Newsletter Archives

  • Surface Pro 4, Surface Laptop get monster firmware/driver updates

    Yesterday Microsoft released dozens of fixes for the Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Laptop — but only for those running Win10 1709 or 1803. The update pages have all the details.

    Pradeep at MS Power User reports that

     These updates improve the overall system stability and reliability. It also includes fixes for security vulnerabilities including Microsoft security advisory ADV180012 and ADV180013.

    … although I don’t see any references to either Security Advisory in the official dumps.

    Wonder if these will fix any of the well-documented problems with the Surface Pro 4?

  • Download-only cumulative update for Win10 Creators Update, KB 4049370

    Looks like we have a tiny cumulative update for you Win10 1703 users who are still running 1703 on Surface Laptops. It’s download only — so it won’t show up in Windows Update.

    KB 4049370 will bring you up to version 15063.675. Its sole purpose, according to the KB article, is to fix a bug introduced in the Sept. 12 cumulative update:

    This release is intended for Microsoft Surface Laptop audiences only. This update includes quality improvements. No new operating system features are being introduced in this update. Key changes include:

    • Addressed issue where after installing KB4038788, some Microsoft Surface Laptops boot to a black screen. Additionally, you must press the power button for a long time to recover.

    If you bought a Surface Laptop, you have my condolences.

    Thx to Tero Alhonen.

  • IFIXIT gives the new Surface Laptop 0/10 repairability score

    Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop starts at $999.00 in the Microsoft Store.
    That price will get you a 3.1GHz i5 Intel Sky Lake processor, 4GB RAM, a 128GB SSD and Win 10 S. The top-of-the-line Surface Laptop runs $2199.00 for a 4.0GHz i7 Sky Lake processor, 16GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, and Win 10 S.

    IFIXIT recently tore down the new Surface Laptop with its Alcantara fabric-covered keyboard to determine its repairability. They gave it a score of 0/10. Yes, 0 (zero).

    Verdict: The Surface Laptop is not a laptop. It’s a glue-filled monstrosity. There is nothing about it that is upgradable or long-lasting, and it literally can’t be opened without destroying it.

    It would seem Microsoft has created a $1000.00 (minimum) disposable laptop. Read the teardown notes on

  • The latest on Windows 10 S and the Surface Laptop

    If you didn’t see the presentation this morning, you missed a world-class sales pitch from Panos Panay.

    There’s a Win10 S FAQ here. Short description: Only runs apps from the Windows Store (Office is headed to the Windows Store soon – but no details as yet). Edge is the default browser — you can use a different browser, if you can find one in the Windows Store, but can’t change the default. Bing is the default search provider in Edge (and IE!) — while you can use other search providers, you can’t choose them as defaults. You can upgrade to Win10 Pro through the Windows Store, for $49, according to Ed Bott’s overview of Win10 S. For the rest of this year, the Win10 Pro upgrade is free for Win10 S owners.

    The new Surface Laptop starts at $999 for a Kaby Lake i5, 4GB of memory, and 128GB of storage. It goes up to $2,199 for an i7, 16 GB, 512 GB. 13.5-inch 2256 x 1504 touch screen (Microsoft’s fav 3:2 ratio). Fabric covered backlit keyboard that’s drawing raves — but durability is an open question. Hello capable camera. One USB 3 port, but no USB-C. Claimed 14.5 hour battery life.

    Includes one year of Office 365 Personal. “Lapability” has been called into question by Mary Jo Foley, who uses laptops the way I use laptops. Works with the Surface Pen and hockey puck, neither of which are included in the purchase price.

    Definitely not an entry level machine. The i5 version is available on June 15 in 20 countries (per Mehedi Hassan at MSPowerUser), the i7 will come out “this summer.” Order here on the Microsoft Store site.

    You may be impressed by the USB-drive based system reconfiguration, Intune, the 3D stuff, mixed reality, Arc mouse, and whatnot. The education angle is over-worked, just like “Creators” in Creators Update, but what the heck.

    The presentation is up on this site. It’s well worth watching – but hold onto your pocketbook until we have a chance to put it through its paces.

    Official Fact Sheet

    UPDATE: Benedict Evans has a great, short summary.

    ANOTHER UPDATE: Peter Bright at Ars Technica posted a very ho-hum review.

    I’m thinking about publishing an opinion piece about it, but there are more than 30 major blogs that cover the topic. No sense adding to the noise. My overall impressions:

    • Win10 S has very few advantages over ChromeOS, and considerable disadvantages because of, you know, the Store
    • Surface Laptop is a nice but expensive traditional laptop
    • The two were put together in a marriage of convenience.

    I’m guessing that most Win10 S customers, at least in the near term, will go to Win10 Pro. I don’t think Win10 S will survive in its current state. MS is going to get a lot of “you fooled me” Scroogled reaction over the lack of an alternative browser and inability to change search engines.

    But I do like the educational stuff. Programmability in Minecraft Education looks killer.