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

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the 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 watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. 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.