Surface Books and the swollen battery problem

[German]Another article about an unpleasant topic: Defective Microsoft Surface Books due to inflating batteries. More and more users of the Surface Books of the first generation have been hit by this issue.


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Surface Books with battery damage

I became aware (again) of the problem again via MVP colleague Barb Bowman. She had picked it up the days at askwoody.com. But there was also this comment on Facebook on Dec. 3, 2019. Barb Bowman is active as a community moderator in the Microsoft Answers forum and quickly notices problems with Surfaces. There are signs that an increasing number of Surface Books devices are suffering damage from inflating batteries. The first reports were already made in March 2018, when a user complained about distorted screens due to bloated batteries:

I now have multiple Surface Books (1st gen) that the batteries in the tablet part are swelling and warping the screen.  My Surface Book can’t even close the lid due to the battery being so large.  My screen is bulging out.

We’ve already retired two Surface Books due to the screens peeling off and I have found 2 more where the screens are starting to curve.

As the user reported, it’s not a single incident, he has several Surface Books from the 1st generation, whose screens were already distorted by inflating batteries. Two devices already had to be retired due to screens becoming detached.

Surface Book mit verzogenem Display (Akku)
(Surface Book with warping screen, Source: MS Answers)

The affected person posted a whole series of photos to show the problem. In the picture above, he placed a ruler on the display. You can see that the ruler protrudes at the ends, i.e. in the middle the display is bulged or warped by the inflated battery. Thus, the device can no longer be close the lid properly.

Barb Bowman has linked in the article at askwoody.com a number of sites on the web where users report the same problems. Microsoft does not comment on this in the Answers forums, except for the answer ‘Contact support’.) But Barb states that Microsoft has probably issued an internal order that devices should be replaced up to 3 years after the purchase. The ugly part of the story: More and more devices falling out of this 3-year rule because they are already older. And it could be that at some point devices with inflating batteries will catch fire because customers continue to use them. Barb Bowman writes that she now sees reports almost every day.


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In general I have the impression, that Microsoft doesn’t really have the Surfaces technology under control. Too often there are major issues are reported with Surface devices. Also for the Surface Pro 4 devices there is no clear Microsoft guideline how to handle hardware issues, as Barb Bowman summarizes here on askwoody.com. Within my blog I have also regularly discussed various battery issues with various Surface models. Such things shouldn’t happen with such expensive devices. 

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5 Responses to Surface Books and the swollen battery problem

  1. Jean Rogers says:

    This is still true. We have a fleet of Surface Pros — 5 and 6 — and some of them are starting to swell. I have returned one, b/c the whole screen popped. Microsoft, sadly, has failed to provide a robust hardware support scenario. I’m embarrassed as the IT manager and will not be buying Microsoft hardware again.

  2. Nate says:

    I agree 100% Jean and ontop of not providing a solution they said they would upgrade me from the Surface Pro 4 to the 5 (not even the newest model but I would have to pay $450.00 for the upgrade. What a scam, produce a faulty device then expect customers to pay for the replacement.

  3. Chuck says:

    As I dig deeper into this fiasco I am finding more and more about the possible cause of these battery issues. Going over my battery report I am finding something very strange, first I see that for the first 58 weeks using the system I am seeing an average overcharge on the battery of 278 to 314 mWh and this stops once the May 2017 Firmware and UEFI (103.1684.256.0 improves battery life during sleep.and other Surface drivers) updates are installed in June of 2017. From here I can trace the degradation of the battery immediately after each and every Firmware and UEFI update to the day. The worst degradation I’ve noticed is immediately after the Aug 2019 Firmware update (Surface – Firmware – 103.2614.257.0) where within a matter of 2 weeks the mWh dropped from 34972 mWh to 28634 mWh and it has been staying within a few hundred mWh per week since then.

    I would suggest that everyone do a battery report;

    Right-click on Start menu
    Select Command Prompt
    Type following command “powercfg /batteryreport” and hit Enter key. It will generate the battery life report and save it to the current location you located with a file named “battery-report.html”.
    And then compare it to the windows updates located at

    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4023489/surface-surface-pro-4-update-history

    The funny thing is…….I was never asked to do a battery report by the “Customer Support person”.

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  5. guenni says:

    See this tweet

  6. Sheri Kibbe says:

    I just returned my surface pro 4 because of a swelling battery. Microsoft wouldn’t even talk to me because it was “out of the warranty period”. Luckily I had purchased an extended warranty through Asurion. First I was told parts were being ordered. Then I was told it could not be fixed and they gave me a gift card for the purchase price. So, at least I will be able to somewhat replace my tablet, but I’m really disappointed in Microsoft for not taking care of an issue they know they have with these devices. I really loved my surface pro, but will be looking for something comparable to replace it with. I would love to be in on the recall case study. My tablet was purchased as refurbished, but I had it only for 1 year, almost to the day and now I’m out :(

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