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Surface Pro 2 - Display Issues


New Member

I own my Surface Pro 2 for about half a year and was very pleased with it in the beginning. But then I noticed a problem with the Screen. I thought it was the graphic driver or something but updating windows and the actual intel drivers did not help. I set my Surface to factory settings and the problem was gone! UNTIL I started to Update Windows again. I contacted Microsoft and they sent me 2 replacement devices, which all had the same issue after updating. I also followed the support instruction and tried a new Microsoft account but nothing helped.

Here are some pictures i took with my camera (since the defect doesn't appear on screenshots). It also doesn't appears on external displays connected to the miniDisplay port. It's in every Browser as well as on video files or even the background or screensaver.

( I played the new Batman vs. Superman Trailer in 1080p. Only the dark/grey areas get highly pixelated)


Here's also a video:

So Microsoft Support said that the only thing they could do was sending me another surface pro 2, I decided to return the Surface, as in Germany it is possible to return goods that failed repair 2 times in a row. I bought the Surface on an eBay shop, so Microsoft said I have to return it there. But the eBay seller refuses to take it back.

I'm kind of angry and really confused, because it seems that I'm the only one with that problem, but I'm not the only one who noticed it on my Surface and I tried almost everything.

What do you guys think about that?

Thank you in advance!


New Member
Ok thank you guys! I thought I was the only one and it has something to do with me.

@revmike What do you mean? I am sure that it is no Hardware defect but it has to be something wrong with the software. And for me, who used to watch many movies on the surface, it's cleary a constraint that needs to be fixed by Microsoft or the dealer.
I've tracked the problem down to the last display drivers issued by MS.

Manually installing the latest Haswell Drivers from https://downloadcenter.intel.com/do...HD-Graphics-Driver-for-Windows-7-8-8-1-64-bit solves the issue. You have to do this via Device Manager and disable Windows Update Automatic Install.

What is the difference between the linked version and the v10.18.14.4170 from the latest firmware update? Because google say they are the same. I still have this issue with the latest official driver from microsoft.


Well-Known Member
Yes. The problem is that for some reason, Intel drivers goes and limits colors on the Surface Pro 2, and to top things off, it uses Dynamic Contrast ratio on battery, which doesn't control the backlight of the display, but rather does a software emulation. The problem in software emulation method, is in order to not kill your CPU in terms of load, it does a super quick job and doesn't process all 16.7 million colors, but rather a fraction, so the colors are reduced.

The display and device are perfect, Intel integrated graphics ruins the device.
The proper, full fix, is:
1- Intel official drivers, and disable Windows update from installing the System Hardware/Firmware update which will re-appear as it wants to put back the official drivers. To do this, is the moment you install the Intel official drivers, in Windows update, you select to hide the update.

2- Use Surface Tweak Tool to fix the color limitation problem. Restart the system once applied.

3- Open the Intel control panel, Go under Power section, click on (going by memory), then click on "Power" next to the back button, a menu will show. Click on "On Battery". Then you'll see "Display Power Saving Technology", disable it. This DOES NOT SAVE POWER. This is the shitty dynamic contract ratio. The system idea, or how I think they aimed to work as, is that when you have a dark screen, the colors or contrast intensify so that you can read text better without the need to increase the brightness of the screen. This is a technology similar that what Nintendo had on the DS and 3DS systems. However, it sadly doesn't work that way, it dims the screen on black, and brightens it on white, like normal Dynamic contrast ratio, so I am calling it what it actually is. I have done countless tests in battery life, and I can assure you there is no battery life difference. In fact, the fact that it doesn't dim on dark screen, it doesn't force you to increase the screen brightness, allow you to save battery life.

And that is it. Your problem will be gone, and you can enjoy your system!

And if you wonder, don't expect a fix from Intel. I know Intel GPUs very well. The one thing that Intel sucks at doing, is GPUs. They don't have the expertise, nor knowledge to make one, and I think, that the big problem is that they see that their graphics solution is a free bonus, despite being part of the price. So they are not paying the needed expertise engineers, and not expending this team.

Heck, despite Intel claims, their GPU is not fully DirectX and OpenGL supported. It is very sad. That is why you have games that might be less demanding graphically, but it perform like crap on the same hardware, or the game crashes at some stage. And let's not even talk about OpenCL, and DirectCompute, which are technologies that more and more software supports to boost the performance of some tasks it performs. You don't need to take my word for it, you can find a lot of information on how Intel graphic solution is abysmal, despite the performance claims, from actual developers. It must be noted that those can be a bit technical.

Here is one from OpenGL, just as an example:
(Vendor A is Nvidia, Vendor B is AMD, and Vendor C is Intel)

I have read any blog from any experience developer that said anything good about the graphics solution.

And the experience you are seeing now, is at us, user level. If they can't give us full color support, due to some bugs which they never fixed, I think you can start and see how a mess the drivers are internally. I am sure they know the bug, but they don't know how to fix it. We might need to wait for next generation CPUs to have the problem fixed.. maybe... So Surface Pro 4 maybe? This is silly. AMD and Nvidia graphics solution (which by the way, both have shown ultra low power consuming graphics solutions, that can run with no cooling solution, and the same or faster than Intel integrated graphics). Nvidia has a 5W GPU which they use their CPU for tablets (Tegra chip). Pretty impressive stuff. So we have the technology, it exists, the problem the demand doesn't. Hopefully it will grow.

Anyway, I hope your problem is fixed with the above steps. And brings more awareness to people to start asking manufactures for low powered Nvidia or AMD graphics chip, even if you don't game Just to have the best experience possible out of their system with no hiccups or strange issues, and everything works, no matter what.
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