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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
04/12/13 Featured Arkansas Photography–Midday autumn calm along the Buffalo River
13 Apr 2013
Taken with a Nikon D800e, Nion 24mm 1.4 lens @ F7.1 1/250 of a sec shutter speed, iso 200. On this day, the conditions were constantly changing. I had been up on top of Roark Bluff most of the morning, but a large mass of clouds rolled in and pretty much shut things down for […]
11/12/15 Featured Arkansas Landscape Photography–Haw Creek falls in Autumn
12 Nov 2015
Taken with a Canon 1ds MkI, and and Canon 24-70 lens, iso 200. I had to dig back a few years to find this, as it goes back to 2004, but since […]
07/30/12 Featured Arkansas Photography–How much is that Kitty in the Window?
30 Jul 2012
Taken with a Canon G10, iso 100, 44.4mm, 1/400 of second. During one my trips to visit my older daughter while she was enrolled at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville I was able to catch this shot. We were walking along the Dixon street which has a lot of great character and I glanced […]
Richland Creek in Autumn–12/18/14 Featured Arkansas Landscape Photography
19 Dec 2014
Taken with a Phase One IQ160, Rodenstock 28mm HR lens, F11 for approximately 1 second, iso 50. Richland Creek, which runs from Newton County to the Buffalo River near Woolum Ford, has some of the most beautiful photographic subject matter in Arkansas, if you love creeks. Here you can find huge rocks that have ended […]
12/15/15 Featured Arkansas Landscape Photography–Big water at Cedar Falls on Petit Jean Mountain
15 Dec 2015
Taken with a Phase One P45+, Mamiya 35mm F 3.5 lens, for approx 1 second, with a circular polarizer, ISO 50. The view of Cedar Falls on Petit Jean mountain is always impressive, but when you have a lot of water and fall colors, well, it just gets better. There was almost too much water […]
08/20/14 Featured Arkansas Photography–Bliss
20 Aug 2014
Taken with a Fuji X-T1, 14mm lens @ F4, iso 400. Not too much to say on this one, I wanted to test out the new 14mm lens I had picked up for my Fuji X-T1 and my dog scout was totally engrossed in the testing as you can tell. Dogs can make life seem […]
Mt. Magazine morning Vista–12/14/14 Featured Arkansas Photography
14 Dec 2014
Taken with a Phase One IQ260 & Rodenstock 28mm HR lens, with an Arca rm3di, image created by combining 2 nodal pans. Mt. Magazine, which is the highest spot in Arkansas at around 2700 feet, has some wonderful views. One of the best is from from rock ledge below the Lodge where you have a […]
01/04/17 Featured Arkansas Photography–Sunset from Calico Rock on the White River
4 Jan 2017
Taken with a Phase One IQ100 back and Phase One XF camera @ 35mm LS lens, @ ISO 100 Single frame with a lot of push in the shadows. The view of the White River from Calico Rock is one of the best in the state. Here you have a huge sweeping bend in the […]
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 […]
03/14/13 Review of the Breathing Color Stretch Relief Pliers
14 Mar 2013
04/24/13 I have added some new information to this article in regards to working with the stretch relief pliers and 2″ stretcher bars you can read more about it here: When working with inkjet canvas, by far one of the most time consuming aspects of the workflow is the process of stretching the canvas. Inkjet […]
07/17/13 IQ260 Arrives in Little Rock Arkansas–The unboxing
12 Sep 2013
I can remember back when I was a fan of collecting watches, when someone purchased a new watch, they always published an “unboxing”. I never did it for a watch, but did go ahead for the IQ260. I am pretty sure this is the first one in Arkansas and I am very happy to be […]
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, […]
01/08/14 Problems with Drobo 5D after upgrading past Firmware 3.0.7
8 Jan 2014
This information was originally posted to my blog back in October of 2013. However I am still receiving emails from other users who have run into this same problem with both Win7 64 bit and now Win8 64 bit and USB 3 connectivity. I would strongly recommend you do not upgrade your Drobo 5D unless […]
01/04/14 Some issues for IQ260 and IQ280 owners on the Wifi top cover
6 Jan 2014
This only applies to photographers that purchased a IQ260 (possibly IQ280) early in the product life. I would say back to about July to October of 2013. One of the features of the IQ2 backs is the built in Wifi capabilities. When you first get the back, you will notice that the top has a […]
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 […]
D800 Reticulation issues during night photography–white dot problems
2 Aug 2013
I have been using the Nikon D800e now for about 10 months in outdoor night photographic work. Recently I have noticed a disturbing issue with the results which I believe look very much like reticulation errors from the old darkroom days. If you over processed a B&W negative during the you could get a […]