Intel issue with this new proc family. This is engineering and its not fast. You can be sure MS has people working furiously on it. This is their flagship device.
  • This issue predates the SP4 & SB, so yeah, getting a little frustrating. I've had to use the hibernate only option on my SP3 since W10 launch. I only hope any fix for the new guys works for me, too. Though at this point I'm pretty well trained to jump through all the little hoops required to get my machine to behave as expected.
  • Same here - pretty sure this is a generic Win10 issue rather than an SP4/SB issue since I have also had it since upgrading to Win10 on my SP3
  • Another day, another bug... "Premium" devices.. Yeah, sure
  • Right, because nothing high end EVER has issues. This is the price people pay for being early adopters.
  • Early adopters to a fourth gen device?
  • Doesn't matter what generation the device is. There haven't been ANY surface pro 4's released before. There's bound to be some bugs with any new hardware. Same thing with cars, the there's plenty of models that have been around for years, but I'm not gonna get the first ones with a new motor or any other major component.
  • No, the price is $2k. The issues are not the price for anyone. The issues are issues and are not supposed to be there. And even if anyone sane could expect customers to pay $2k for a computer and deal with this bullshit - it's been 6 weeks since the release, and there's not going to be any fix for at least few more, possibly much longer than a few. Fow long, do you think, the customers are "early adopters"? A quarter? Half a year? Don't you think by that time people will start speculating about Surface Pro 5? Did iPad that was released in September have any serious problems after a month? Or the iPad that was released in September last year? I'm tired of hearing about being an early adopter every time I buy a Microsoft product. Seriously, it really doesn't happen to other companies so often. Let's be honest. Microsoft clearly dropped the ball here, they screwed up and there's no point in defending this. They just need to fix it as soon as possible without any excuses and never do that again. Otherwise it is always going to be a very niche device.
  • In fairness, these issues are minor compared to the complete shitfest that is windows 10 mobile. Watched benchmark videos last night, and even on the 950xl, windows 10 mobile comes in dead last on EVERYTHING. Such a piece of ****. Microsoft should be embarrassed for delivering such a ****. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • "I'm tired of hearing about being an early adopter every time I buy a Microsoft product. Seriously, it really doesn't happen to other companies so often." Really? did you miss every release of iOS. It happens with many compaines and across many industries. If you go out and buy the latest and greatest something on day 1 you are taking a gamble, plain and simple. Doesn't matter how much you pay for it, or who released it.
  • Yes, that's the story repeated constantly between MS fans. And since I am the fan as well, for a very long time I actually believed that. Well, now I know it's BS. Buy an iPhone, or an iPad and tell me that after a month or two your new iPad still works 4 hours on a charge (instead of advertised 8 or so) and crashes and wakes up constantly and gets hot and loses wifi adapter. Not the network. ADAPTER. So you need to actually restart the device. If you believe that's the case with Apple then I guess MS can do whatever - they already have their msSheep. Read some reviews of Apple (or premium Android) devices and you will learn that they don't get this list of critical problems like MS products do. Apple is a household brand right now, it's a company that everybody knows and everybody has their products. If they had serious problems like that you would hear about it on CNN. Like you did (antenna gate, bend gate and other "gates"). Like I said, I'm ready to accept SOME problems as "an early adopter". But the SP4 and SB were released in October. Now it's December, the fix won't be here until next year. That's not an early adopter and obviously. And the seriousness of the problems is numbing. And I know plenty of people who bought those devices and returned them because they were simply useless in THEIR real life situations.
  • This is correct. I used to work for MS and have since moved to doing IT at a place that uses Mac and Windows devices. I have to say that Deploying Surface 4 this last week has been absolute hell. And when I worked for MS, and had an RT had the pro 2 and worked with a pro 3 daily (wasn't mine though), I saw noticed these were unexceptably unreliable devices. My work daily is a MacBook Pro w/Retina running parallels (I Actually perfered my older HP Elitebook but I have to use a MacBook so I can support Mac users as well), and right out of the box it was ready for show time. I have Imaged and deployed MacBook Airs to plenty of users in our office and always very little problems. There is no excuse for MS here. This is a Joke. Other companies have problems, but MS sets the standard for, "Ship it today, and fix it in 6 months."
