Skip to main content

Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 battery life woes caused by Windows Hello?

Surface Pro 4
Microsoft's new Surface models have certainly suffered from their fair share of teething problems

While both the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book have received glowing reviews, there have also been widespread reports of problems with both Microsoft's new models, one of which is a major battery drain issue.

While there are always going to be teething problems with any new piece of hardware, battery life is such a key factor for any portable device, that to have it running out fast is very bad news – though according to a report from WinBeta, a culprit for this bugbear has been found.

It seems that Windows Hello – the biometric login system for Windows 10 – could be the root problem. One user on the Microsoft Answers forum documented a massive difference in the amount of standby time delivered by his Surface Pro 4 when Windows Hello was turned on.

With Windows Hello switched on, he got just five hours of connected standby, but with it off, that rose to 87 hours. That's quite a staggering difference. (Incidentally, if you want to see what difference it makes for you, then you can turn Windows Hello off under Settings, Accounts > Sign-in options).

Comment from Microsoft?

Several users responded that they were having the same problem, with one writing: "Will someone from Microsoft please comment on how the devices were sold as having a sleep mode which does not work? It uses just as much battery while 'sleeping' as it does during use. Mine drains at over 10% per hour while asleep."

Doubtless if Windows Hello is the core issue here, we should see a fix from Microsoft pretty soon.

There's a long list of various reported issues with Microsoft's Surface Book, including random crashes and lock-ups, boot failures, driver errors, instances of the trackpad freezing and many more gremlins.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).