back to article Windows 10 July update. Surface Pro 4. Working fondleslab. Pick two

Some Microsoft Surface Pro 4 owners claim Redmond's July 24 Windows 10 update broke their devices. Folks posting to the software giant's community support forum describe various failures following the installation of OS Build 17134.191. Register readers have also been in touch to alert us to the gaffe. A person posting under …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is one of Microsofts biggest failures

    Microsoft essentially outsourcing the testing the insider builds, not doing enough testing internally, trying to get more features out regularly over the actual stability of the system.

    The insider track as testing is useless, its people that don't use it on test systems that actually represent real hardware and work loads. Whats worse is Microsoft don't even recommend using it on hardware but in a VM, and not on a day to day used system. How will that test the actual damn OS to see if it will work in the real world?

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      Re: This is one of Microsofts biggest failures

      Windows 8 got a billion hours of testing, it is claimed.

      Windows 95 was actually being actively tested for usability at least three years before RTM (ancient video from MSDN)

      Windows 10? Grammaratical and language errors and not-fit-for-human-consumption raw-edges always-beta UI add insult to the injury of the unstable OS.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: This is one of Microsofts biggest failures

        "Windows 8 got a billion hours of testing"

        Without knowing the quality of the testing it got, that metric is meaningless.

        1. Mage Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: This is one of Microsofts biggest failures

          "Windows 8 got a billion hours of testing"

          But the most basic usability testing on existing laptops and desktops either wasn't done at all, or the results ignored.

          You can't EVER do the SAME GUI for a phone / tablet primarily for consumption and entirely finger touch and a desk system primarily used for content generation with a mouse and keyboard.

          A TV screen needs a 3rd type of GUI. Android TV, apart from the privacy issues, is a mess.

          MS and other Media Centre software can't decide if for a Screen 2m or more away, or for one person at a desk. A disaster on XP & Vista. PC media centre software needs two modes of GUI.

          You'd think going from DOS, Win 2.x, Win 3.x and Win9x that MS was learning something about GUIs. Then Ribbon, Vista, Win8, Win10 showed that they had junked everything they ever learnt as they jumped from one extreme to another. Win7 was merely a bug fix, a service pack of Vista. At least you could turn off most of the stupidity of Vista/Win7, though they inexplicably made the slightly buggy Explorer file manager features worse. The server 2003 (server version of XP) was a bit bloated. Who'd have thought that it and Office 2003 would be the high point and it would be all downhill?

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: This is one of Microsofts biggest failures

            or the results ignored.

            Maybe I'm of a cynical turn of mind, but I can't help suspecting that in among those 8 billion hours (or whatever the figure given) there was enough usability re/testing to find enough positive comments from a generally positively inclined -as in paid, bread and butter and all that- bunch of testers to paint a nice rosy picture, by just accepting the ones they wanted to hear and ignoring the rest.

          2. Korev Silver badge

            Re: This is one of Microsofts biggest failures

            >>"Windows 8 got a billion hours of testing"

            >>

            >But the most basic usability testing on existing laptops and desktops either wasn't done at all, or the results ignored.

            I'm guessing that most of the billion hours were automated tests.

            Although, as a manual tester you're supposed to just check that what's in front of you works in the way that it's supposed to and not test usability etc.

      2. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

        8 Billion hours of testing?!

        That's a lot of testing. I think I know how it was done. They must have got 8 million beta-testers to load it on their computer, and spend 40 days and 40 nights trying to understand how it worked. About 10000 of these beta testers must have worked out how the 'charms' worked, and 1000 also worked out how to get Windows to stay in 'desktop mode'. These 1000 people actually wrote a report on their findings. Microsoft then deleted all the reports and telemetry from the other beta-testers and released the product anyway because they decided that's what people would love to use.

        The rest is history.

        Seriously though, how Microsoft could release something like Windows 8 upon the public makes the mind boggle. They even incorporated it into their server products. They were pursuing the mindless goals of that idiot clown Ballmer who thought that he would install windows 10 on phones, tablets and PCs with exactly the same shitty interface. Totally deluded and it cost the company dearly.

        1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: 8 Billion hours of testing?! - The rest is history.

          It has also been SOP in the darker recesses of the pharmaceutical industry. Test shows adverse affects? Strike it out because of "flawed methodology" or some such.

