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Screen flickering on Surface Book or Surface Pro 4? Hyper-V may be the culprit

If you are one of the lucky who picked up a new Surface Pro 4 or Surface Book you may be working through some of the pros and cons today. Although many of the pre-release bugs were fixed with a hardware update dated on 10/23 through Windows Update, there are still a few bugs around.

One issue we have seen reported that has an easy fix is intermittent screen flickering on the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book. You can see an example of it in this Tweet from our friend and developer Lance McCarthy. Needless to say, that would be a very frustrating bug as it makes using the Surface rather difficult.

The culprit appears to Hyper-V, which many devs have enabled after installing Visual Studio. Alternatively, users may have manually enabled Hyper-V for running virtual machines (Hyper-V is not on by default, so non-devs would rarely experience this issue). Evidently, there is a bug with the new Intel HD graphics drivers for the new Skylake processors.

You can disable Hyper-V with a simple command line:

  • Type CMD into search bar
  • Enter in dism.exe /Online /Disable-Feature:Microsoft-Hyper-V

Obviously, disabling Hyper-V is not a long term solution. The good news is Microsoft is aware of the issue and evidently working on a fix. Indeed, the HD graphics drivers are on the buggy side for the new Surfaces as we have seen the driver crash a few times on our new Surface Book. Other issues that Microsoft is aware of and prioritizing for fixing include an occasional audio pop from the speakers.

We'll keep you posted when Microsoft releases a proper fix. Are you experiencing any other issues with your new Surface? Let us know in comments or dive into our forums:

Via: Microsoft Community (opens in new tab)

Daniel Rubino
Daniel Rubino

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.

59 Comments
  • Im having a weird wi-fi issue on my i7/512 surface book....I get the audio pop as well....
  • Hahaha wi-fi yet again. Unbelievable. This after the same problem in the previous 5 Surfaces. Just wow!
  • I have a similar issue where my driver uninstalls, and it will show no wireless hardware if my Wi-Fi is off and my machine goes to sleep. Not on a surface, but still, wifi should be perfect at this point otherwise most are screwed.
  • for the most part when I have WIFI issues, I just plug in an ethernet cable into the dock and go wired :)
  • I have Wifi disconnection issues on HP Spectre too... Maybe a win10 specific bug...?
  • funny you say that since one of my friends laptop was having WIFI issues and was on Windows 8. I got it upgraded to Windows 10 and now no more WIFI issues.
    I guess every laptop model will have different results.  
  • Definitively a driver issue (related to nic vendors...)
  • Definitely waiting on W10 and SP4 upgrade from my SP3... I need my machine to work with hyper-v!! Why does this stuff have to happen :(  This one specifically should work!
     
