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07/08/13 Power Management and WiFi issues on Surface Pro 3–A way to get a more consistent Wifi Connection
With their release of the new Surface Pro 3, Microsoft has definitely created a winner. This new form factor with a larger LCD, and thinner form factor will be turning a lot of heads. However there seems to be one glitch, WiFi drops. I have had my Surface Pro 3 now for about 2 weeks and during the first week, I was driven crazy with the WiFi, constantly dropping, reacquiring and dropping the connection. It happened enough that I was considering returning the unit, thinking that the WiFi on the system was defective. I also own the Surface Pro 2 and the WiFi on it has been rock solid from day 1. When I checked the WiFi driver for the Surface Pro 3 (S-Pro3) I noticed it was also the Marvell driver, so it’s safe to assume it’s pretty much the same WiFi that is on the Surface Pro 2 (S-Pro2). Net, I didn’t think it was a driver issue.
Microsoft did release a large driver/firmware update on 06/14/14, and my unit was running the 05/27/14 driver/firmware. I went ahead and upgraded that, but it did not really seem to make a difference. Then I learned about Hyper-V
One thing that is different about the S-Pro3 is how Microsoft implemented the Power Management. When you go to Power Management options you will no longer find the “power saver” and “high performance” options. Instead all you will find is the “balanced” option. You also don’t have as many options to fine tune the power management. With the current setup, Microsoft has tried to create a power plan for when the S-Pro3 is running on battery that gives maximum life to the batter, and in doing so, they created a plan that does not give a constant enough power supply to the WiFi, so it momentarily drops thus losing the connection. You can read more about this new power plan design here, Microsoft available power plans.
The key is getting your S-Pro3 to allow all three of the power plans, and do to that, you have to enable Hyper-V.
In this screen shot, you can see I have now enabled all 3 of the power options, which are normally available for all laptop devices. With this done, you can now customize the power options for all 3 plans, especially how much power is given to the WiFi card.
To enable Hyper-V, first go to the main screen of the control panel and select “Programs and Features”, once you have done this you should have a screen that looks like this:
Notice up on the left corner there is a area titled: “Turn Windows features on or off”. Click on this, and you will get this screen:
On your S-Pro3, Hyper-V should be “unchecked”. To enable it, place a check in the box. You will get a few screens showing that you have enabled Hyper-V, and the S-Pro3 will need to reboot once you enable Hyper-V. Once the S-Pro3 has rebooted, you can find two new entries on the main programs screen of Windows 8.1 as shown in the screen shot below.
Notice there is now an entry for “Hyper V Management Tools and underneath it two items are listed.
Now to fix the issue with the WiFi power, just go back to the main screen of Control Panel and select “Power Options”
Once you select this, you now will see all three power options available, 1. Power saver, 2. Balanced, 3. High Performance.
Select any of the 3 options by clicking on “Change Plan Settings” to the right of the power option. This will allow you to bring up the screen where you can alter the plan’s settings which should look like this:
Click on “change advanced power settings: and you will see this screen:
Once you have the smaller screen open, line down until you find the “Wireless Adapter Settings” option, open it and here you now have various options for the amount of power that the WiFi adapter will get, I changed mine to “Maximum Performance”.
Once you do this, your WiFi will no longer drop the connection and the experience of the Surface Pro 3 will be much more enjoyable.
It’s quite clear Microsoft played some games here to attempt to reach the 9 hour battery life claims on the Surface Pro 3. It’s also clear to me that this laptop/tablet did not get tested fully and was rushed to the market, a sign of the times. I believe that Microsoft will attempt a software fix to existing Surface Pro 3 units but more than likely over time they will change out both hardware, firmware and software to tweak this issue. This is unfortunate for the early adopters like myself, since we will never be able to reach the maximum potential of the machine. I understand that hardware and software tweaks will happen in the life of a laptop, but this is a bit overboard to me.
Currently, with Hyper-V enabled, the battery life of my Surface Pro 3 is just about the same as on the Surface Pro 2, around 4 hours of normal use with the screen at 1/2 of total brightness. The Surface Pro 3 has an adaptive brightness feature, that when enabled will not allow the screen to be on Maximum brightness on battery no matter where the screen slider is. Again you have to go back to the Hyper-V settings box and turn the Adaptive brightness OFF.
