Surface Pro 3 display still freezes with latest driver

  • First off, I've already read the FAQ item about Surface Pro 3 display freezes:

    Early-2014 Intel HD Windows 8.1 drivers have some bugs that give problems with f.lux, and you may not have the latest one...If it's less than, you'll want to update (the early-2014 drivers that end with "3412" up to "3621" can cause slowdowns and crashes with f.lux).

    However, I have version (dated 2015-03-16, the latest display driver available through Windows Update). And even before that update, I still had problems with random display freezes using the Nov 2014 driver.

    Here's the even stranger thing - these freezes only happen when my Surface is running on battery power. I've never had a problem with it plugged in, so it seems as if this is some kind of bizarre bug related to the Intel display drivers and the Surface Pro 3's power management.

    To reiterate, the random display freezes only happen under the following circumstances:

    1. flux is running
    2. The Surface Pro 3 is on battery power

    When I exit flux, I no longer get the display freezes on battery power. For obvious reasons, however, I'm not happy with this workaround :(

    Any idea what's happening? Is this still an Intel driver issue, or is there some power management setting I should change? Any help appreciated.

  • Oh geez. Thank you for the tip about it happening on battery power, that might be a good clue. I'll take a look now.

  • Are you using any specific power conservation settings / auto brightness / external monitors sometimes / anything that might be a contributing factor? And roughly how often would you estimate the freezes are happening?

  • Thanks for your quick response. No, I'm not using any external monitors. I'm on the "Balanced" power plan, with the "Enable adaptive brightness" setting ON.

    It's really hard to me to say how often the freezes are happening. The best estimate I can offer is roughly 50-70% of the time when I'm on battery power, the display will freeze at least once (and my only option at that point is to hold the power button down until the Surface reboots)

    I think the freezes happen more often when I have either Photoshop running, or lots of browser tabs open.

    I read another thread on this forum that mentioned flux's "Safe Mode", so I tried that just now - I'm at 8% battery power, but no freeze yet (fingers crossed!) It's also daytime in my time zone at the moment, so color temperature is normal. What exactly happens when flux is in Safe Mode? You mentioned something about background-polling being turned off, and that it can affect color display. Is that something I'd only notice when flux is in Night mode?

    But getting back to the subject at hand, it's again looking like some kind of bottleneck happening somewhere between flux, the display driver, and the display's ability to refresh itself.

  • I also have a surface pro 3, i5 8gb ram, I just started running in to this issue.
    It has happened 3 times in a couple of days, I have been using visual studio on every freeze, and I've been on battery at least once, but I think I was plugged in on the other two.

  • Update: I starting setting flux to safe mode while my Surface Pro 3 is on battery power, and so far, no more freezes (knock wood!)

    Question for the flux team - what, exactly, does Safe Mode disable? Whatever it is might be the main source of the freezes (i.e. a process that doesn't play well with Intel drivers)

  • Safe mode disables all polling - specifically we don't check to make sure our settings are applied.

    Just to be sure, can you try one more thing?

    1. Turn off safe mode
    2. From "Extras" uncheck "Make screen warmer as your backlight dims"

    My suspicion is crashes will still happen, but it's another thing to rule out.

  • Also having this issue. Will be watching this thread closely. I'm on a Surface Pro 3 with i7 and 8gb RAM. I've now switched to safe mode, will see if this eliminates freezes on my end.

  • @herf Followed your instructions, and yes, freeze on battery power still happened :( I've gone back to Safe Mode, and again, no freezes. So it's definitely the polling that causes problems with the Surface Pro 3 display drivers. And if it makes any difference, the lower my battery goes (i.e. less than 40%), the more likely the freezes become (this is without Safe Mode in effect - when it's on, the display freezes don't happen even if the battery goes low enough for the "plug in your charger" warning to appear)

  • 4 days of running in safe mode, no freezes.

  • Just wanted to bump this thread and say that I was having severe freezing problems on the order of sometimes 6-10 crashes a night, sometimes as close as 10 minutes apart. Once I found this thread a couple weeks or so ago and switched to safe mode I haven't had a single crash since then. So please consider this confirmation of the bug. Hope it helps.

  • @davecan is there anything in particular you're doing on the Surface that I can try to repeat here? My Surface Pro 3 hasn't been crashing in a long time and I'm stumped on this one.

  • I have the same problem with my Surface Pro 3 in Windows 8.1. I will now try safe mode. Hopefully it will work.

  • I also have multiple issues with my surface pro 3 since I installed F.lux, especially with the pen and OneNote, making it almost unusable. Does your Onenote still work properly?

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