March FW update failed - doesn't come back

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Pro 2' started by reach, Mar 16, 2014.

  1. reach

    reach Member

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    Hi there,
    my device did install the march updates automatically and it worked apart from the FW.
    Now I see the failed FW in the update history but it just doesn't try to update it again.
    Any way to force that?
     
  2. aceattack

    aceattack New Member

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    Have you tried following the steps that worked for the December firmware update when it failed for so many SP2 users? Maybe it will work this time as well.

    Right click on the start button or hit WIN + X, and select Run. Type in CMD and hit enter. Then type in NET STOP WUAUSERV
    ​Delete: C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\DataStore\datastore.edb
    Open start menu and type DISK CLEANUP and choose CLEAN UP SYSTEM FILES. Make sure that windows software updates are selected and perform disk cleanup. This will take a few minutes.
    Reboot your device
    Run windows update, all history will be gone but it will detect the firmware update again and this time it will install successfully.
     
  3. reach

    reach Member

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    oh yes, the old trick for the Dec. update, I almost forgot that. Thx!
    Tried it now: it didn't take a few minutes, but over an hour. After that the auto-update reported the Feb. Firmware and the usual defender update. Nothing else. Very interesting.
     
  4. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes Well-Known Member

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    March update was pulled. Unlike the December firmware mess, Microsoft offers the February firmware to those who wants to go back.
    (I guess in the January firmware update they added the ability to go backwards, or just didn't want to take any chance at the time, to avoid making the situation worse).

    Despite some people like myself, installed the March firmware without a hitch, and everything is working as it should (minus the known issues).
    Some people have had issues. It seams that Microsoft has a bunch of hardware revision (same hardware, more or less (SSD might be a different manufacture), but different manufacture revision), and things don't play along well with some combinations.

    Well, we kinda knew what we were getting into, Microsoft is only 2 years at it, compared to Dell, HP, Lenovo, and so one with years upon years of knowledge and expertise. At least, this this, for those who have problems, they can go back to February update and enjoy their device as it was.

    I think Microsoft will change it's partners for the Surface Pro 3, as the current ones don't seam to know how to do reliable products.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  5. jrapdx

    jrapdx Member

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    Could be useful, are there instructions?

    It is an old custom--using customers as beta testers. It was a real problem back in the 90's. Still have old versions of Photoshop (v2.0) that were quite buggy and incomplete, but at the time cost a bundle anyway.

    I understand new products may not be fully realized out of the gate, but when I bought the SP2, no, I did not know what I was getting into. Sure, every device has glitches, but incidents like the confidence-shaking "Dec 10 FW" were totally unimaginable. No wonder so many SP2 owners remain edgy.

    A manufacturer with the resources of MS has less "excuse" for marginal implementation of a product even if it's new for them. There's plenty of expertise to tap, and MS could afford to pay for the R&D. I believe the dominant opinion around here is MS has made more than its share of missteps.

    On the positive side as I see it, MS has made progress, the SP2 I own is more stable now than 2 months ago, and my hope is it will continue improve and become as usable as I anticipated it would be when I bought it. ATM we're about halfway there.

    An excellent plan, that is, MS needs to step up its game regarding which suppliers, and components, it chooses to use. I think the WiFi/BT components would be a good place to start. On my wish list, and it may well not happen, a replaceable battery would be superb. The Touch/Type Covers are another candidate for revision. And getting the firmware really firm before it goes on the market would be a real blessing.
     
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  6. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes Well-Known Member

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    Do Windows Updates, and it should be there.


    While I can't comment on Adobe case. But usually companies do their best to provide a bug free experience at release. Video games is another story, as they are pressured by publishers to release a game at a specific date to maximize sales so that the game isn't over shadowed by some other big title. The problem with providing a bug free software is that it is impossible, especially when it's large scale, as usually, each feature of a software as is will work, but a certain combination of previous action might cause a problem, despite their best intention to have no relation between things and have everything in components. We are humans after all.


    I admit, the December update was unexpected. I kinda put that one in "Those rare cases". Every company screws up. Like Nvidia made a bunch of GPUs, but what happened is that the thickness of the processor silicon was too thin (from my understanding and recall, as it been more than 7 years of this), and that made GPUs, over time, fail. Nvidia was associated in making money by cheeping out. But, the reality of this, Nvidia doesn't do the processors, they only make the plans, but it is their role to make sure everything is made properly, and they are responsible at the end of the day. Hence why they covered all manufactures from their faulty GPUs. Cost the company a huge amount of money, especially that it was desktop, mobile and a full generations of faulty GPUs.
    It just happened that they never check for thickness. They check everything, have labs that does X-rays on samples, deep analysis everything, but thickness is not something that came to mind, especially that it was not something visible. Of course the company over the years have improved their quality control, and specification, and testing, now it's non issue. Almost any company have their screws up. I think the Surface team, got there. I hope that this incident won't happen again. Already, we see that they implemented the ability to go backwards on a firmware (but must be via Windows Update, not yourself), and that is a step in the right direction. I am sure if that was supported before, the December firmware fiasco would have been much reduced, as everyone would just switch back to the previous one.