      3. MadonnaC
        Trollface

        Re: This is one of Microsofts biggest failures

        > Windows 8 got a billion hours of testing...

        must be like my 8 hours of work every day

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: This is one of Microsofts biggest failures

      The failure is to understand that proper testing is done by design. Testing code needs to try to break the code with a well defined test case. This is best done internally by a well trained and staffed testing organization who can work closely with the code wranglers when necessary. The test cases need to be derived to test conditions that are likely to break the code with special attention paid to those areas with historical problems like drivers.

      The idea that an army of unpaid alpha and beta testers can substitute for them is idiotic at best. While I have an good idea what is involved in testing to do it correctly I would need to see the actual specifications to know what to test. (But I am a programmer not a tester so still not that good). None of the external 'testers' have access to these documents and are thus completely blind. Plus the 'testers' can not directly talk to the programmer when necessary; telemetry is a poor substitute.

      1. AndyMulhearn

        Re: This is one of Microsofts biggest failures

        Agreed. back in the days of mainframe and mini computing, beta testing actually had some currency and, IMHO, it was applied to releases that had focussed functional change that was important to people/businesses. So people would actually test changes using a professional approach because they didn't want impact to their business.

        Now, since Google somewhat amusingly put all of their products into permanent beta, it seems to be more used as a way of releasing shit software and being able to respond to complaints that it doesn't work with "Well it is still in Beta". Even Apple have fallen into this trap with iOS in particular. I'm running betas of iOS 12 but as it's not an iPad I use for serious stuff - I just read books and browse on it - it's not exposed to anything complex and I'm not really testing it as such, just doing some stuff on it. Unfortunately with 10, Microsoft seem to be even worse than that, not even testing it works properly on their own hardware. Twats.

        1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

          Re: This is one of Microsofts biggest failures

          @AndyMulhearn - I think Chocolate Factory's idea of perpetual beta is a bit different. My impression is they are saying that while each release ready for prime time the product itself will always be under constant development. Chrome releases are stable and generally problem free. But Chrome has new releases planned in the near future. They make sure the releases are stable and ready for the masses. But the browser itself is 'unfinished' in the sense that improvements and features will be added with time and rather frequently. Hence, in the sense of a release being good for 5 or 10 years it is always beta but in the sense each release is stable and works, it is not beta. So I think Slurp missed the key point; each release most be stable but the overall product is never quite finished. This works well for some software but not others. Also, it works well when the various bits of the system are more loosely coupled to each other (the browser is not part of the OS e.g.).

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: This is one of Microsofts biggest failures

            "I think Chocolate Factory's idea of perpetual beta is a bit different."

            If that's Google's idea of what "beta" means, then they are egregiously wrong.

    3. Alan Bourke

      Re: This is one of Microsofts biggest failures

      That July update was a shitshow in many ways.

  2. Waseem Alkurdi

    - The Surface Pro 4 has a i3c HID bus.

    - Inability to shut down tablet w/o holding power button -> Borked ACPI tables, especially DSDT -> UEFI firmware update slipped in there?

    - Excessive fan usage -> Same as above

    - ME driver problem -> EFI variables (I've seen that these can affect ME on my laptop too)

    So for the reasons above, it's probably screwing about with UEFI firmware or its EFI NVRAM variables.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
      Trollface

      You see this is what happens when you use hardware that was never developed in close cooperation with the OS supplier. Oh wait...

      1. Adam TheMan

        lol smooth

    2. Adam TheMan

      OK, I think I may found something related to our issue that may help us.

      I spent few minute in the Setupapi.dev that you can find it under C:/windows/INF

      And I found these 3 sections showing that something went wrong with the touchscreen and surface pen drivers installation. The file named

      "iaPreciseTouch.sys" is related to the touch functionality in the surface pro 4. I know that much.

      Please have a look:

      https://imgur.com/PH8KyIQ

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    User with the issue

    Those of us with this issue cannot get a good reply from Microsoft. Their support team follows the standard troubleshooting script getting to a reset of the PC that will not fix the botched Firmware update. They provide the option to repair exchange your PC (for a fee) so what is to say when you receive the "new" machine and update it this will not happen again and you are right back to the same point. Until they acknowledge the issue more users will be affected while this update continues to be pushed out.

