Microsoft Surface Pro 4 problems and how to fix them

Microsoft has done a great job in the development of their Windows tablet line, with every iteration going from strength to strength. Now in its fourth generation, Microsoft continues to further refine the device and include some interesting additions, such as the Surface Pen. Running the full version of Windows 10, the attachable keyboard also makes for a full laptop experience, which is fantastic for those for whom the primary purpose of picking up a tablet is productivity. If you’re looking for a single device to cover all your large display tablet and laptop requirements, you should certainly give the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 a chance.

However, as is the case with any modern smartphone, tablet, or laptop, the Surface Pro 4 is not without its issues. Which is why, we’ve rounded up some of the common issues that plague Surface Pro 4 owners, and offer potential solutions on how to fix them.

Disclaimer: Not every Microsoft Pro 4 will suffer from these issues, and in most cases, users will likely not face any of the problems listed below. 

Problem #1 – Issues with connecting to an external monitor

Surface Pro 4 review

A lot of people have faced issues with connecting their Surface Pro 4 to an external monitor, with the problems ranging from apps not scaling properly, text appearing blurry on the external monitor, and the monitor automatically and rapidly turning on and off, and acting up in other ways, when the tablet display turns off.

Potential solutions:

  • Quite a few users have found these issues to occur because of compatibility problems with either the monitor or the adapter. You can find a list of recommended monitors and adapters here, as well as those that aren’t compatible, and sticking to the fairly robust suggested list may be a good idea.
  •  This may be an issue related to the configuration of the external monitor, and is particularly seen with a few Dell monitors out there. To help resolve this issue, you can follow the steps outlined in the guide here.
  • The workaround with the scaling issue that has worked for people is simply rebooting the tablet. That isn’t a great solution of course, but hopefully, a fix will make its way over soon.

Problem #2 – Screen flashing/flickering, especially when watching videos using Edge


Many users have noticed an incessant flashing or flickering of the screen, particularly when watching videos while using the Edge browser.

Potential solutions:

  • The flickering screen issue has been a problem since the launch of the Surface Pro 4, and Microsoft has sent out an official update to address this issue. However, quite a few users are still facing a problem even after the update, and in some odd cases, because of the update.
  • You can try disabling the Hyper-V visual feature. Open Command Prompt, and type exe /Online / Disable-Feature:Microsoft:Hyper-V , which should solve the problem.
  • In the case of the issue with watching videos while using Edge, go to Internet Properties – Advanced and select the first option, “User software rendering instead of GPU rendering.” You can find Internet Properties by typing inetcpl.cpl in the “search the web and Windows” bar next to the Start button.

Problem #3 – Issues with the Surface Pen

Surface Pro 4 review

While the Surface Pen does work well for the most part, many users have found the stylus to freeze completely, with no input being registered on the screen, for quite a few seconds. In more extreme cases, some users had found the problem to progress to a point where the Surface Pen would not be working at all with their devices.

Potential solutions:

  • This is another known issue, and is particularly prevalent with the i5/8GB/256GB version of the Surface Pro 4. A solution is in the works, and will be available to users via an official update.
  • Some users have found that when the Pen freezes, pressing the right-click button on the barrel of the Pen a few times makes it start functioning normally again. Others have found the switching apps, and switching back helps as well, while some solutions suggest moving the Pen away from the display by 1 foot or so, and move it back slowly towards the screen to have it re-engage.
  • Rebooting the device or un-pairing and pairing the Surface Pen again will also work.

Problem #4 – Windows Hello not working as expected

Surface Pro 4 review

Windows Hello is a facial recognition app that lets you log in to your device without the need for a PIN or password. Some users have found Windows Hello to stop working as expected after a while, failing to recognize the person.

Potential solutions:

  • Go to “sign-in options,” either by go to the Settings menu and Account settings, or by directly searching for sign-in options in the search bar. Here, you will find an option for improving recognition for Hello. All you have to do is choose the re-calibrate option, and follow the outlined steps.

Problem #5 – Touchscreen not responding

Surface Pro 4 review

Some users have found the touchscreen to not respond on occasion, while the attached keyboard continues to function normally. In other cases, the entire system seems to be frozen.

Potential solutions:

  • A reboot of the system usually helps. If the keyboard is working, use the Windows key to open the Start menu, and use the Tab button to get to Power. Either shut down the device, give it a few minutes, and then press the power button to start, or just Restart the device from the Power options itself. If the entire system is frozen, press and hold the power button until the device shuts off, and after a few seconds, press the power button to restart the system.
  • Use the search bar and type “calibrate.” Select the “calibrate the screen for touch or pen input” and check out the options available.

Problem #6 – Wi-Fi won’t connect

Surface Pro 4 review

As is true for most other smartphones, tablets, or laptops out there, you may face some trouble with getting connected to a Wi-Fi network.

Potential solutions:

  • Turn the device and the router off for at least ten seconds, then turn them back and retry the connection.
  • Download an app like “Wi-Fi Analyzer” from the Windows Store, to check how crowded your channel is, and switch to a better option.
  • Forget the Wi-Fi connection, and re-enter the details and try again. You can do so by going into Settings menu – Network & Internet – Wi-Fi – Manage Wi-Fi Settings, and at the bottom of the page is where you will find a list of known networks. Tap on the relevant name, and click on “Forget.”
  • Make sure the router firmware is up to date.
  • In the Wi-Fi settings page, go to “Advanced Wi-Fi options,” and make a note of your device MAC address, then make sure that it is allowed access in the router’s MAC filter.

So there you have it for this roundup of some of the common problems faced by Microsoft Surface Pro 4 owners, and some potential solutions on how to fix them! We will continue to keep this updated, so do let us know in the comments section below if you run across any other issues.

In the meantime, don’t let these problems put you off from picking up the Surface Pro 4. In all likelihood, you won’t com across any of them, and most of them can be fixed with software updates. Windows 10 is admittedly quite buggy, but Microsoft is working towards addressing all the problems, and the experience on this fantastic tablet-laptop hybrid is only bound to get better.

Leave a comment