Microsoft support tells Surface Pro 2 owners firmware fix will ship Jan. 14

That's January's 'Patch Tuesday' for those keeping score at home

Microsoft support representatives have told Surface Pro 2 owners that a firmware update will be issued Jan. 14 to remedy multiple problems that cropped up after they installed a similar update a month ago.

Jan. 14 is "Patch Tuesday," when Microsoft releases its monthly security patches designed to quash vulnerabilities. The company also regularly serves up non-security fixes that day.

"Just got off a call with Surface support team and they confirmed that the new firmware will be released January 14," said someone identified as Jackabite in a message on Microsoft's online support forum Friday.

Others said they'd been told to circle the date, too.

"I just did a chat with tech support and they also confirmed the January 14 firmware release will fix the issues," wrote ro050408 later that same day.

Phra Mick Ratanapanyo chimed in Sunday: "Got off the phone with Microsoft Support today, confirmed Jan. 14 ... for the time being."

Meanwhile, Jaxbot, who also claimed to have been given the Jan. 14 date, cautioned users with, "Take it with [a grain of] salt."

WinBeta was the first to report on the Jan. 14 date cropping up in Microsoft's support forum. Microsoft neither confirmed nor denied the date, telling the website only that it would re-release the firmware update "as soon as possible," the same vague timeline it gave Computerworld and others two weeks ago.

Microsoft was unavailable for comment late Sunday.

The company released the original update on Dec. 10 -- that month's Patch Tuesday -- but Surface Pro 2 owners began complaining almost immediately that their tablets were consuming battery power much faster than before, refusing to charge completely or declining to show charging progress, and exhibiting odd behavior related to sleep mode.

A week after the firmware update was issued -- and installed by many Surface Pro 2 owners -- Microsoft pulled it from circulation.

Not all Surface Pro 2 tablets that received the Dec. 10 update have exhibited the reported symptoms, according to owners commenting on the support forum.

While some were sanguine about the wait for a fix, viewing the problems as more inconveniences than deal breakers, many were increasingly frustrated. Several said that they'd exchanged or returned their tablets.

"The problem is that it's been almost a month and no time frame," said mattbeau. "I just returned mine."

Firmware updates are especially hazardous if they go wrong, as the code stored on a device's non-volatile memory -- the "firmware" -- is required to successfully boot the device and control its components before, during and after the operating system loads. A faulty firmware update can easily "brick" a device, or render it inoperable.

Other hardware vendors have faced similar problems after issuing firmware updates -- last June, Sony pulled a PlayStation 3 firmware update when customers reported that their consoles had been crippled -- or operating system updates. For instance, iPhone owners inundated Apple's support forum with shortened battery life complaints after they installed iOS 6.1 in early 2013.

This article, Microsoft support tells Surface Pro 2 owners firmware fix will ship Jan. 14, was originally published at Computerworld.com.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

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