9 Common Surface Pro 3 Problems & How to Fix Them

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 is still the best 2-in-1 Windows PCs you can purchase. Announced roughly a year ago, it mostly has the body of a tablet. Inside is a robust Intel processor that lets users run any app they want, whether it was purchased from the Window Store or not. There’s enough RAM and storage to satisfy anyone who is considering buying one of the latest high-end ultrabooks. Attach a Surface Pro 3 Type Keyboard and you have a seriously capable notebook held-up by a built-in kickstand.

All of these features don’t necessarily mean that you’re never going to have an issue with the Surface Pro 3. Operating systems change, new apps are added. Things both physical and digital sometimes break. When you run into Surface Pro 3 problems – and you will – here’s some ideas on how to quickly fix them and stay productive. To be clear, the Surface Pro 3 we’re using for this tutorial is running Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 operating system. The Surface Pro 3 will get Microsoft’s Windows 10 upgrade this coming July.

The Surface Pro 3

The Surface Pro 3

Read: Surface Pro 3 Review

How to Fix Surface Pro 3 Battery Life Problems

The Surface Pro 3 arguably provides better battery life than any Surface Pro that comes before it. That being said, there’s a lot to consider when breaking down battery life. Microsoft maintains that Surface Pro 3 users can expect roughly ten hours of video and productivity. There are things that can hamper that and they aren’t so obvious.

Dim Your Screen

Dimming you display isn’t necessarily one of those non-obvious options. In fact, it’s probably the first thing you think of when you’re trying to eek out a bit more of screen time.

1. Place your finger on the right edge of your display and slide it to the right too reveal the Charms Bar.

2. Then tap Settings.

3. Now tap on Brightness.

4. Move your finger up and down to manually set your display brightness. Remember, your Surface Pro 3 has an ambient light sensor that can automatically adjust your screen’s brightness. You can turn that off by opening the Settings app and selecting PC and Devices. The switch is in the Display area.

Turn off the Backlit on Your Keyboard

To eek out as much battery life as possible, you may want to turn off the back light on your Surface Pro 3 Type Cover if you have one connected.

Press the Fn key and the F1 button on the top of your Surface Pro 3 Type Keyboard.

Close Desktop Apps

The Surface Pro 3 runs a full version of Windows, complete with some of the drawbacks that comes with. The apps that you download from the Windows Store are kept from ruining your battery life. The programs you download through a web browser aren’t, just like with other Windows PCs. If left unchecked the amount of programs you have running in the background can seriously ruin your Surface Pro 3 battery life.

Use the X in the top-right corner of every program you don’t need to cut down on processing power and battery strain.

Also look in the bottom-right corner of your Desktop taskbar to see if there are any programs running in the background that you don’t want on. Right click on each one and select Exit or Close.

Kill Apps at Start Up

Additionally, check to make sure there are no extra programs starting up when your computer first turns on.

1. Press the CTRL, ALT and DEL buttons at the same time and select Task Manager.

2. Now click Start Up for a list of apps that are impacting your system’s start time. Just be sure to only disable the things you don’t need. If you’re no sure what something is, doesn’t necessarily disable It.

How to Fix Surface Pro 3 Wi-Fi Problems

Microsoft’s Surface line does and continues to have some pretty interesting problems with W-Fi connectivity. There are months when connecting to wireless internet networks on the Surface Pro 3 is relatively easy. There are other times, when it’s just not working as well as it should be.

Try Reconnecting to the Wireless Network

For the most part, the only thing that you can do to fix this issue is reconnect to your Wi-Fi network manually or restart your Surface Pro 3.

1. Place your finger on the right edge of the display and slide to the left to reveal the Charms Bar.

2. This time, tap on the Network icon at the bottom of your screen. If you’re near a Wi-Fi network but not connected, you’ll see “Available.”

3. Tap the Wi-Fi network you wish to connect to.

Update Your Surface Pro 3 Firmware

It’s also a very good idea to make sure you have the last Surface Pro 3 firmware and software upgrades if this keeps happening.

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Now select Update and Recovery.

3. Tap on the Check Now button in the center of your screen to see if you have any significant surface updates.

How to Fix Surface Pro 3 Bluetooth Problems

Bluetooth devices can sometimes be tricky. In some ways they work like Wi-Fi networks, letting you connected to stuff easily. If you’re having Bluetooth issues you should definitely check for firmware updates through the Update and Recovery area in the Settings app.

Pair Your Device Again

Sometimes Bluetooth issues are just random. As with Wi-Fi, many Bluetooth Surface Pro 3 problems can be caused by pairing your accessory with your Surface Pro 3 again.

1. Go the Settings app and select the PC and Devices menu.

2. Now select Bluetooth from the list. Turn Bluetooth off using the Switch and then turn it back on. If that doesn’t immediately fix your issue delete your device from the menu and trying pairing the two again.

