Bulging batteries at Microsoft Surfaces and the firmware

[German]Interesting finding on the subject of bulging batteries in Microsoft's surface tablets. Redmond has screwed on the firmware, so that the bloated/bluged batteries should be avoided. However, not all models get these firmware functions.


As an outside observer (I myself do not own a Surface device) I can state that Microsoft does not really have the Surface platform under control. There is a lot of tinkering going on. And yet there are always massive technical problems that drive Surface owners crazy. The current blog post is about battery problems.

The problem with bloated/bulged batteries

The battery problems with the interfaces are a permanent problem. Sometimes the batteries are discharged too fast and Microsoft tries to fix this by updating the firmware. Then suddenly rows of batteries die an early death (see my German blog post Microsoft Surface Pro 3: Fix gegen Akku-Tod kommt (möglicherweise) bald). The Surface Pro 4 devices also have a battery problem. I had blogged about it here in the blog (Are there Battery Problems with Surface Book 2 and Pro 5/6?). Shortly after the devices are out of warranty, the batteries of some of them inflate. In the best case, the display jumps off and the device is then broken. The location here shows photos of a detached display. There are also hits for other Surface models (here, here, here and here). The buyer of such a device is is left outside in the rain, because Microsoft does not react. 

And then there was the tweet above on the subject. Microsoft Surfaces and batteries, it's like fire and water

Firmware update against dying battery: Only for new models

A few days ago, a blog reader posted this comment within my blog. In the battery report of the device he could observe that his device was always overcharged in the first weeks. After several firmware and UEFI updates in May and June 2017, the battery capacity decreased after each firmware update.


Barb Bowman then got in touch via Twitter and pointed out new features described in this Microsoft document. This includes the features introduced by firmware: Battery Smart Charging, Battery Limit Mode and Battery Lifespan Saver. The latter feature is intended to protect batteries against overcharging and would explain the above mentioned observation that the Surface model constantly shows less capacity in the battery report. Barb Bowman then wrote on Twitter that the features are only available for the latest Surface models.

In other words: If you have an older surface, where the battery is bloated, you are loosing. Microsoft only helps buyers in the first 3 years after purchase if there are problems.

In the above tweet, Barb Bowman again refers to the summary at askwoody.com and a secretly removed Microsoft default for loading in the Microsoft Answers Forum in this thread.

Similar articles:
Surface Books and the swollen battery problem
Are there Battery Problems with Surface Book 2 and Pro 5/6?
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 caught fire
Surface Pro 7: Firmware update for Battery and USB Dock

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One Response to Bulging batteries at Microsoft Surfaces and the firmware

  1. Chuck Hill says:

    Here is a little document from the U.S Department of Energy about Surface pro 3's batteries expanding, written in 2018, at which time Microsoft created the Firmware update that still didn't resolve the problem even though they say in the document to the DOE that it can eliminate the cause of the problem.

    Hanford Operating Experience
    Mission Support Alliance, LLC JUST-IN-TIME REPORT 2018-RL-HNF-0003
    Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Bulging Battery Issue
    April 5, 2018
    A Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet battery swelled causing the display screen to separate from the tablet casing (photo attached below). This is the second tablet discovered with this problem at the Hanford site. MSA identified 228 Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Tablets in use by DOE and DOE Contractors at Hanford. Preliminary information indicates the battery swelled due to over charging and dislodged the screen from the casing. When contacted by MSA, Microsoft stated that they created a firmware update to mitigate the primary cause of the problem.
     Using "out of date firmware" in conjunction with leaving the devices plugged in to a
    charging device for long periods of time could cause the battery to swell.
     Updating the devices firmware can eliminate the cause of the problem however, it will not cause a battery that has already swelled to shrink. If the battery appears to have swelled, the device needs to be taken out of service immediately.
     Notifications about firmware updates will be sent to HLAN IT groups to communicate with the users.
     Faulty firmware from Microsoft causing battery over-charging.
     Device plugged in for long periods of time without discharging battery.
     Unplug the charger when the device is fully charged occasionally. Do not leave the
    device plugged in for months at a time.
     If you experience this issue unplug the device and contact your IT provider – for HLAN users, contact Mission Service Desk
     For non-HLAN users, the firmware update information can be found at

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