I’ve come across this issue quite a bit lately and I’m not really sure what causes it.The battery icon in the system tray will have a red X and indicate the tablet is plugged in, but not charging. It seems to occur shortly after a Windows Cumulative Update. Many resources indicate the battery is dead and to contact Microsoft. But before you do, try the following steps.
Note: Surface Book and Surface Book 2
The Surface Dock supplies up to 90 watts whereas the Surface Book adapter is rated for 102 watts. The same is true for both first and second generation Surface Book. Some USB devices may draw just enough power from the Surface Dock to force the Surface Book device to appear plugged in, but not charging. And in some cases, the Surface Book can actually deplete the battery under heavy load even though it’s plugged into the Surface Dock. Basically, the Surface Dock was never designed with the Surface Book in mind even though Microsoft’s documentation indicates it is a supported configuration (but it’s technically not).
The Surface Pro and Surface Laptop devices do not have this issue with the Surface Dock.
Re-install Battery Drivers
- Click Start (or Cortana/Search), type “Device Manager“, and then hit enter (or click on Device Manager from the search results).
- Expand Batteries.
- Right-click the Microsoft AC Adapter and select Uninstall.
- Right-click any remaining items under Batteries (for example, “Microsoft Surface ACPI-Compliant Control method Battery“) and select Uninstall. Select the option to “Delete the driver software for this device” (if applicable) and click OK.
- Power off the Surface device and disconnect the AC Power. Unplug the AC Adapter from the electrical outlet as well. If you’re using a Surface Dock, unplug the AC power from the dock.
- Wait 30 seconds.
- Reconnect the AC Power adapter to both the Surface and the electrical outlet. If you’re using the Surface Dock, reconnect the power.
- Power on the Surface and login. Wait a few minutes. The issue should now be resolved.
Update Surface Dock firmware
If you’re using a Surface Dock, try updating the firmware. I’m not sure why or how, but updating the Surface Dock firmware has also resolved this issue for me.
- Click here to navigate to the Microsoft Surface Dock Updater page.
- Select the option to “Download Surface Tools for IT“. You will be brought to a Download page.
- Click Download.
- Select “Surface_Dock_FwUpdate…“, and then click Next.
- The Microsoft Surface Dock Updater tool will download. Once it’s download, launch the installer and follow the prompts. This will update the Surface Dock firmware.
- If the battery is still not charging, try repeating the steps above to Re-install the battery driver.
I’ve never had success with this but numerous resources online indicate a quick soft reset could be enough to resolve the issue.
Click here and then select your Surface device model. The steps will be displayed on how to perform a Soft Reset on your Surface device.
Plug in the Surface before powering it on
This is a very strange workaround that has actually worked. It’s quite simple really, before powering on the Surface and before connecting the AC power cable to the electrical outlet, connect it to the Surface device, then plug it into the electrical outlet, and then power on the device. I have no idea why this works but it’s not a solution. It’s just a workaround. I assume there’s some sort of defect or interference causing the issue. But in a pinch when you’re in need of a charge, it may be your only workaround.
The solution: Surface Dock does not have enough power to power a Surface Book 2 and several devices such as external drives connected to the dock USB ports. Unplug devices from the dock USB and your Surface will charge. Lame product.
The Surface Dock supplies up to 90 watts whereas the Surface Book adapter is rated for 102 watts. The same is true for both first and second generation Surface Book. Some USB devices may draw just enough power to force the Surface Book device to appear plugged in, but not charging. And in some cases, actually deplete the battery under heavy load causing the processor of graphics card to under perform. I’ve witnessed this issue and ended up retiring the Surface Book from production due to these issues.
Thank you for reminding me about this. I will have it added to the article.
Just to be clear, the Surface Pro and Surface Laptop devices do not have this issue with the Surface Dock – they work just fine.