  4. Adam TheMan

    I have same exact issues after the update for around one month now. No fix or response from microsoft yet.

  5. Adam TheMan

    Can you please update the article to reflect that 134 persons in the same thread pressed "I have the same question" button.

    This means that at least we have 134 Surface pro 4 with these issues.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Win10 Forced-Updates / Testing - Seriously, why not opt for Medical-Experiments instead?

    What became known as the Elephant Man trial:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-22556736

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Dear Satya Nadella

    You've stirred up a real hornets nest with former MS developers.

    Nice easy transition of everyone to Win10? That ain't happening:

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    900 more years of Windows 'health warnings' then it is :XD

    https://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2018/08/20/microsoft_messaging_round_up/

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    A + B <> C

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    A:

    "Microsoft Chairman Thompson expressed distaste for companies whose ad-financed businesses share or sell user data, while declining to comment on Facebook Inc. specifically. “Many of them make money off Ads and they have used that (user data) as kind of a leverage point,” he said “At Microsoft, we don’t believe in that.” Microsoft Corp. Chairman John Thompson

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-30/if-microsoft-finds-another-linkedin-deal-chairman-is-all-in

    ----------------------------

    B:

    "Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella: It's important for tech companies to “self-police” or build the tools that create transparency, make sure that people's privacy is protected.” - "Nadella spoke forcefully in favor of .... the privacy of customer data."

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-28/microsoft-ceo-urges-tech-to-focus-on-self-policing-not-regulation-fears

    ----------------------------

    C:

    ....."When we talk about why we're upgrading the Windows 10 install base, why is that upgrade free? MS CFO asked during a meeting with Wall Street analysts. These are all new monetization opportunities once a PC is sold. Microsoft's strategy is to go low on consumer Windows licenses, hoping that that will boost device sales, which will in turn add to the pool of potential customers for 'Advertising'".....

    ....."CEO Nadella has referred to the customer revenue potential as 'lifetime value' in the past -- and did so again last week during the same meeting with Wall Street -- hinting at Microsoft's strategy to make more on the back end of the PC acquisition process. The more customers, the more money those customers will bring in as they view 'Ads'".....

    https://www.computerworld.com/article/2917799/microsoft-windows/microsoft-fleshes-out-windows-as-a-service-revenue-strategy.html

  7. Happy Ponderer

    Successful update here

    Just now updated my Surface Pro 4 with this update. It showed the Win logo with a progress bar letting me see where it was up to in the update, which is a nice change. Computer restarted and no issues at all. Not sure about all the complaints about fan running continuously, my Surface Pro does not have a fan so didn't think this would be an issue. All in all, happy with this update

    1. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: Successful update here

      More fan running suggests more heat, which means more power was consumed, which would suggest shorter battery life. That would still happen even with passively cooled devices. Have you tested the battery run time to see if it is as good as it used to be?

  8. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    We got one of these surface devices (can't remember which - their product naming is confusing - could have been surface book, surface pro, surface, surface book pro? All I remember is that it cost over a grand and that was about 18 months ago) for a customer once.

    I took it out of its box, and yes, it's a nice design. I turned it on, and it came up with the usual welcome crap, and I realised I needed the keyboard, so I attached it. Immediately I got a 'something has gone wrong' blue-screen.

    Really? On a flagship device!

    Anyway it didn't do that again, but the customer hated it. He said the fan was always coming on and it was too noisy to use as a tablet. His colleague had one too and that one had the same problem, except it kept overheating and turning off. He'd returned it three times to Microsoft but it was still too keen to turn its fan on but overheat anyway.

    So yes, testing is key.

  9. Laughing Gravy

    I'll say it again

    Windows. Do people still use that shit?

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Windows. Do people still use that shit?

      Sadly the answer is yes.

      Most of the time in business, the PHB's have been brought up on a diet of 'MS is the only game in town'. This is often re-inforced by MBA's spouting off about how onlt Windows works in a proper business environlemt (while they retaini their MacBooks...)

      Then there are the chices of business software. Some companies won't look at a product that run on anything other than Windows and so the cycle goes on.

      The dice are loaded in MS's favour. We, the El Reg readership and commentarts know the limitations of the shite that Redmond puts out and mostly we grit our teeth and carry on earning a living making said Shite work in our business environment.

