Surface Book Battery 1 Not Present

Hello,

I purchased my Surface Book in 2016 and it has been working perfectly until the past few weeks. The tablet battery (1) says it's "Not Present" and isn't charging and the keyboard battery is charged completely. Because of this, it won't allow me to detach the tablet, which isn't my biggest concern. I only get 3-4 hours off the keyboard battery which is difficult as a college student. 

I have tried the UEFI boot restart like mentioned in previous articles, restarting the laptop normally, flipping the charger around in the port and wiping it down, running the diagnostic tool, and the power trouble shoot in settings. 

Unfortunately my warranty has expired since then, so please advise me in anyway possible!

Thank you!

 

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Last updated November 17, 2019 Views 7,003 Applies to:

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I am having the same issue it happened around the time when everyone else had it and my particular device might have had the issue due to a whole night of baking the CPU for some Premiere Pro project but in my opinion, it might just because the battery is expanded which if you look at the iFixit teardown you will understand. I personally think this is a design choice. They could have easily gone with a lego connector but instead implemented a press connection which should automatically disconnect the battery when it expands which prevents further damage (crack screen, explosion) to the device if an expanded battery is continuously used without replacement. Shame Microsoft does not offer a replacement for our batteries. The theory of the tablet heating up the glue and loosening the connection is possible but it would not have caused any connection issues nor can possibly help the batteries to expand (as far as my i7 processor takes me only the bottom half of the tablet is heating up while the battery is glued on the top portion) and pretty much all batteries in these type of devices are glued onto the back of the machine so therefore without any bias opinions toward Microsoft I think it is not their problem that the batteries are disconnecting (as far as I know they might be doing us a big favour, lipo batteries expanding is very dangerous) but it is their fault that they do not have a battery replacement option. I used to live in China, therefore, I can easily take the device with me next time I go to China for third party replacement (they do that quite cheaply and professionally in China) but I am not sure about where you all live. Right now in the UK I cannot find any third party battery replacement service available to the public for the surface devices, but ordering a official eBay battery and paying a serviceman who repairs other devices, especially iPads, to install it for you might be a better option so good luck everyone trying to get a replacement battery. Remember whatever you do, do not, DO NOT try to replace the tablet portion battery (battery 1) on your own unless you're trained, you risk breaking the glass. The keyboard portion battery is user replaceable if you have some basic repair equipment. Watch iFixit videos. 

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I tried the suggested fixes, but still have the same issue. Please advise.

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Hi, i think the only way to fix it will be a hardware fix to replace your explanded battery. I do not know anyone who does this outside of China. 

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Unfortunately this seems to be a somewhat common issue with our Surface Book laptops. We have the same issue with ours too.

In our case we were in the middle of installing Windows Updates and charging the battery at the same time on October 10th (it hadn't been updated for a few weeks) when we noticed it suddenly stopped charging so we knew our issue was related somehow to the updates. In our case Battery 1 was still present initially, but after being at 0% for some time it disappeared so it sounds like the problems discussed here are all related. Note Microsoft was able to make it reappeared again but have not been able to resolve the charging issue. Anyway here are the details...

Looking through the logs carefully (knowing the date it stopped working helped) we noticed there were a number of firmware updates that attempted to install directly before it stopped charging initially. These firmware updates included modifying how the battery behaved (enabling a UEFI control to limit battery charging, etc.) and updates to the base firmware that interacted with the battery firmware. We also could see it failed to install both of them during the first attempt, coinciding precisely to when it stopped charging, but even after supposedly "succeeding" (one at a time, but eventually both), the batteries still no longer would charge. Something was now "broken" in the way the base and battery communicated with each other and/or managed charging the battery.

I tried everything I could find suggested online, including messed around with uninstalling and reinstalling battery drivers, etc. and nothing helped. We also discovered that even though the power connector would sometimes flash for a period of time that the batteries were actually still discharging (percentage decreasing over time).

After several hours I opened a Windows Update tech support inquiry with Microsoft and they messed around remotely until they completely flattened the batteries and the laptop shutdown without resolution.

I then discovered you could use a pin to manually release the screen (tablet portion) and if you connected the charger directly to the center of the base of the screen that the small battery in the screen would still charge (in our case anyway). Attaching the base after charging the screen's battery would provide about 2 hours of use with the keyboard, although the GPU in the keyboard no longer worked (due to requiring power directly from the battery in the base for it to work).

After 2 months messing around with Microsoft tech support (escalating to tier 3) and with them confirming the failure aligned directly with the installation of the updated firmware, they gave up. It sounds like they will be sending us a replacement base as their resolution but we haven't received it yet.