The fact that Microsoft officially claims that the “only power option for the Surface Pro 3 is the balanced option” is true if you run your machine with Hyper-V off. From what I can tell Hyper-V is unique to Windows 8.1, as I cannot find any such setting under Windows 7 64 bit. With the older Surface Pro 2 you had all three options available, but with HYPER-V OFF. NOTE I WROTE OFF. So something has changed in the layout of the Surface Pro 3.
I have heard rumors that a major update to the power management will happen sometime in the July 15th time frame. I am not sure what this entails, more than likely it might take away the ability to turn on Hyper-V knowing how Microsoft works, so I will pass on that update for a while.
By turning on Hyper-V I have found that the Surface Pro 3 runs much more reliably especially with WiFi connections. It’s pretty clear to me that the “9 hour” battery life is just another marketing ploy and you should not make a purchase decision based on that.
- 03/27/17 Featured Arkansas Photography–Sunset and Moonrise at Calico Rock on the White River March 26, 2017
- 01/04/17 Featured Arkansas Photography–Sunset from Calico Rock on the White River January 4, 2017
- 10/14/16 Featured Arkansas Landscape Photography–Sunrise from the summit of Mt. Magazine October 13, 2016
- 09/27/16 Featured Arkansas Landscape Photography–Late afternoon at Roark Bluff Buffalo River September 26, 2016
- 09/22/16 Featured Arkansas Landscape Photography–Sunset at Calico Rock on the White River September 22, 2016
- 09/21/16 Featured Arkansas landscape photography–6 finger falls on Falling Water Creek September 21, 2016
- 03/27/17 Review of one of my shots from Calico Rock with the Fuji GFX–Great dynamic range March 26, 2017
- 03/23/17 Fuji Sales Managers in the UK are talking up the GFX–A few thoughts March 23, 2017
- 03/22/17 Dpreview takes a 180 degree opinion on the GFX–my thoughts March 22, 2017
- 03/15/17 Fujifilm GFX 50S–An example of excellent Dynamic Range March 15, 2017
- 03/11/17 Feedback on Fuji GFX 50s–A great start for Fuji with Medium Format March 12, 2017
- 10/14/16 Fall starting to show it’s colors in Arkansas, but still a lot more needs to happen October 13, 2016
Featured Arkansas Photography
02/21/14 Featured Arkansas Landscape Photography–Moonset and sunrise over Downtown Little Rock
22 Feb 2014
Taken with a Nikon D800 Nikon 14-24 Lens at 20mm, F 7.1, 1/20th of sec exposure, ISO 200. Photograph developed from a single file. The view of Downtown Little Rock is a great place to catch a sunrise especially if you can find the Arkansas River still to allow for the best reflections. I made […]
05/25/16 Six Finger Falls on Falling Water Creek–Featured Arkansas Landscape Photography
26 May 2016
Taken in two frames with a Phase One IQ100 and Phase One 35mm LS lens, raw files developed in Capture One, panorama stitching in Lightroom. We had driven up to 6 finger falls to attempt a night shoot, which did not work out due to the clouds that rolled in, however during the sunset, the […]
09/11/12 Featured Arkansas Photography–Falling Water Falls in Searcy County
11 Sep 2012
Taken with a Canon 1ds MKII, Canon 24-70 lens @24mm, F14 for approximately .5 seconds, iso 100. Falling water falls is one of the easier spots to get to in Arkansas. You can drive right up to it! Unfortunately this works against photography since you almost never find these falls without someone standing at the […]
08/06/14 Featured Arkansas Photography–Autumn afternoon on Richland Creek
6 Aug 2014
Taken with a Nikon D800e, Nikkor 24mm 1.4 lens at F 5.0, for a 5 second total exposure. The autumn in Arkansas can be one of the most beautiful times to be out photographing the state. The Ozark mountains are cut by thousands of small creeks and hundreds of larger ones like Richland. Richland however […]
12/04/12 Featured Arkansas Photography–Fall Scene along Falling Water Creek
4 Dec 2012
Taken with a Canon 1DS MKII, Canon 24-70 Lens @ 24mm, F11, iso 100. If you have the time, one of the best short hikes in Arkansas is along Falling Water Creek. You can find plenty of small waterfalls along the way. The best place to start is from the Falling Water Falls waterfall on […]
