Microsoft has no response to Surface Pro 4 screen flickers

More reports of an odd, major flicker that comes and goes with updates -- with no adequate response from Microsoft

Microsoft has no response to Surface Pro 4 screen flickers
Hrvoje Abraham Milićević

After pages and pages of complaints in the Microsoft Answers forum, Microsoft has yet to come up with a fix, or even an acknowledgment, of the Surface Pro 4 screen shaking problem. This isn't a pen jitter, which is common enough. It's a full-on shaking of the screen itself, without provocation.

Like so many Surface developments, not-so-benign neglect seems to be the support approach of the day.

The earliest report of the problem that I can find goes more than a year ago when Dmitriy1986 posted a video of the shake on YouTube.

On Oct. 15 AndreLegendre posted on the Answers forum:

My Surface pro 4 screen recently started flickering jumping. It started a little while after the anniversary update. It was fine prior to this.

If I have a full screen application like a game open, I do not see the issue, but once I minimize, the problem is there. It comes and goes whenever. There is no pattern. I did notice that it happens more often with an external monitor plugged in. It did get noticeably better since updating to 14393.222 but since updating to 14393.321 it has gotten worse again.

In late December JaewooJang noted:

It's been almost two weeks that I had a shaking screen problem in the only bottom part of the screen. I think it has been jittering ever since the last update. Sometimes, jittering goes away like normal. I never dropped or anything. So, I reset my surface pro 4 (all files removed). However, I still have the problem. I am afraid it is a hardware issue because I don't have any warranty anymore.

Microsoft's support response was to take it to a Microsoft Store.

In January, Seongjoo Jung posted:

My first SP4 worked fine until last October when the screen shook and froze vigorously, and showed thin horizontal lines on the top of the screen. I contacted Microsoft support and changed my SP4 with a refurbished SP4. My second SP4 made clicking noises when the fan span and I had to get another refurbished product. What I'm using is my THIRD SP4, and upon two months of usage it's screen is shaking and horizontal lines on the top of the screen is appearing again.

He, too, posted a YouTube video. He, too, received a stock response to contact the Surface Answer Desk.

In response to a similar complaint from JasminSingh, MVP Barb Bowman advised:

I was told that screen shaking is usually a phantom touch problem.  An easy way to test for this is to bring up an app like paint and full-screen it, then see if the device is registering touch inputs periodically. If it is a phantom touch problem, you can try the steps here.

Speculation on that thread now runs toward rogue software updates or congenitally buggy hardware.

The major Answers forum thread on the topic, started in January by AbbasHaroon, is now up to 13 pages. Today, LukeDavis posted:

So I have the same issue too with my SP4 i7 256GB 8GB RAM model. Issue started around a month or so ago. It occurs almost immediately on computer boot up now and only stops when there is activity on the display.

Out of warranty, phone up MS UK support and no help apart from wanting to charge me. I have downgraded/updated Windows, drivers for display etc - all not working. It would appear to be either a hardware defect or firmware, but at this rate its impossible to tell. Really poor considering all of us seem to have the same issue.

He, too, has a convincing recording of the problem on YouTube.

We still have no idea if it's a hardware or a software problem. If anybody at Redmond knows, they aren't saying.

Lots of reported problems. No identified answers. Sounds a lot like the lingering problem with Surface Pro 3 batteries -- not "batterygate," but a problem that's still unsolved -- with the main Answers forum thread on that problem up to 18 pages.

Folks thinking about buying a Surface Pro should certainly familiarize themselves with these problems and Microsoft's responses to them.

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