Did Microsoft admit that Surface Pro 4 Flickergate is a hardware problem?

The infamous problem with screen flicker and shaking on the Surface Pro 4 – a problem so ubiquitous it spawned the flickergate.com web site – may be nearing a resolution. Finally.

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Blair Hanley Frank

I’ve been talking about the Surface Pro 4 flickering and shaking problem since October 2015. In April 2017 it became clear that Microsoft had disavowed any problem, much less offered a solution. Now, a year later, we may have a breakthrough.

The problem, as many already know, involves a persistent screen flicker that seems to worsen over time. There’s a graphic demonstration of the issue on the flickergate.com website.

If you have a Surface Pro 4, you’ve probably been tracking the various threads in the Microsoft Answers Forum such as this one, which now stands at 1,600+ replies. I have no idea exactly how many customers were affected, but the number’s certainly quite large.

One Microsoft moderator posted as recently as March 19 that:

We are aware that some customers have experienced a screen flicker on Surface Pro 4 and are monitoring the situation closely.

Microsoft reps on the Answers Forum may have received more guidance this week on the issue. Or perhaps they have just started repeating what an MVP has been telling customers for months. Today, one of the paid outsourced support agents posted:

You can try to get to the UEFI settings and observe if the screen still flickers, if yes, it's definitely hardware related. You may talk to our Answer Desk team for further assistance.

Barb Bowman, Microsoft MVP and Community Moderator in the Surface Forum, has been telling customers for months that if the monitor shakes while you’re looking at the UEFI screen, it’s not going to be fixed by software.

Meanwhile, there are other paid agents who still post steps that are unlikely to have any impact. For example:

You can opt to troubleshoot this further by performing a two-button reset. This process restarts the device with all software packages running properly.

Which is demonstrably twiddle – frequently-debunked twiddle.

Sadly, most of the flickering devices are now out of warranty and the only recourse is to pay for an exchange. With an exchange, you get a refurbished device that comes with a short 90-day warranty. Some buyers who spent money for an exhange have returned to report that the refurbs start exhibiting the shaking behavior – after the 90 days is up, of course.

Do you have a Surface Pro 4? Love it or hate it, sound off on the AskWoody Lounge.

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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