02/21/2013 Featured Arkansas Photography–Night skies over Twin Rivers Park
22 Feb 2013
Taken with a Nikon D800e, 14-24 lens@ 17mm, F4.5, iso 400. Image is the result of a series of 35 second frames that were stacked together. Well, it’s been a while since I put up anything new, and I do have my reasons, but I am going to try and get a bit more current. […]
10/06/13 Featured Arkansas Photography–Sunset from Cameron Bluff on Mt. Magazine
7 Oct 2013
Taken with a Nikon D800e, Nikkor 14-24 lens at 14mm F11, iso 100, for approximately 1/250th of a second. Mt. Magazine at 2,700 feet is the tallest spot in Arkansas, and what is so interesting is that it’s south of the Arkansas River, and much closer to the Ouachita Mountains than the rest of the […]
09/21/16 Featured Arkansas landscape photography–6 finger falls on Falling Water Creek
21 Sep 2016
Taken with a Phase One IQ100 and 35mm LS lens, 2 part horizontal pano. Taken in 4 shots to merge later for foreground and background in Helicon Focus Arkansas has many great streams to hike but one of the best is Falling Water Creek, which is well named as it has a large number of […]
01/23/14 Drobo does care–A revisit to my original complaints with support for my Drobo 5D
23 Jan 2014
Recently, I wrote a article about the issues I had with Drobo Corp. in regards to the trouble that occurred when I attempted to upgrade the firmware on my Drobo 5D. Not long after I wrote that article I was contacted directly by Drobo by a phone call. They had read my article and were […]
Equipment in Use–Nikon MB-D12 Grip for D800
20 Jul 2012
Click on any of the thumbnails for a larger view of the image. Since I purchased my Nikon D800, I have added the new Nikon MB-D12 battery grip. I am planning to write a full review of the grip in use with the D800, but this is a quick view of the grip. The pictures […]
03/30/13 Adding a Grip Extension to a Arca Swiss Rm3di–Getting a better handle on things
31 Mar 2013
One of the more unique aspects of the Arca rm3di camera are the orange/yellow horizontal and vertical grips. These grips are made from a smooth plastic material that seems very durable. However the grip for the vertical extension has one rather minor issue, clearance for fingers around the grip. Arca does not allow for any […]
09/23/14 Using Stacking for better Night Photography results
23 Sep 2014
I have found that working at night in Arkansas can bring out some amazing photographic opportunities, like the photograph below. Since early in 2008 I have been fascinated by one facet of night photography—the creation of star trail photographs. Capturing the motion of the earth over a period of time and blending the […]
The Arca Swiss DSLR-2–A perfect companion to the Sony A7r (Part 1-camera review)
7 Nov 2014
Authors note: Since this review was written, Arca has started to ship the new Universalis. This is a smaller and more compact version of the DSLR2, which will have some new features and functions, however the basic operations of the Universalis will mirror the DSLR2. For the landscape photographer, one camera in the […]
Fuji X-Trans Raw Conversions–Which is best Lightroom or Capture One
27 Oct 2015
In 2015, Arkansas did not present a good color display really anywhere throughout the state. Since July Arkansas has been short on rainfall and the month of September and first half of October no measurable rain fell in the state. Most of the trees just turned brown. There were some spots that held OK color, […]
02/12/2014 The First Testing of the IQ250 on a tech camera–Most impressive results in fact it’s game changer
12 Feb 2014
As posted on this site and many others, Phase One, about 2 weeks ago, announced the IQ250, the worlds first CMOS digital Medium format back. The announcement also stunned quite a few folks out there when it was discovered that Sony was the chip being used, not a Dalsa. Dalsa has been the main chip […]
01/29/14 Why I didn’t purchase a Sony A7r
30 Jan 2014
When Sony Announced the A7r I was very impressed. In the past Sony has produced some very impressive camera solutions and I was almost moved enough by the A99 DSLR to purchase one. However my local dealer, Bedford Photo in Little Rock Arkansas, pointed me toward the fact that Sony was working on a full […]