    What is interesting however, is that the renaming big issues with the Surface Pro 2 all comes down to Marvel. The more I use Marvel products (well product with chips with them), the more I realize that they make shit products.
    For example, Marvel produces a SATA-3 controller for motherboard when Intel could not implement theirs and had to be delayed Intel next generation of Core i's. That is fine, they were a bunch of other manufactures doing SATA-3 controllers. However, the marvel one was the one that is the cheapest, and was more known, and that is what most motherboard manufactures (in the custom build computer market) implemented. One problem. It's on PCI-E 2x. Not enough bandwidth for SATA-3. Brilliant I know. You would THINK that the basic connector for their SATA controller would be correct. But NOPE. It's like you made the fastest external drive on the planet, and you use the good old, completely discontinued since ages, parallel port. Well, I know what goes at the bin.

    But ok, you can SAY that, fine, it doesn't have the bandwidth, but it is more than SATA-2. Nope! The wonderful Marvel drivers makes the performance of SSD's or HDD's slower than if you used the Intel SATA-2 controller. Go figure.

    Anyway, if there is no fix, I hope Microsoft will switch to another manufacture for it's wireless and bluetooth solution.


    Well. what happens when everyone in the Surface team is convinced that everything is working perfectly, and their R&D concluded that it was fine? What Microsoft lacks, is expertise it looks like. Meaning hiring or contracting people in the industry in making computers that have years of experience to learn from them.


    Same. The reason why I picked Microsoft, is that I see that they continue to improve the Surface Pro 1. And I had the same experience with my Zune (yea I got one... my iPod didn't survive a year or so, so I decided, what the heck, get something cheaper, it will break anyways. I saw the Zune on special (it was when it was not doing well), and I was like, "Oh, what the heck?". It had continued support with added features years after newer models came out, and funny enough... still works today. (maybe that is why they didn't sell much, they never broke :p) But ignoring my Zune, as the team is long gone, or working on completely different part of the company, and it's been oh so many years ago, i was happy that Microsoft tried to continue to improve their products.
    I had experience with Dell and Lenovo product, and I have the feeling that unless it's some security issue, they didn't fix any bugs or issues, unless it reached the media or affected sales, and sometimes, they release a "fix" to have the media that it is fixed, but it's not really fixed. Its better, but not fixed.


    I fully agree. What I expected them to do with the Surface pro 2, is have screws at the bottom of the tablets, under the kick-stand like the Surface 1, and when you unscrew them, you have full access to the internal. While it won't allow quick replaceable battery, it would allow a user or certified technician, or heck even themselves to easily replace the battery inside, or even system board. Sure beats putting the device in an special oven, have an employee waiting there until it's done, get it out, carefully remove the glass, and what hot, potentially damage ribbon cables which means replace parts that would otherwise be fine, and so on. Would have saves, I think, quiet a bit of money for the company.

    Oh well, maybe Pro 3.. but I have a feeling it won't happen, as other manufactures don't do this (which is retarded).
     
  7. macmee

    macmee Active Member

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    We should make a mailing list and send emails to users once we have confirmed that a new firmware is safe to download.
     
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  8. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes Well-Known Member

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    Like any system firmware, even just drivers update, you'll always have some people with problems.
    We don't know what they have done with their system. For example, used a registry cleaner at some point, or turned off the system while doing the firmware upgrade, and so on.
     
  9. reach

    reach Member

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    GoodBytes, I really admire your positive attitude! :)
    (unfortunately I can't share it...)
     
  10. jrapdx

    jrapdx Member

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    I know quite a few people working in the software industry, including a number who've been in QA. It's often a struggle to maintain quality under pressure to get releases out the door, dealing with managers who don't understand the engineering challenges and spending a lot of time dealing with sales departments making promises to customers that can't be fulfilled. So it's yin and yang, striving to make it good, and laboring under constraints that impede maximum quality.

    Of course, not all software is crap, but a lot is not as good as the engineers would prefer it to be.

    Nvidia may not be the best example of doing things right, and your comments suggest it's not a rarity, more like their policy. Other companies are not that lame, from what I can gather, Intel, for example, is really a lot more careful about their processes. But of course, mistakes can happen to the best of them, or us. Microsoft is kind of a mixed bag, producing some solid, quality products, but then stumbles, trips and falls with the most incredibly careless blunders, indeed like the Dec 10 affair. Too bad so many mistakes landed on the SP2, but I'm hoping MS will yet redeem themselves. They probably will just in time to start offering the SP3.

