4 mins read

Surface Firmware Updates Show Microsoft Not Updating Correctly

I sit here on a terrace in Palermo, Sicily, at seven in the morning, drinking a strong Sicilian coffee, and trying to write the first article of the day when a series of firmware updates for my Surface Pro device interrupts the work.

Microsoft released a whole batch of updates for the Surface Pro model I work on when I travel. The updates have been released for all Surface Pro models, including those with LTE.

Firmware updates include protections against Speculative Store Bypass and Rogue System Register Read described in security advisories ADV180012 and ADV180013.

A Technet article has the highlights, but this article isn’t really about the updates, but rather how they are downloaded and installed on the Surface Pro system.

Although I am used to multiple reboots when installing new feature updates for Windows 10, I am not used to multiple reboots during the installation of regular updates. Check out our overview of the latest service packs and feature updates for Windows.

Microsoft notes that it may be necessary to check for updates, install them, and restart your device several times to install them all if you use Windows Update to update your computer.

If you install these updates using Windows Update, Windows Update automatically installs the components in the order required. You may have to check for updates, install them, and restart them several times to fully install all these updates.

So, what happens is that Windows Update provides some updates for the device; These are installed and it is necessary to restart the system. Once your system is back up and running, you will need to repeat the same steps and may have to do this several times to install all the updates.

The updates not only offer new firmware for the Surface Pro, but also drivers for various Intel components. The screen may go black during the installation of updates, and at least one user reported that it did not recover. Had to hold down the power button to force a system reset.

I had to repeat the process three times, each time checking for updates, downloading and installing updates, and rebooting, to install the new firmware and drivers on the Surface Pro.

Please note that I always keep a backup of the system partition so that I can restore it in case of updates or other system problems.

Installing the updates using the provided MSI will also require three reboots and three separate update installations before the process is complete.

Closing words

I speak strictly from the user’s perspective; the way the update is done, especially this one, makes the user experience very bad. I haven’t liked the need to restart the machine after installing updates in Windows for a long time, but having to repeat the process several times is abysmal.

Some users may not even consider checking for updates multiple times as this is not a common thing with regular updates.

Ideally, Microsoft would create a system that eliminates forced restarts to complete the installation of updates completely, but that is probably nothing more than a user’s wish.

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