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July 8, 2017

Surface Pro suffering from all-too-familiar random hibernation problem

by John_A

Why it matters to you

You’re not alone if your new Surface Pro is randomly hibernating, but never fear — Microsoft is investigating.

Microsoft’s Surface line is full of excellent machines, including the Surface Pro, the Surface Book, the Surface Laptop, and the Surface Studio. Each is solidly built and brings something exciting to the table. But Surface has also been plagued with some technical glitches, particularly early in each machine’s lifecycle.

The Surface Pro line is a case in point, where both the Surface Pro 3 and 4 suffered early battery life and sleep issues that tormented users for months. Firmware and driver fixes eventually cleaned things up, but the stigma of poor reliability remained. Now, the new 2017 Surface Pro is having some of the same issues, as OnMSFT reports.

The issue first came to light on June 17, 2017, when users began reporting the issue at the Microsoft Community support forum. The issue is described as the Surface Pro randomly shutting off without warning, which as it turns out has involved the affected machines deciding to hibernate at random intervals outside of whatever power settings have been configured.

Complaints continued to be posted to the support thread, until Microsoft acknowledged the issue on June 28, 2017, and promised to investigate. According to a company support representative:

“We are aware of a small group of customers reporting a scenario with their new Surface Pro in which the device inadvertently hibernates. We are investigating this issue.”

The issue has suddenly become more visible given a story published by Microsoft watcher Paul Thurrott. Like Thurrott, we did not experience the issue with our Surface Pro review unit, but enough users have reported the issue that it’s questionable if it’s only a “small group of customers” who are affected.

Some users are reporting data loss due to the issue, but if it’s indeed a hibernation problem then data loss shouldn’t be much of a concern. If machines are simply shutting off instead, then that would account for users losing data due to applications not being shut down cleanly.

With the Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 4 machines, and to a lesser extent the Surface Book, Microsoft took a few months and numerous firmware and driver updates to resolve the ongoing issues. That led a Microsoft vice president, Barb Bowman, to recommend that anyone who has experienced the problem to return their Surface Pro and restart the standard 30-day return policy. Taking that route could save significant frustration if it takes Microsoft a while to resolve these issues as well.

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