    No one would argue the point about WiFi/BT on the SP2. I don't know about Marvell's disk interfaces, though I've had several computers with Marvell/Yukon ethernet adapters that seemed to work OK. Yes of course, MS, do you hear? Pick another WiFi manufacturer, there has got to be at least one or two others to choose from.

    You put the finger on the problem. If everyone on the SP2 team thought it was fine, then either they weren't such experts after all, or they just didn't do enough testing, and testing is the engineer's mantra, is it not. But the lack of it shows up in design considerations (your Marvell complaint fits here), firmware glitches in spades, and the necessity for playing "catch up" so frequently. Still seems to me that good preparation means gaining the expertise before embarking on such a major direction, otherwise the risk is a half-baked idea marginally implemented. That's bound to be troublesome.

    As I've said, odds are they can still pull the iron out of the fire. It means taking a step back to see what havoc they've unleashed and bear the responsibility to clean it up by actually being the experts they implicitly claimed they were in the first place.

    That's not a radical demand. The car I drive is 11 years old now, at the time the first model in a new line. Perfect? Not at all--it's had several recalls to fix defects, all done at no cost to me. And the next years numerous changes were made to that model, while sold under the same model name, the new ones are substantially different than my original. But the characteristics that attracted me are still intact, and after 11 years the fact that it's still going strong shows the soundness of the manufacturer's "expertise" in design and manufacturing.

    Can't dispute it, I have no information about their track records. I do have a couple of "ancient" Dells, around 8-9 years old that I've "inherited". Built like armored vehicles, rugged, real keyboards, nearly every component replaceable. They just keep going and going. I'm planning to use one as a database server for a non-profit arts group I volunteer for. Probably will work for another 10 years in that low-demand role. Installing a current and supported OS, then security fixes shouldn't be a big issue.

    Wow! Good job, you've exceeded my ambitions by a 1000%. You mean a machine that can actually be field repaired? Or hardware upgraded? What a radical! Or should we say visionary. You've recreated the modern equivalent of those old Dells, and how wonderful that would be.

    Sadly you are probably right--it will never happen. Maybe they'll take the other suggestions and fix the WiFi, provide firmer firmware. Improvements, but not the stuff of dreams.
     
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  11. javispedro

    javispedro Member

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    Using the Marvell Avastar for Wi-Fi is a weird option. The Avastar is tablet/smartphone-grade hardware, not laptop-grade, and it is showing (e.g. BT/WLAN coexistence). Virtually the only reason I can figure out for choosing the Avastar is that they wanted to be able to select the same part for both the SurfaceRT and the Pro.

    Basically, reduce your expectations with this card. I don't see them fixing this in the SP3.

    That said, I haven't had any problems with it yet! On GNU/Linux, only when I enable powersaving the entire thing seems to go to ***, otherwise it's working fine. And Marvell is giving out free hardware to Linux developers in order to improve the Linux driver, so I'm happy!


    Problem with Dell is plastic -- I _hate_ plastic clips and from now on I will not consider anything with plastic clips as "repairable". They age poorly and break easily.
    The final straw was my experience with an HP TouchPad; despite extreme care I broke 4 out of all 8 plastic pins that were holding the screen and case together. Also, a review for the Dell Venue 11 Pro mentioned that after the 5th time they removed the back plate, they were not able to put it back -- clips had broken.

    Opening the Surface Pro can't be that much harder :)
     
  12. jrapdx

    jrapdx Member

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    Not quite sure I understand. If it's the same hardware, wouldn't the Marvell WiFi be as good (or bad) in the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2? If so, I'd expect MS would be getting a lot of complaints about WiFi performance. What would keep MS from using a better adapter? Surely there are better performing adapters available to MS for about the same cost.

    With any luck, open source developers will nag Marvell to improve their products!

    If durability is a goal, there's no substitute for proper stress-bearing materials. The term "plastic" covers a lot of ground. There are all kinds of polymers--tough, slick, adhesive, water/chemical resistant, resilient, or hard, in endless variation. Don't forget, almost all electronic components are embedded in epoxy or similar "plastic", and that's the stuff we really love.

    So no getting away from "plastic". But I think I know what you are saying. The use of weak or soft materials for removable parts is either bad engineering or those parts were intentionally made easy to break. We might imagine the manufacturer doesn't want us to fix it, they'd rather have us buy their newest version.

    BTW I've been told--I don't know from my own experience--that Apple products are the worst, having thin, hard to open and fragile shells. IOW without special tools, they are very hard to work on. In that respect, the SP2 is no better as it is glued together, and no instructions available telling how to unglue it. Anyway that's not something I'm ready to try.
     

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