Why aren't Microsoft updating display drivers on Surface products? Display flicker or artefacts when editing photos or using VisualStudio dark UI themes etc..

I have a surface pro and surface book 2 both are excellent products let down by Microsoft not updating the display driver past 2018

Both have screen flickering issues described in other posts that Microsoft have had people tweak registry keys for and both have had BSOD for display issues with Skype when doing group chat!!!

I'm running latest version of windows 10 fully up to date with all the latest available drivers installed for the surface book 2 and the display driver is still showing as 2018 date. I discussed this with Microsoft technical support who were clueless or arrogant not sure which, and I attempted to document progress I made in the following thread with the Skype team (who seemed much more helpful!) here: bugcheck was: 0x00000119 when using latest version of Skype on - Microsoft Community 

To be honest this is getting ridiculous as Microsoft aren't supporting their own device products that cost a premium over other manufacturers.

Even with the registry patch I'm still getting display flicker when using photo editing software (when editing photos) or visual studio in dark modes, and this is beyond annoying, it is almost impossible to edit a photo that requires the screen to be in a constant state to make adjustments so this basically means I can't edit photos on my hugely expensive machine!

I'm now going down the route of trying to force Intel vendor drivers that are released almost monthly and right up to Apr 2020 to see if this helps (it did fix the Skype bugcheck in the above thread) but this is __unacceptable__ Microsoft are basically ripping off their customers and DON'T CARE!

Hi ukbd,

Thank you for reaching out to Microsoft Community. I have raised this concern or question internally. We'll get back once we have updates on this.

For now, please try these steps also to troubleshoot the issue with the screen flicker and Skype BSOD:

1: Run Surface Diagnostic Toolkit and check Windows Update

2: Update drivers and firmware

                               Check what is the current OS Build of your Windows version by going to Settings > System > About.

                               Go to Download driver and firmware for Surface, choose Surface Book 2 then click Download on the next page.

                               Choose the .msi file that matches your current OS Build and click Next.

                               After downloading, run and install the .msi then Restart.

3: Run System File Checker Tool in Windows 10

Please update us also if the updating the driver directly from Intel worked.

Thank you and we'll keep you posted.

Kind Regards,

Marrion Y.

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Hi and thanks for getting back to me.

1) The Intel driver for Apr 2020 fixed the issue for the Skype BSOD on the surface pro. I linked the tread on the Skype channel for completeness but strongly recommend Microsoft roll this driver out to its customers please.

2) The surface book 2 screen flicker issue seems to be improved by the Intel Apr 2020 driver

   Windows version: 10.0.18363 Build 18363

   New Intel driver version: 26.20.100.7985

   BIOS version: 389.2837.768

   System SKU Surface_Book_1793

Latest drivers and firmware from: SurfaceBook2_Win10_18362_20.012.20538.0.msi


- is the latest available driver from Intel. 

- has helped but not eliminated the screen flickering issue

- Apps with dark UI aspects such as Visual Studio and specifically Affinity Photo when editing photos (where you want the dark interface for less distraction) seem to be most affected. 

Problem occurs when you have large darkish grey aspects to the application UI. In this case the screen starts flickering which I can only describe as off putting at best in visual studio but it is impossible to use in Photo apps like Affinity because you are trying to make subtle adjustments which cannot be completed when the display brightness and contrast is shifting perpetually.

I did read the article about setting the registry key FeatureTestControl for the original 2018 driver see: Brightness flickering on your Surface Laptop or Surface Pro? Here's a fix

- this did not seem to help my case (UPDATE: this didn't fix the issue with the original Microsoft circa. 2018 driver for me see new reply below to see the fix that works as of April 2020), that is why I replaced the driver with the Intel driver (UPDATE: this also stopped the proposed registry tweak / fix in the post above working).

- unfortunately whilst the Intel driver seems to help quite a bit, especially with visual studio (UPDATE: actually I was getting confirmation bias, this didn't help with VS at all) unfortunately I still get display flicker when using the photography apps and this is the one real use case that really needs the fix.

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I have managed to find a fix for this issue : TURN OFF the awful driver feature that causes it! Only available in new Intel drivers, see gripe about Microsoft not updating them and hiding the feature toggle in the first place!

My own investigation notes:

1/ does not seem to be hardware _fault_

1.1/ I highlight fault because this is supposedly a _feature_ and I guess in some regards this is a useful enhancement to some people who would not notice the glitching of the display (e.g. during gameplay).

1.2/ The issue is a software (driver) / hardware feature for power saving (so the claim makes out!) that is to blame.

2/ Turning the feature off involves:

2.1/ Installing the latest Intel driver (follow the instructions in the other post) unless Microsoft pull their finger out and actually release an update with the fix?

2.2/ Open the Intel Graphics Command Center, make sure the driver is something like 26.21.14.4219 or latest you can get for your device, the Intel Command Center provides some indication if you are running the latest driver.

2.3/ Go to the System Panel -and then> Power tab (told you it was hidden)

2.4/ Scroll to 'Display Power Savings' under 'OnBattery' and toggle this to 'OFF' ** problem is now solved! **

This issue that should never have occurred (esp. on a £3000 device!) and Intel are to blame here as much as Microsoft for hiding the feature toggle in their driver implementation! Simply put the software driver should have asked what the intended use of the surface book etc. is for so that as a graphics / photographer / visual studio editor etc. user you would say NO I don't want this nonsense power saving feature making my life miserable. And if you are a game player / movie buff then you say YES I would like enhanced battery life please at the expense of screen flicker and colour noise in my other applications.

___

Microsoft (and Intel if you are listening) please fix this with clear explanation and simple UI toggles. In the latest driver (note: the latest Intel driver does at least have a feature toggle hidden away nicely with an obscure description making it sound like there are no side effects!). Note that this issue is made worse by Microsoft not updating Surface hardware drivers to the latest generation *(see gripe about them being 2018!!!, it's 2020 now folks!) 

___

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@Microsoft please acknowledge that this issue exists and consider a KB for the Surface product line up. a quick search in google and you'll see lots of your customers experiencing this problem, and the solution is now documented above.

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Last updated April 5, 2021 Views 494 Applies to: