Microsoft Surface Book 3 Intermittent Black Screen and Incompatible Graphics Drivers

I have a new Surface Book 3 (Windows 10 Professional, Version 2004) that replaced a Surface Book 2 (Win 10 Professional, Version 2004) that was having a screen flickering issue. 

Surface Book 3 (13.5") specifications:

CPU: i7-1065G7

iGPU: Intel Iris Plus Graphics (Intel Graphics driver 26.20.100.7873)

dGPU: NVidia GeForce GTX 1650 with Max-Q Design w/4GB GDDR5 graphics memory (NVidia 451.77 driver)

Memory: 32GB 3733Mhz LPDDR4x

OS: Windows 10 Professional, Version 2004

SSD: 1TB

The Surface Book 3 is only three weeks old. It has been running fine using Windows 10 Professional, Version 1909. Just recently, Windows 10, Version 2004 became available for upgrade of the Surface Book 3. Since upgrade to Version 2004, I have been experiencing intermittent "black screen" issues that occur whenever it wants to. The black screen could last from a millisecond to five seconds and then goes away. It could happen while using my Office suite or while the Surface Book 3 is just sitting idle for a few minutes. It usually happens at inconvenient times.

Yesterday, I had some time to troubleshoot the issue. Troubleshooting steps:

1. Used Device Manager to uninstall the Intel Iris Plus Graphics driver, including deleting the driver from the system and then restart. Upon restart, Windows reinstalled the same Intel graphics driver, Version 26.20.100.7873.

2. Downloaded and used the Surface Diagnostic Toolkit, but no issues were found.

3. Booted into Safe Mode with Networking Support to uninstall the Intel Iris Plus Graphics driver again, but a Microsoft Basic Display driver was installed. Upon reboot, the original Intel graphics driver, Version 26.20.100.7873, was reinstalled again.

4. Downloaded the driver and firmware msi package for Surface Book 3 from the Microsoft Surface Support website and installed it. The same Intel graphics driver was installed, but now my NVidia GeForce GTX 1650 with Max-Q driver (NVidia 451.77 driver) was uninstalled.

5. Ran the driver and firmware for Surface Book 3 package again, but the NVidia GeForce GTX 1650 driver still would not install.

6. Ran the GeForce Experience application to automatically update the NVidia GeForce GTX 1650, but while it was trying to update the driver to the most current driver from NVidia, the installation stopped and claimed that the driver is not compatible with my Windows version (2004).

7. Went to the NVidia driver support website and downloaded the two most current NVidia graphics drivers for the GTX 1650 and attempted to install them, both giving the same not compatible with Windows versions error.

8. Went to C:\Program File\Surface\Graphics to install the original NVidia Version 451.77 manually, but also received the not compatible error.

I have the capability to revert back to Windows 10 Professional, Version 1909, but I need Windows 10 Professional, Version 2004 to access my company's cloud applications.

Right now, I have no dGPU (NVidia GeForce GTX 1650 with Max-Q Design) to use with my external monitor. The iGPU (Intel Iris Plus Graphics) is experiencing black screen faults.

Bottom Line: Microsoft Surface Book 3 is not ready for the new Windows 10 Version 2004 upgrade due to iGPU (Intel Iris Plus Graphics) and dGPU (NVidia GeForce GTX 1650 with Max-Q) drivers not being compatible with Windows 10 Version 2004.  This is the top of the line Surface Book that is virtually useless because of faulty graphics drivers. The GTX 1650 GPU is completely broken because there is no driver that supports Win 10 Version 2004 and the current drivers on the NVidia driver website will not install. The Intel Iris Plus Graphics iGPU is suffering from black screen issues and it is not recommended to use the generic graphics drivers available on the Intel driver website. Why did Microsoft allow upgrade to Windows 10 Version 2004 when it is known that both GPUs are not compatible with Windows 10 Version 2004?

It is now apparent that my Surface Book 2 was suffering from the same Win 10 Version 2004 issue, so I wasted almost $3,000 buying the Surface Book 3 to fix the flickering screen Book 2 problem.

Fixes required:

1. New Intel Iris Plus Graphics driver that is compatible with Windows 10 Version 2004

2. New NVidia GeForce GTX 1650 with Max-Q driver that is compatible with Windows 10 Version 2004

Reverting back to Windows 10 Version 1909 is not an acceptable solution. When are the new graphics drivers becoming available. Why is Microsoft blocking the NVidia GeForce GTX 1650 drivers from installing on the NEW Surface Book 3.  Please assist.

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Here's a thread I opened about this some while ago.

