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Microsoft yanks Surface 2 DIM SCREEN of DEATH fix in update snafu

Better an overheating tablet than one with a borked screen, gambles Redmond

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A software update supposed to stop Surface slabs overheating has been yanked by Microsoft – because it’s making matters worse.

Microsoft is pulling a December 10 firmware update for Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 and won’t re-issue another one for the over-heating issue until after Christmas.

Users who’d installed the patch had taken to Microsoft forums to complain of a variety of problems. These included Surfaces no longer charging properly, the battery draining and the machine spitting out false error messages. Others couldn’t install the update.

Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 devices were only released on October 21, so these were brand-new machines that were affected.

With Surfaces potentially going under Christmas trees this season, Microsoft seems to have made a calculated gamble that having a hot tab is better than one that’s handicapped. Two thousand Surface 2s have been shipped to the UK.

Microsoft said:

“To ensure the best experience for our customers during the holiday season, we have taken steps to remove the update for Surface Pro 2 that was previously published through Windows Update on December 10th, 2013. We are working to release an alternative update package after the holidays.

The update was released to fix the fact that some screens on both the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 had been dimming to the point of uselessness.

Microsoft attributed screen dimming to “extended, high CPU intensive actions – like gaming.” Not all machines were affected but it did span Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2, despite the fact they use different architectures – ARM and Intel, respectively.

While gaming might seem like an exceptional use-case scenario for this problem, it’s a real concern for Microsoft. It’s trying to sell Surface as a part of the Xbox ecosystem, with the TV and console, capable of playing popular titles like Halo.

Other supposed features of the firmware update included decreased battery charging times, optimization of the two-finger touchpad and updated support for external displays.

It's the second update fumble for Microsoft on Surface 2. Last month Redmond issued an update that bricked the ARM-based Surface 2 as machines would only boot with the help of the BitLocker recovery key. ®

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