      Then we go home and I'll bet that the majority of us won't touch Windows at home with a 4 million foot barge pole.

      That's the life we lead.

      Penguin just.... because it is not Windows.

      1. Waseem Alkurdi
        WTF?

        Re: Windows. Do people still use that shit?

        Then we go home and I'll bet that the majority of us won't touch Windows at home with a 4 million foot barge pole.

        I use Linux on my Tablet PC ... but the other side's been a real temptation! The touchscreen user interface on Windows is miles ahead of anything (GNU/)Linux is (excluding Android which is impractical and too not-Linux). This is one of the lasting legacies of Windows 7 (and Vista) ... perfect perfect perfect multitouch support in the UI, one that doesn't break, one that provides a f***king consistent experience (still talking about Windows 7).

        Even Windows 8 wasn't that bad (I actually liked it, believe it or not).

        I'm using a tiling window manager (i3) with XFCE's panel as a daily driver ... but the X Window System itself is fundamentally broken for touch (like it is for everything else). Try it. It made me HATE touch ...

        Wayland has no display output rotation support yet ... meaning that you can't rotate a tablet yet!

        My arms are in a brace position for the impact of the wave of downvotes from hell.

        1. Laughing Gravy

          Re: Windows. Do people still use that shit?

          No intention to downvote. I wouldn't consider using a Linux tablet for the reasons you state and I have tried it on an old Motorola before I reverted to Android before giving it away. X will be replaced eventually.

        2. Mage Silver badge

          Re: no display output rotation support yet

          Proof that one GUI can't do primarily touch AND primarily keyboard/mouse.

          Most people do not chose windows or regular Linux distros with a Tablet in mind.

          Or buy a tablet with other than iOS / Android.

          There are niche markets that need a x86-64 Windows Tablet. Pity MS charges twice what an equivalent laptop would cost!

          I HAVE got Linux Mint + Mate and Linux vanilla Debian to work on two tablety devices. Screen rotation worked on both. The touch "rotation" needed an additional script for the Lenovo combo laptop/tablet. I couldn't solve touch rotation on the Linx1010 tablet + keyboard dock. It seems like horrible HW anyway, and ominous that it came with 32bit EFI and 32 bit Win10 despite being a 64bit Atom. I guess not enough RAM for win10 64, though there is no penalty choosing 64bit Linux on x86-64 CPUs with low RAM (It seems Intel has some 64 bit Atoms with I/O crippled to only allow small amount of RAM, 2G?)

          1. Waseem Alkurdi

            Re: no display output rotation support yet

            There are niche markets that need a x86-64 Windows Tablet. Pity MS charges twice what an equivalent laptop would cost!

            That's why the off-lease market is great. My aforementioned tablet is an off-lease unit about three years old. It cost me $160. Brand-new, HP asked $1600 for the base model. (Note: I'm no cheapo, but I absolutely detest the idea of paying a four-digit figure for a laptop that's going to lose a quarter of its price once the sealed box is opened, and another quarter by the time it becomes two CPU generations old).

            I HAVE got Linux Mint + Mate and Linux vanilla Debian to work on two tablety devices. Screen rotation worked on both.

            On GNOME (Debian's default DE, as well as Ubuntu's), display rotation works. But GNOME is a problem of itself, a huge steaming pile of shit that goes contrary to UNIX principles and we've seen their devs. Their method isn't "available standalone". One has to run through lines and lines of code to see where they did it ...)

            The touch "rotation" needed an additional script for the Lenovo combo laptop/tablet.

            Saw that on Ubuntu Forums a while back ... that needed a Wacom digitizer to work :-(

            It seems like horrible HW anyway, and ominous that it came with 32bit EFI and 32 bit Win10 despite being a 64bit Atom.

            I've been busy compiling Linux from Scratch these days, and I've seen while I was compiling the kernel that there's now support for a x86_64 kernel booting from 32-bit EFI ... I instantly thought about these sub-$200 tablets (I did some fairly extensive research on the issue a while before that). Perhaps things might work if this kernel build option is selected?

            (It seems Intel has some 64 bit Atoms with I/O crippled to only allow small amount of RAM, 2G?)

            No, the OS manufacturers install a 32-bit Windows version on these because of the 32-bit firmware, nothing apart from that.

        3. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Windows. Do people still use that shit?

