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Microsoft Surface Pro hit by Sleep of Death bug

Expert Reviews Staff
25 Mar 2013
Microsoft Surface Pro
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Bug in the power saving of the tablet's wireless module can make the system go to sleep and never wake up

Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet has been hit by yet another bug, with users reporting that the system fails to return from its standby mode without a hard reboot.

Launched shortly after the Windows RT-based Surface RT tablets, and still exclusive to the US - although Microsoft claims to be working hard on rolling it out to other countries as quickly as it can - the Surface Pro is less a tablet and more a touch-screen laptop without a permanently-attached keyboard. The processor, an Intel Core-series chip, produces high performance and compatibility with the full-fat Windows 8 operating system rather than the cut-down Windows RT version on its cheaper sibling, while a pen accessory provides pressure-sensitive control for the capacitive touch-screen interface.

Sadly, all has not gone well with Microsoft's second foray into the tablet market. Several bugs have been plaguing early adopters of the platform, including a last-minute launch delay and problems with the brightness of the screen, the storage capacity and the stylus accessory.

Now there's another entry to add to the list: the sleep of death. Some Surface Pro tablets, it seems, refuse to wake up from the power-saving standby mode. When the power button is pressed, the unit vibrates as though it's turning back on - but the screen remains dark. The only way to recover the system, users affected by the flaw have found, is to hold down the power button to hard-reset the device. Doing so, of course, closes all open applications - so if you haven't saved your work recently, it will be lost.

The problem appears to be related to the Surface Pro's Marvel Avastar 350N wireless adapter. Posts on the official support forums suggest that turning the power saving function of the wireless module off fixes the problem - but at a cost of increased battery drain, something the Surface Pro could do without.

Thus far, Microsoft has not commented on the flaw, but it's hopefully being entered into a list of things to fix before the device finally launches in the UK in the coming weeks.

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