  • Edge in W10M will use battery when in the background?  First I've heard of this, as I've been leaving apps running in the background (tombstoned, I thought,) as that seemed to be the intended workflow; I didn't realize it caused extra battery usage.  Will other apps also use battery while backgrounded, and should we be killing them each time used for max battery life?
  • All the MS core system apps continue to run after exiting them in W10M. I keep swiping down to force close them. Battery still sucks! Meanwhile most 3rd party apps close properly when exiting. Lazy MS app developers.
  • Right, but I thought they were tombstoned and frozen, not using resources in that state, hence my surprise at Daniel's comment.
  • When the browser is streaming music or video it doesn't stop in the background. That's a feature. Can you imagine if it was like a crappy tablet and youtube stopped playing the second you switch to another app? Or the music app stopped playing music in the background? ​Same with the active sleep thing, it wil continue to play your music with minimal power usage, it's an actual feature, it will just shut down everything else and play the music with very little battery usage while he computer sleeps.  
  • I ran a sfc/ scannow on my pro 4, and it has corrupt files. Got it replaced with a new pro 4 (straight from Msoft) and the new one has corrupt files!! I encourage you all to run a sfc/scannow to see what you get.
  • What are the odds on..... corrupt files!
  • A brand new "premium" device shouldn't have corrupt files. It blows my mind. I can't even use Krita because OpenGL is broken after the November 10 Windows update. So frustrated.
  • I noticed this about a month ago even on a fresh rebuild, so I just stopped running sfc /scannow
  • Just wait for the SP5 and SB2, these problems will be fixed but you'll have a whole new set to deal with.... :)
  • The SSD problems are still not fixed. Unmodified Surface Pro 4 drivers only allow 100 MB/sec in Seq writes and less than 1(!) MB/sec in 4K-write:
  • Install the driver...than it will work
  • Where can i get ahold of "modified" drivers to fix this? Just asking since your comment makes me assume you've found a way to modify them to get better performance.
  • Well, Apple devices have bugs out of the gate too...just sayin'. And some Apple bugs have been unfixable in the past, so be glad that Microsoft is doing what they can to alleviate the problem.
  • No that's completely wrong. Just because Apple have issues doesn't mean that everyone else has an excuse to skimp on q&a. And no one should be glad to some out near five grand for the two devices and then have to wait till next year for a fix. And yes Apple have problems but, to be fair, they issue updates too, just like msft. They're both equally in the naughty corner.
  • What evidence is there that MS skimped on q&a? MS said here that they have been working on the problem as a priority, so it seems like they are doing what they can. Considering the complexity of a PC,sometimes issues dont show up until a very large set of users are using them. They key is that they acknowledge issues, work to fix it, and let the users know.
  • The problem is that it will affect Microsoft Surface reputation for this as more people get these devices and experiencing issues. Not good for a brand that just getting momentum and its already riddled with issues. Especially when these devices are going to be reviewed, bugs can somewhat ruin its name. Fortunately most are software side and fixable by update.
    Funny though that so far the hardware doesn't seems got issues (or at least I haven't discovered yet) but the software got so many issues for a company that specialized on software. It seems Microsoft are really good at making hardware than Apple, which recently have some few issues with their hardware. Anyways, they really have to work on on their QA especially on software side. Microsoft these days are somewhat degraded its forward quality, especially on Windows 10 and it apps. Yes, they work most of the time but its still riddled with quirks and alot of inconsistent bugs still remains.
  • They still need to fix the sleep issues with my SP3.
  • My HP also has the same problem, It never turns off and neither goes to sleep.
  • They need to do more thorough error checking PRIOR to release. Peoples' faith in Microsoft has plummeted.
