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Disable waking the Surface Pro 3 with your Type Cover (and maybe save your battery)

When it comes to the Surface Pro 3, you can never have enough battery life. One trick that I have found to help preserve mine may also give you some peace of mind, and it involves disabling the Type Cover's ability to wake up your Surface.

The trick just takes seconds to do, and it might make your Surface go the distance. Let me explain.

How it works

The Type cover can turn on your Surface Pro 3. In theory, this is awesome and what a laptop user would expect. For example, the Surface Pro 3 is in standby/low-power mode, and the user pulls it out of their bag, flips down the Type Cover. The display is still off at this point, but the user can then tap a key on the Type Cover and the device resumes. The other method is of course to use just the power button on the top of the device.

The (potential) problem

One issue that may occur is when the Surface Pro 3 is in your bag for the day. If not secured, the Type Cover may flop around, or, if pressed hard enough, may engage a key, turning the device on. This accidental turning on is one theorized way that the battery drains on the Surface Pro 3 when stowed and why when you reach for it, it is warm, as if it has been enabled.

To be clear, not everyone experiences this but I think I am in the camp of where this has happened on occasion. As a result, I would leave the house with a full battery only to find it significantly depleted later in the day with no use.

The solution

An easy fix for this is simply to disable the ability for the keyboard to wake the device. Consequently this means that you turn the device on by using the Power button. For myself, this is how I used the Surface Pro 3 eight out of ten times, so it is hardly an adjustment. Your may feel different. Closing the Type Cover on to the Surface still puts the device into standby mode, so it only affects turning it on.

Disable Type Cover wake-on feature

  • Launch 'Device Manager' (typing it on the Modern Start screen, or right clicking on the Start menu on Desktop)
  • Find 'Keyboards'
  • Tap to expand
  • Find 'Surface Type Cover Filter Device'
  • Select 'Power Management' tab to the right
  • Uncheck 'Allow this device to wake the computer.'

That is all there is to it. You can always re-enable back using the same steps if you do not like the new behavior. (For some reason, my Surface 2 does not have the 'Power Management' tab, so I am not too sure how to disable on that device.)

At least for my needs, this trick is working well. Combined with the latest firmware and OS updates, my Surface Pro 3 has not had any phantom battery drains or odd powering on problems. I like the idea of one (and only one) source to turn it on and I feel a little more secure now when traveling.

Do you think this trick could help you, or do you have your own tips? Let me know in comments.

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.