  • My surface pro 4 keeps freezing on me and I have to do a hard reboot... Driving me crazy! Can anything be done or just wait for updates?
  • Same issues with mine, was feezing hourly. Support had no solution. Did a system reset and running fine so far. Of course without installing software or updates. Just using OneNote for past 2 hours.
  • System reset is what I would try as well.
  • From what you can read in various reviews it seems that the release was too rushed: keypad scrolling lag, latency problem with the pen, crashing apps, wifi problems, bluescreens and random reboots.
  • The latest driver update made my screen flicker a few times and then it became invisible. Like the entire unit is gone all of a sudden
  • I've seen that happen once too.
  • It just shows how Microsoft even though after rigorous hardware test just failed to test the software in there product. Thus giving appl fanboys another reason to complain
  • you do know what I said above was meant to be a joke. The device can't just disappear out of nowhere, at least not until Harry Potter comes and gives us the invisibility cloak.
  • I ve an iPhone6 (not as my personal phone, only to develop apps for who incredibly buy istuff), and it STILL has many bugs apple is slowly "fixing"... Apple users have only to shut up with us (or just give them my email).
  • I'm not sure where this comes from.  Apple is just as succeptable to bugs.
  • I have had a similar screen flickering problem with Yoga 3 Pro which was fixed with bios update
  • If I disable Hyper-V via command line, will it automatically be enabled once Microsoft releases a driver update? I'm a little hesitant to get involved in command prompt stuff if I'll have to remember to figure out how to re: Enable it later...
  • If you haven't enabled it yet, it's 100% disabled.
  • Some software installs do enable it with out you "knowing" it is there.  I believe a new photo editing program I am trying for its GPU integration added a few background code frameworks and boom, flickering.
  • It s one dos command line bro, don t panic :)
  • Also, does flickering refer only to the screen briefly turning off? I also have an issue where the screen will slightly shift temperatures every now and then. Same problem and fix?
  • The temp thing is another issue i noticed in Edge; no, not related, but also likely fixed in next update.
  • Those two issues seem to be related to each other (at least, for me they are). On certain Web pages, if I scroll to a particular, very small spot, the screen turns off. Scrolling through the spot switches the color temperature from cooler to warmer or vice versa (i.e. above it, the background is slightly orangeish, and below it slightly bluish). Very bizarre.
  • wtf.2000$ and issues????
  • It's just a software issue.. Can be fixed with an update!!
  • Doesn't matter the cost.  Mercedes and BMW's have issues and recalls also.
  • My 5 year old desktop got that problem after installing Win10. Will try that trick or I'll wait for an update to fix. What happens is my monitor goes blank for 1 to 1.5 second and then everything seems fine. Going blank is the problem here in my case.
  • Jesus these tablets haven't had a single launch where something doesnt go wrong
  • You realize the iPhone 6S launched with bugs too that were fixed in 3 updates after its release, right? Perspective.
  • iOS9 was a funny one too. Slide to update. Oh wait, that doesn't work. New iPhone 6 bricked lol.
  • I ve a "special encoded" mp4 that works perfectly on all phones except iPhone6, that bricks and reboot !!!!
  • Quite ironic that the only weaknesses with these devices are all software related.
  • To think that Microsoft used to only be a software company :P
  • There is no OS that launches without bugs and after peoples feedback it would be resolved
  • This is the reason I've stopped buying products as soon as they are released. Someone has to of course, not me anymore.
  • I have had lots of problems with my Surface Book. Removing/reinserting the screen results in a crash (blue screen with dump) or freeze about 50% of the time. Including the very first time I reinserted it. Lots of strange color shifts to the screen, particularly as ads pop and change in browsing. Sometimes places on the screen I've touched seem to get "stuck"... the circle that shows where you are touching stays there or disappears and keeps repeating in the same spot, causing all sorts of havoc as it thinks I've touched it there again. I'm going to give them a week or two... if it's still this wonky it's going back. So disappointing.
  • That's the reason why I stopped buying new hardware on day 1 especially from Microsoft. I know it happens to all companies, but Microsoft just takes it to a whole different level. The issues you talk about should have been found and fixed right away.
  • I would do a hard reset and if that doesn't fix it probably hardware related. Best to exchange it.
  • What a strange bug.  Video driver + CPU.  
  • Classic fix one thing and break another.
  • But hyper v!
  • For all people having WiFi issue in your home just change your wireless SSID name , it helped men to get rid of WiFi issues in 2 win 10 laptops
  • Intel is the cause of most Surface family problems. MS needs to crack down on their butts.
  • Surface Book, go straight to Pinterest.com and scroll down.. Edge will lock up 2 seconds later. A red X in notification window video driver stopped responding. edge reloads just to crash again. Download install chrome Pinterest works.
  •  I've seen this issue on other sites too. Lots of images on a page seem to be causing problems for Edge + Skylake HD graphics.  
  • ​ besides surface related. Software issues they're are also still trivial functionalities that need fixing. Blank live tiles, no folder management options for outlook mail or mail rules. Windows store consistency in progress of setup downloads, further polishing of tablet mode, further polishing of folder management in the photos app. Some further polishing of office mobile and OneNote ​ ​ ​
  • I've had this problem on my Yoga 2 Pro ever since upgrading to Windows 10, nothing has been done about it. Now Microsoft see it affecting their hardware the fix gets prioritised!
  • Disabled hyper-v on my Book right after I installed Visual Studio. Did that on my SP3 as well, since it doesn't go well with connected standby.
    Not a single issue besides that so far.
  • Its strange their is always a problem somewhere in ms creations lol maybe because of rushed builds
  • think of these bugs that are now under scrutiny from press and public as a boon for w10. Stuff that may have been on the back burner, or for a larger rollup release will come out sooner and fix things for everyone, not just the new hardware. 
  • Wow, that one heckuva screen flicker. The keyboard flickers too! And the whole room!  lol!
  • Haha, early adopters facing the consequences of beta drivers...hope they have the patience.
  • Screen flickers on my windows phone. Its Lumia 830 with windows 10 tech preview build 10581
  • Hy all together, i ´ve got the "flicker screen" after the install the Hyper-V-Tools on my new Surface 4 Pro (8GB). I change the Driver for the Grafic-card, but no effects. After I restore the Surface to the "Original Status", the new Windows 10 PRO was installed with TH2 automaticly. I´ve got installed the Feature "Hyper-V" again an the "Screen Flicker" is away. Problem solved !
  • I have this issue but only when online videos are playing. For example on YouTube or some video ads in some apps.
  • Yes, there is an issue with Hyper-V and Skylake it seems, still in August 2016-- however I noticed something about the flickering that led me to a solution.  I noticed if I shutdown and turned my computer back on, it flickered.  However, if I did something, like installed updates and the machine rebooted, it would not flicker.  That got me to wondering...what if it's not a Skylake+Hyper-V problem, but rather a Skylake + Hyper-V + Fast Startup issue?  So I disabled Fast Startup, and what to you know, I no longer have flickering!  So go try it out guys.  I won't go into what Fast Startup is, just google it and there are plenty of places where it's described.  Good luck!