  • Has this even been fixed with the SP2? I can put my SP2 to sleep with the power button and minutes later, you can hear the fan come on and boy, it gets hot.
  • It has on my Surface Pro 2, though this might have to do with the fact that I'm using hybrid-sleep.
  • I have had this issue with all of the surfaces.  I have SP1, SP2, and SP3.  I tracked it down to Bluetooth wakeup.  Basically you have to turn off all of your Bluetooth devices before you close the lid.  My wedge mouse, for example, will wake up my SP3 when the lid is closed even if I pick it up to turn it off.  My guess is that this is a feature because my Bluetooth headphones keep working when my SP3 screen goes dark. In summary, turn off all Bluetooth devices connected to your Surface before closing it. In my opinion, the screen should NEVER turn on when the lid is closed.  There is a photo sensor.
  • That actually sort of makes sense. They must keep it enabled in some way so that the surface pen press can jump to one note immediately. But I agree, that shouldn't be a thing if the lid or keyboard cover is closed. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Sleep mode is just too complex for little return. Well, little return on these FAST booting machines.
    Why put up with difficult and iffy battery management just to gain very few seconds of resume time? Hibernate is my SP2 & SP4 friend. :)
  • The problem is to stay competitive they need to compete with MacBooks. My Macbook Pro has a type of standby that holds the battery with near zero battery loss over a week but can wake up from open in less than two seconds. My Pro 3 always goes into hibernate and takes about 15 seconds to start with the BIOS Surface logo taking about 5 seconds after pressing the button and wondering the power button worked.
  • Well my SP4 starts from hibernate in about 4-5 seconds. Windows hello and password on wake turned off.
  • I wonder if they will fix it like they have "fixed" the connected standby issue on my Pro 3
  • I dont know if this also puts it on the start menu as well as a power option, but there is a pretty easy way to do it as I have done on various CS devices. If you search my user id in the forums I have posted the link to the instructions a few times.
  • I get the sleep issue even on my hp laptop and surface 3 it's not an isolated problem
  • Well, this sleep issue I have is mainly regards to edge browser. It always messes up. And I have to task mgr it to close it.
  • I returned my $4000 Surface Book. I'm happy with my Dell Venue 11 Pro 5130, Windows 8.1 with 24 hour battery life.
  • There is no $4000 Surface Book. The highest priced SKU(1TB) is $3200.
  • Including all the accessories.
  • The sheer amount of whinging about Gen 1 products is amazing. These are complicated machines, give them 1-2 months to sort this out.
  • These are high-end devices. If people is throwing this amount of money into a device, they don't expect issues like this happening. I don't care how hard an engineering effort the low power state of the device is with new silicon. As a user and mobile professional I shouldn't have to care a bit. It is professionals on many areas that Microsoft is marketing the device to, and not just to tech savvy users. If you are really a company that is customer centric, you focus on the customer experience. And if that's true, then you don't release a high-end device with these issues. It is a very common use scenario to put your machine into sleep mode, especially something like the Surface Pro. Microsoft owns the hardware and the software here, so theres absolutely no excuse. I love the Surface Pro, but as stated in the article, this is very disappointing; and extremely frustrating. 
  • I don't understand how if the display driver crash issue has to do with the new skylake processors like I keep reading, then why did I have this issue as well on my Surface Pro 2? I don't have skylake. It hasn't happened so far since the latest update, so it does seem fixed now but it couldn't of been just a skylake thing.
  • This issue still isn't resolved despite said 'fix':
  • Not only is it not ixed, i urnedmthe first one becasue the pen kept stop working.  i had it for three days. i restored ack to old firmware and it idnt fkx it  I removed windows update 1511 and the pen still would turn off.  so I thought it a digitizer issue after buying a new pen and same thing. now i have the new one and upated it, its also doing this pen issue with both pens.thinking about full return but i do like it. but what good is a surface without the pen? oh, and the new one has bad led bleed aslo. called surface support and was disconected 12 times. frustrating or sure