  • Good tip. I'm making the change now and will try to track any battery life changes. I'm generally very pleased with the battery life given that I have an i7 powered tablet. Wow! This thing screams when needed.
  • Yes, can't wait to pick up my i7 next week!
  • My doesn't wake my Surface 3. Hhmm.. I have to push the power button. And my wifi always has to be reset. And I have all the updates.
  • Same issues on WiFi
  • "i uninstalled the driver (don't check to delete the files), then i forced it to check for hardward changes.. it reinstalled the driver.. havne't had the problem since.... if i did, i could do this without rebooting"
  • i uninstalled the driver (don't check to delete the files), then i forced it to check for hardward changes.. it reinstalled the driver.. havne't had the problem since.... if i did, i could do this without rebooting
  • This is great news. Waking a surface by lifting cover AND pressing the power button is really something Microsoft overlooked. I don't remember how many times I accidentally pressed the power button after lifting cover and surface went black screen for a long time and couldn't be waken up.
  • Just did that to my Surface Pro. Anything to help the good old first Gen get a better battery life. Thanks for the tip.
  • I'm guessing that the same can be done with the Pro 2, right?
  • Yeah, I don't have one to test but I can't see why it would be different.
  • How do I keep it from sleeping when I close the keyboard. Tried the lid setting in power management. Didn't work. Also, does yours overheat? Mine does and shuts down. I even see a big metro thermometer on the startup screen so obviously they thought about this. Not doing anything more than installing software and updates.
  • Odd, never had it overheat, even when installing software. Re: the lid and keyboard, my guess is you would need to disable the default power profile and make your own. I believe you need to enable Hyper-V, which then overrides Connected Standby. See Thurrott's write up on it to get started.
  • Good tip. I'll give it a shot. I just installed WP SDK which uses hyper v so ill see if that helped. Mine sleeps everytime I close the keyboard on the tablet.
  • I had the thermometer appear while I was working in a high temperature environment. The Wifi AND BT were also active at the time. My guess is that this created the appropriate conditions for the unit to overheat, and to preserve integrity, the device shut down. I have not used it in the heat since, and have not had any further issues.
  • My fiancee and I have both had our Pro 3's for about 5 weeks now, and neither has any trouble with overheating. I edit 1080p video on the regular, and she does digital illustration in photoshop and Manga Studio with the stylus. You may have one of the defective units.
  • I Made the change to my SP3. Thanks for the tip. I also do the same to USB Root Hubs on pc's that have USB connected devices that I want to make sure that the PC doesn't put the connection between the two to sleep.
  • I made the change, and it hasn't changed anything. Device still starts by tapping a key.
  • ...
  • Hey Daniel, "Device Manger?"
  • Fixed, thanks. Late night.
  • Why not just turn the Surface off altogether while traveling...?
  • Sure, that is an option but why shut it down each and every time. I'm not saying each time I leave the house I won't touch the SP3 for 5 hours or more, sometimes in 15 minutes. This option at least works for short and long trips, although sure, if I was "packing" I'd turn it off.
  • This exact thing killed my first generation surface. It would literally turn on and overheat in my bag. My touch screen literally cooked to death
  • Literally? Bro . . .
  • Wonder if this will affect the power cycle for the power cover with spro v1. Testing now.
  • This doesn't seem to be working for me. Followed instructions, but when I put computer to sleep, pressing a key or clicking the mouse will still wake up the computer. What am I missing? I'd very much like to use this feature.
  • I have the same issues with two SP3's in my family, it does not seem to work.  One has the most recent update installed, the other does not, and both are waking via the keyboard AFTER the steps in this article have been followed.  Does anyone else have this issue, and/or have a solution? It would be greatly appreciated...
  • We also need a solution to disable the SP3 from turning on when it is plugged into power.  It is also frustrating to pickup a charging SP3 and finding it hot because it is turned on even though the cover is closed. Of course, this is all because the cover does not work as expected.  What we really need is for the SP3 to turn off and stay off anyttime the cover is closed.  This should be the way it works.
  • Good to know. However it still find this odd tho solution is here. Have not had this problem on my surface pro first gen. Is this problem then surface pro three specific? Another solution could be to uncouple the keyboard, a second and perhaps easier solution.
  • The surface should have an ancient light sensor like almost all smartphones have. Then it wouldn't be an issue...
  • I'd like something else. On my first Surface RT when opening the type cover the screen woke up from standby ready for use. With my current Surface Pro 2 I have to press lock/power button or keybord one (also the Windows capacitive flag is working for this purpose). I know this is probably because of the difference from ARM and x64 but I cry everytime :'(
    P.s. Never issued this cover battery drainer on my SP2 ;)
  • off topic i know but please guys i own a surface pro 3 and i am scared of people plugging in infected flash drives to my device when am not around, how can i password protect my USB port? Daniel pls help if u know a way or anybody pls help? thx
  • Interesting question.
    You could disable usb in the device manager, when not using it, and have a password set up so no one can get into your machine to re-enable usb.
    Also turn off auto play in the systems settings - so if something is plugged in it won't auto start.
    Any laptops I've ever used, that are security hardened, have had usb disabled.
    Group policy options exist, to allow blocking usb access, though that's an Enterprise feature.
    There may be software that offers password protection for the usb also.
    But if you're really scared of people randomly plugging in usb devices - whether it be when you're at school, or working in a dangerous environment - don't let the thing out of your sight and turn it off properly.
  • thx for the reply  
  • Good spot! I'm going to try this out and see how the battery performs! Has anyone tried the pro 2 power cover on a sp3? I'm getting mine back in a couple of days ... Will it work? (I know it doesn't cover the entirety of the screen but power is what I'm after!)
  • Yes, the Power Cover works with the Surface Pro 3.  I had my Surface Pro 3 in my bag the other day while traveling and pulled it out after about 3 hours and the battery was dead.  I thought maybe my OneNote button on my pen had been depressed the whole time.  Now I think it was because of the Type Cover 3 not funtioning correctly.  I attached the Power Cover and a couple seconds later it powered it on with no issues.  Yes it does look ackward, but I decided to keep it when I sold my Surface Pro 2 as an additional traveling power source.  It shows as battery #2 on my task bar (I finished typing this with the Power Cover).
  • That's awesome! Correct me if I'm wrong but the keys on the type cover, for the sp2 and 3 are the same size? They look that way to me anyway. I don't mind it looking awkward but I'll happily sacrifice the keyboard backlighting for more battery. Re the battery exhausting itself while in your bag; I've not experienced that, but I have it in a zip sleeve as well - just to be sure. I do tend to turn it off, I'm not so fussed about that fast start business, I'm using it more as a very slim laptop. Can't think of what to suggest :/ Thanks for the response!!!
  • The size of the keys are the same, but the Type Cover for SP3 has a larger boarder to make it fit against the display when closed, that's the only difference.
  • Yes, the keys are the same size on both keyboards.  The Type Cover 3 has more real estate on the sides, where the Power Cover pretty much cuts off on the sides.  The only thing I don't really like about the Power Cover is the touch pad.  The Type Cover 3 touch pad is an amazing improvement (IMHO).  The Power Cover didn't exhaust it's self in my bag, the Surface Pro 3 battery did.  I had the Type Cover 3 attached to it.  I was also carrying my Power Cover (as additional power source) and attached it, and it was able to power my depleted Surface Pro 3.
  • Excellent. Often found that it was on in my case when in sleep mode.
  • great tip! still hoping that you might have time for an i7 review. I really want to buy one (esp on tax-free weekend and with August student/teacher discount), but there are no "professional" reviews out there aside from the SurfaceGeeks guy who returned his :-( and lots of complaints about heat and fan problems from various folks.  
  • Tried this on both my i5 128GB SP3 and my father's i7 512GB SP3, and the keyboard still wakes BOTH devices using keystrokes.  Anyone have thoughts?
  • My surface pro 2 seems to light up the keyboard when my hands get close by, its not really an issue for me since i carry it on my bag with the cover on. I tried disabling hid keyboard device as well, and the proximity thing seemed to stop! But the device still wakes when I type on any key! There's a HID sensor collection on device manager but no power management options, I guess it might be related! Sorry man I couldn't find anything but this!
  • Daniel the trick works great on the surface pro 2 as well! Thanks!
  • This function does not work for me - buttons on the type cover still wake the device! Any ideas for a fix? Its getting quite frustrating!! Thanks.
  • Does not work on my surface pro 3
  • Same here, checkbox is now off, keyboard still wakes my SP3. It'd seem Microsoft has changed something. Time for me to try some other tweaks.  We'll figure it out.