I've been researching things on my own as well and discovered:

  1. There are hundreds of forum postings discussing recent battery charging issues with the Surface Book. Almost all starting in the late August to November time frame and right around the time that several firmware updates were installed (including specifically the update that enables limiting charging of the battery in the UEFI settings).
  2. Unlike older PCs and laptops, firmware on these laptops is delivered through the "Device Manager" as a special firmware device (which actually is not a device driver at all; it is just a way to load the updated firmware into the operating system and then the OS combined with the UEFI (BIOS replacement) will handle installing it). You can read more technical details about this at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/drivers/bringup/firmware-update or https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/drivers/bringup/windows-uefi-firmware-update-platform
  3. You can download all of the released firmware versions for all of the hardware modules through this link (includes both drivers and firmware updates): https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=49497
  4. These special "firmware" devices are used by the operating system to check the current firmware version and if newer than reportedly installed and battery level above 40%, they will load the new firmware into what is known as a UEFI update capsule (which is essentially persistent memory that doesn't get erased during a reboot) and upon the next boot the UEFI pre-boot environment will go through the process of actually installing the updated firmware into the hardware as requested. Depending on the UEFI version supported by the PC/laptop, there are different "update capsule" storage locations, including with version 2.4 and newer, the option to use a specific folder on the hard drive (/EFI/UpdateCapsule).
  5. Unfortunately if you install an older version of firmware into Device Manager (which Microsoft Tech Support kept trying over and over), it does nothing if the firmware installed is a previous version than actually installed in the hardware module.
  6. If you do install a newer version of firmware I discovered you can get around the 40% battery level requirement to install it by uninstalling the actual device driver for the battery - BUT if you are trying to install updated battery firmware, the OS will not load the firmware update into the UEFI capsule (because the OS doesn't see the battery...).

After well over a month of "tech support", Microsoft Tech "Tier 3" Support eventually concluded that the operating system was designed to only deploy newer versions of firmware and if you install older versions into Device Manager the operating system just ignores it. At that point Microsoft kept telling us "they were working on a solution", but after another month they gave up.

Since we knew the issue was related to installing (or failing to install) new firmware, I kept asking if Microsoft could provide a way to reinstall older firmware that worked or could force the latest firmware to reinstall while also resetting parameters that might affect the firmware's performance. Although Microsoft Tech Support insisted there are no known methods, tools or registry setting(s) that can be used to enable older versions of firmware to be reinstalled or to force the current firmware to be reinstalled again (to repair a corrupt installation) I found the following:

  1. If you know what you are doing (or install Linux) there are ways to read the UEFI's ESRT table to figure out the GUID that identifies the hardware with the corrupt firmware that you want to repair and you can use Linux software or manually deploy the firmware update using the UEFI update capsule. Unfortunately while I was able to read how people had done this, it is totally over my head.
  2. Microsoft has actually provided special registry settings that enable installation of older firmware and reinstallation of firmware. These are intended to be used by firmware software developers but can be used to repair corrupt firmware if you know what you are doing. The following web page https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/drivers/bringup/firmware-update-status talks about creating the registry key "HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FirmwareResources\{GUID}\Policy" where {GUID} needs to be replaced with the unique number for the hardware you want to reinstall firmware for. If you can find software to read the ESRT table and find the GUID for the hardware with the corrupt firmware (in my case the battery and base), you can apparently add the REG_DWORD "Policy" with a value of 1 which will enable downgrading firmware and reinstalling it. Unfortunately I didn't figure out how to read the ESRT but that was my next step.
  3. Today I discovered that 6 days ago Microsoft released a package of "Surface Tools" that include specialized tools for managing all sorts of things, including apparently firmware. These tools can be downloaded at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=46703 . I haven't tried them yet.

I'm sorry I wasn't able to provide an actual solution, but you might be able to use the above information (combined with someone well versed with computer hardware and software) to fix the problem (please share with everyone if you do succeed). Your other option is to dig through your log files (both "Event Viewer" and your Windows Update log contain details on updates), find proof that the problem was caused by a Windows Update trying to install new firmware, open a support request with Microsoft's Tech Support, and convince them to send you replacement hardware with functional firmware installed (hopefully it will not become corrupt with another firmware update...).

Good luck everyone.

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I've had the same problem.  If I press on the silver Windows logo on the back of the Clipboard, while visualizing the battery status on the screen, Battery 1 reappears.  while doing this it is possible to release the clipboard from the base.  When I release the pressure, the battery is again listed as 'not present'. 

I took it to the Microsoft Store and confirmed that this is a known problem with the battery connection in the Clipboard, and there is no solution.  My computer has never sustained any trauma or abuse.  It's a design flaw that is not supported by Microsoft.  They say it is not possible to repair it.  The only option is 'Out of warranty' replacement for $599.00.  No negotiation.

The replacement is likely a refurb with no change in the design and reasonable probability that the problem will recur.  Looks like an annuity for Microsoft.

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How is this even legal and no class action suite or something.   I mean even cars get classed as Lemon cars and recalls.  How can microsft be allowed to get away with this?

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It's a good question. I paid $2700 2 years ago for the computer and have really liked it.  The $599 to replace it is just low enough to prevent me from complaining too much.  So I'll see if I can get another 2 years out of a refurb and will likely go back to Dell.

I haven't bought an American car in 25 years because of reliability problems back then and will likely never buy another even though I know they have improved.  The same may come true with Microsoft hardware.

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Hi. Can you please update with the experience of replacing your device? I am looking to do the same (in the UK) but I am not sure what condition the replaced device will be in. Thanks

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It is likely caused by the batteries expanding as it wears out. i have tried the same to press the battery connections on the faulty surface book and i can clearly feel flex in the screen, indicating a swollen battery, but on my new surface book 2 the screen is solid, and there is zero tolerance between the screen and the motherboard. Bear in mind the press connectors are secured by screws so there shouldn't be any problems that causes it to disconnect other than the batteris expanding and stripping the threads. 

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Very interesting.  Wouldn't it be nice if the computer were serviceable, because it sounds like an easy fix, if we could get inside.  Thanks for the insight.

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