          "Even Windows 8 wasn't that bad (I actually liked it, believe it or not)."

          If you're using it on a tablet, I believe you. The main problem with Win 8 is that the UI is completely unsuitable for desktop use.

      2. Laughing Gravy

        Re: Windows. Do people still use that shit?

        Where I work has some Win PCs because as you say choices of business software. The server estate being mostly Linux all I need is a Mint desktop and connect to the servers I look after via a terminal (I like the old school green text on a black background).

        At home it's Mint all the way except for an Android tablet and phone.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Then we go home and I'll bet that the majority of us won't touch "

        Us who?

        That's just depends on what you use your PC at home for. Frankly, I use Linux far more at work than at home. For my hobbies, Linux is utterly inadequate. YMMV.

    2. Alan Bourke

      Re: I'll say it again

      Yeah, people still use it because for most people it works perfectly well most of the time, and they might want to play some games, or use Office, or especially the software that is used to run businesses, run payrolls and so forth.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'll say it again

      Name a Linux device comparable to a Surface, including the pen support....

      And then there's the thousands of application available under Windows utterly unavailable on Linux, or which have only pale counterparts.

      So yes, 85% of desktop users use Windows, 10% use macOS, and 5% use Linux. So the real question is: which people use Linux as a desktop system, beyond sysadmins and web developers?

    4. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: I'll say it again

      Yes. I don't use Windows at home, but I'm forced to in the office. On the plus side, that means I never take Linux for granted anymore -- every day at work reminds me of what a truly wonderful OS Linux is.

  10. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    At work I use a win10 craptop for work, m$ software included.

    A major ballache for us IT admins is that you cannot install office2013 (office, project, visio) on win10 without busting your balls.

    Install Office2016, it's much worse - you cannot install any Office2013 stuff at all...

    Luckily I have a Mint desktop, it's a pleasure and joy to configure and use in comparison to Ickdoze10.

    1. 404 Silver badge

      'A major ballache for us IT admins...'

      If thou is truly a perfidious IT ADMIN, then thou has thy power to change thine industrious demon device to thine own flavor of Windows... So sayeth the Clerics of IT Power & Cable.

    2. Waseem Alkurdi

      you cannot install office2013 (office, project, visio) on win10 without busting your balls.

      I did the install w/o any problem on a clean Windows 10 1803 "April Update" installation, both 2013 and an upgrade to 2016.

      You probably mean that you can't install these on Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB. M$'s rules specifically prohibit that.

      If thou is truly a perfidious IT ADMIN, then thou has thy power to change thine industrious demon device to thine own flavor of Windows... So sayeth the Clerics of IT Power & Cable.

      "Windows is licensed, not sold." - Windows EULA

      :-P

      1. 404 Silver badge

        ""Windows is licensed, not sold." - Windows EULA"

        Here, hold my beer....

        ;)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is annoying...

    ...as I'm trying to sell my Surfave Pro 4. Although I haven't updated yet I'll try and avoid. Just never used it as much as I thought I would.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    July Update "fun"

    The July update has wreaked havoc with my home PC. It does not remain shut down. It will power down then immediately powers back up, so I have to manually hold the power button to kill the power. Even after roll-back, it still exhibited the symptom. Microsoft "experts" have all told me the same info found on the web that doesn't work.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: July Update "fun"

      Microsoft "experts" have all told me the same info found on the web that doesn't work.

      If you were consulting any officially recognised Microsoft forum the only answers you will get will be from MS shills and fanbois who just parrot the MS creed. This usually means a piece of advice that bares no resemblance to the issue you are experiencing and is based on the idiotic assumption that nothing has gone wrong and you just weren't doing it right.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stop press!

    All my iPads are still working beautifully. Everything fine here!

  14. FlippingGerman

    Mine

    is currently running 17134.228. Either I bypassed that one (I often have Battery Saver enabled, which stops updates, because MS's "8 hours" is a flat-out lie) or never had any problems. For which I thank the gods daily, because MS just can't get this right. I love thew device, I just hate all the problems I've had with it.

  15. Highinthemountains

    1803 redux?

    I’ll be willing to bet that the same fix is given out by Microsoft for this latest foul up as it was for the last update foul up, wipe and reload. They don’t seem to get that wipes and reloads costs the customer money.

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