Dec 12, 2015
Another Surface problem has just “surfaced” for me. I’d been using a Surface 3 (not the Pro, rather, the little Surface tablet) for several months and I really liked it—much better than an iPad for most of what I do with a small tablet. Unfortunately, that nice little Surface 3 was one of the victims of the theft last month. Like my laptop, luckily it was locked and insured, so all is well on that front. But I wanted to replace it—I missed it—so I ordered another and it arrived 2 days ago.
But I am amazed and frustrated to say that the new one arrived defective! So this is getting ridiculous. Microsoft, what is up with your quality control? This is the third Surface in a row I’ve received that was virtually unusable on arrival (even after all OS updates). The other two were Surface Books that I wrote about here.
The specific problem on this Surface 3 was that there was a 2-inch by 3-inch band of screen near the left side of the display that was unresponsive to finger-touch (but it did react to pen contact). Even after all the OS updates, after rebooting many times, and after re-calibrating the screen, that part of the screen remained permanently unresponsive—it wouldn’t register taps, wouldn’t finger-drag, etc. I did a quick Internet search and a 2-month-old discussion came up on a Surface-dedicated forum about the very same problems on some units in the Surface Pro line. A Microsoft support person chimed in with the usual multiple sentences about how sorry they were, and how they felt our pain, but unfortunately also with the usual lack of solutions. When pressed they finally replied it was probably a hardware problem and to return it.
So I started to pack up my Surface 3 to send it back, but came across a note later in that forum where someone had found a solution on a Sony web site. Two-years earlier, Sony had developed a utility for their own Windows tablet to clear up the exact same problem, and put it out for download. It was a little .exe that ran for about 10 seconds and, behind the scenes, it re-calibrated the touch screen in some deep-seated under-the-cover permanent way. And it worked, problem solved! In fact, the entire touch screen is much more responsive now. Here’s the link if you need it. That Sony page says it’s only for Sony hardware and only for Windows 8.1, but it worked fine for the Windows 10 Surface 3, and apparently works fine for the Surface Pro line too.
Now, I am glad to have the solution. But if it was posted two-full years ago, why didn’t Microsoft know about it and the solution? And after being identified 2 years ago, why is it still showing up in some brand-new Surfaces?
Things to ponder.