The solution I found was the following:

Download the latest driver from here: 

https://downloadcenter.intel.com/product/197532

As I mentioned in other posts: Be aware that Windows Update will downgrade the Intel Graphics drivers... I have to block the updates constantly to avoid this! If the black screens return, then it probably means that the drivers were reverted to an older version.

Also, one thing I did was, to go to Device Manager and uninstall the iGPU drivers several times until a "Microsoft Generic Adapter" appears. Then I install the latest drivers for the iGPU.

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f-hoelderlin, thanks for the response. I thought about installing the latest generic Intel Iris Plus graphics driver, but you cannot roll it back if it doesn't work properly with the Surface Book 3. Microsoft customizes its Surface Book 3 graphics drivers to work properly with the machine, so I would rather get the new driver from Microsoft. This is upsetting to pay so much for this machine after already spending a bundle on the top of the line Surface Book 2 that had a screen flickering problem, which now I am certain was caused by upgrading to Windows 10 Version 2004 as well. I have to keep Windows Update on in my line of work or else the company's cloud network will not allow connection. For the money I paid, I want this machine to work properly. With all of the complaints that I have already read online, Microsoft is setting itself up for customer legal action if they do not take action on this. I'm sure that the folks that purchase these high-end machines can also afford legal counsel. Thanks again for your feedback.

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Well, then I hope you won't wait too long until M$ fixes these severe issues.

The reaction time from M$ is horrible. They are taking too much time to fix this. I'm not an Apple fan-boy, but please M$ learn something with them: you too manufacture the hardware and develop the software; a Microsoft computer should be the best optimized device in terms of hardware Vs software.

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Well, I had no choice. I had to revert back to Windows 10 Professional, Version 1909. The Surface Book 3 is now working perfectly. It is a good thing that I reverted back now because after 15 days post-Version 2004 upgrade, I would not be able to revert back. This is by Microsoft design. Microsoft needs to fix the iGPU and dGPU drivers to work with Windows 10 Version 2004. It's a shame that it cost me over $7,000 to figure this out. The Surface Book 2 has the same problem and I was too late to revert back to Windows 10, Version 1909 with my Surface Book 2. Microsoft this is shameful since you are the OEM for both Windows 10 and the Surface Book. Get your act together.

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Let me know if you find any fix... 

As I reported in another post, the black screens and flickering are back, even using the latest iGPU drivers. I have been using the MS Office suite more intensively and... it's a mess: black screens all the time and flickering. BTW I'm using Office 2019.

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Has Anyone tried this? Disabling the Office suite control of the graphics processor:

Solution to strange display or black screen when using Office programs – DotCIO - IT Services and Support Center (rpi.edu)

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I have done this it does not solve completely the problem. It  only reduces the frequency that it happens.

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Thank you for sharing this information.  I have the same issues on my SB3, and it's quite annoying.  Unfortunately, I upgraded to 2004 too long ago to be able to roll it back.  We need for Microsoft to fix this issue, but so far I've seen no response from them that indicates that they even understand the issue.  In other forums, the MS representatives just say the same things about making sure the device is up to date on Windows patches and upgrades.

I'm not sure if you've discovered this yet, but when the screen goes black, I can get it back immediately by pressing the volume up/down button.  That's better than having to wait for the screen to return, but it's not a solution.  This issue definitely undermines my confidence in the Surface Book.  It's very disappointing that their "flagship" device handles these system updates no better, and sometimes worse, than their competitors.

Here's hoping that MS works with Intel and Nvidia to get this fixed soon!

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My problem is that after the black screens usually it comes the flickering... this makes the computer completely useless.

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I've had the same problems as those everyone has described on this thread (random black screens, then flickering).

I called Microsoft, and the technician recommended that I wipe the machine and reinstall Windows, which I did.  After that, when Windows updated to the latest version again, the black screens/flickering recurred.  I called the technician back, and he recommended replacing the whole machine under warranty, which was done.  I guess he thought it was a hardware issue.  Turns out it's not a hardware issue.  With a brand new machine, after upgrading to the latest version of Windows, the problem has recurred again.  It has been months since Windows 10 version 2004 was released.  It is inexcusable for Microsoft to take so long to resolve this problem - especially for a premium-priced machine like SB3.

For now, I have turned off hardware acceleration in Microsoft Office, Microsoft Teams, and Microsoft Edge.  After having done all of those steps, the black screens/flickering are much reduced.  For those that are having trouble, this might be a temporary solution (other than backing out Win10 version 2004), at least until the drivers are fixed.

Is anybody from Microsoft monitoring this thread?  Can we have some answers, please?

I loved my Surface Book 1, and it led to me upgrading to a Surface Book 3.  But this experience is making me think twice about ever buying Microsoft hardware again.

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Last updated April 15, 2021 Views 778 Applies to: