New Surface Pro 3 firmware update should solve battery woes

A "limited number" of Surface Pro 3s can't charge completely

Surface Pro 3 owners who have had problems getting reasonable battery life from their tablets have relief coming their way. 

Microsoft pushed out a firmware update to Surface Pro 3 devices on Monday that's supposed to fix a problem that keeps the battery from charging all the way. An error in a limited number of devices causes the system to get the wrong charge capacity for the Surface Pro 3's battery, the company said. As a result, the battery isn't charged all the way, even though the system thinks it reached capacity. 

"Think of this like a fuel gauge in a car, where the car looks to the fuel gauge to determine how much to fill the tank," Microsoft said in a support document accompanying the update. "In this case, if the fuel gauge isn’t working right, the car would also not be able to fill the tank—even though the tank is fine."

The fix will show up in Windows Update as "Surface Firmware Update 8/29." When users install the update, they should make sure that their Surface Pro 3's battery is above 40 percent of capacity and that it's plugged into the AC adapter.

People who use the Surface Docking Station should take the tablet out of it and connect it to power directly. While the update is installing, it's important that the tablet remains connected to power. 

Then, after the update is installed, users should restart the Surface Pro 3 again. Once all of that is done, the battery fix should be applied. 

Microsoft is still exploring what to do for people who replaced their Surface Pro 3s outside of warranty as a result of the issue. 

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