Microsoft Surface 3 on top of Surface Pro 3 left edge

How to Fix Surface Pro 3 Performance & Overheating Problems

The Surface Pro 3 is big tablet. There’s no way of getting around that. It’s also a very thin notebook. Sometimes that thinness can lead to performance and overheating issues.

Let me be clear, these issues aren’t something you’re going to run into on a normal basis — provided you aren’t play a 3D game or something seriously intensive with your Surface Pro 3 or you’re in an environment that the Surface Pro 3 doesn’t like a lot.

Clear Your Vents

The Surface Pro 3 has a fan. You can hear that fan when you do something serious on the machine. If your Surface Pro 3 is overheating it’s probably because the vents on the back of your device aren’t clear. The fan on the Surface Pro 3 sits behind the right top edge of your display. Make sure those vents are clear of dust, lint and debris. Also make sure your case is allowing the Surface Pro 3 to breathe.

Use an External Fan

When you’re playing an intensive game for a long period of time, the Surface Pro 3’s firmware may kick in and slow down your game to protect itself from overheating. Some have had success with pointing cooling fans directly at the area where the fan is. You can try this, but under no circumstances should you try to open the Surface Pro 3. You’ll void your warranty and they aren’t necessarily the cheapest devices to replace if you break something.

Just because you are hearing the fan doesn’t necessarily mean your device is overheating. If your device suddenly shuts down because it’s too hot, then you have an overheating problem.

How to Fix Surface Pro 3 Screen Rotation Problems

Since it’s a tablet, your Surface Pro 3 also has a sensor that lets it determine which way you’re holding it. The idea is to make sure you never have to turn your device in the correct orientation. Sometimes that doesn’t always happen.

Lock or Unlock Screen Rotation

1. You can lock the rotation on your Surface Pro 3 by swiping from the right edge of your screen to the left.

2. Tap the Settings Charm.

3.  Now tap the Display setting and look for the Display icon with two arrows.

4. Tap on that Display icon. Be sure to unlock screen rotation when you’re done.

Restart or Refresh

If your screen isn’t rotating and you haven’t  locked the rotation settings, it’s time to restart your PC. If the problem persists it’s a good idea to try Refreshing your PC or calling Microsoft Support. Please note that refreshing your PC reinstalls Windows. Your Windows Store apps and games will make the transition fine but your Desktop apps won’t.

How to Fix Surface Pro 3 App Problems

On the Surface Pro 3 there are apps and programs. Apps are the things you download form the Windows Store. Programs are typically downloaded through your web browser. If you’re having a problem with a program, you might want to uninstall it or go to the developer’s website to make sure it’s compatible with Windows 8.1. Restarting your Surface Pro 3 doesn’t hurt either.

Close Your App

If you’re having a problem with an app you downloaded from the Windows Store, close the app by placing your mouse cursor in the top right corner of your screen. Now try opening the app again. Swiping down on an app from the top of your screen closes it too.

Restart Your App

Place your finger on the top edge of your display and then slide it download until the app closes. Instead of dragging your finger to the bottom edge, go back to the top edge of your screen.

Uninstall and Reinstall the App

It’s never a better idea to simply uninstall an app and then reinstall it either. Find it’s icon or Live Tile in the list of all apps installed on your Surface Pro 3. You can reach this list by going to the Start Screen and tapping on the arrow along the bottom of your screen.

1. Now place your finger on the icon for each app until a menu item for uninstalling pops up.

2. Download that app from the Window Store

Surface Pro 3 Review (5)

How to Fix Surface Pro 3 Charging Problems

The Surface Pro 3 has its own dedicated charging port. There’s really no way to troubleshoot charging beyond making sure that no part of the power adapter is frayed, that you’re actually plugged into a power source and that your power cable is genuine. If you’re having charging issues make sure there’s nothing plugged into your power cable’s USB adapter and try again. If the problem persists it is time to contact Microsoft Support.

How to Fix Surface Pro 3 Keyboard Issues

The Surface Pro 3 Type Cover is the first accessory you should purchase with your device. Without it, you’ll need to carry around bulky keyboards or stick to the on-screen keyboard.

Sometimes the Surface Pro 3 Type Cover doesn’t respond when you start up your device. If this is happening to you, your best option is to disconnect your Surface Pro 3 keyboard and then reconnect it. If the problem persists, contact Microsoft for a keyboard replacement if it is still under warranty. Before you send off that keyboard, make sure you have the latest software updates and firmware through the Update and Recovery area in the Settings app.

How to Fix Surface Pro 3 Problems if Nothing Works

Only if you have exhausted all of your options should you break out the proverbial hammer and completely reset your Surface Pro 3 PC back to factory settings. You can do so by going into the Update and Recovery area in the Settings app.

Read: How to Reset Your Windows 8.1 Desktop, Notebook or 2-in-1

Again, only use this option if you’ve exhausted all other options.