Surface Laptop 3 ‘unexpectedly’ cracked screens will be repaired by Microsoft for free

(Image credit: Future)

Surface Laptop 3 owners whose notebooks have suffered a mysterious issue whereby the screen cracks for no apparent reason will have their machine repaired by Microsoft for free.

As you may recall, this problem reared its head around four months ago (or more), and Microsoft subsequently said it was investigating reports from owners of cracks appearing spontaneously, without the Surface Laptop 3 being knocked, dropped or mistreated in any way.

The results of that investigation are, as ZDNet spotted, that Microsoft announced the following: “We have investigated claims of screen cracking on Surface Laptop 3 and have determined that, in a very small percentage of cases, a hard foreign particle may cause a hairline fracture in the glass that may seem to appear unexpectedly or without visible cause.”

Those who have been hit by this issue should contact Microsoft support to have a repair carried out free of charge – at least it will be free when the device is still under warranty. Of course, all Surface Laptop 3 notebooks are still under warranty seeing as they went on sale back in October 2019, but the warranty caveat is certainly something to bear in mind going forward.

If you’ve already paid to have your Surface Laptop 3 screen repaired, then you should also contact Microsoft’s support team, in this case to discuss a reimbursement.

This all applies to the 13-inch and 15-inch versions of the Surface Laptop 3.

Very much a minority?

Microsoft is rather downplaying the issue somewhat, with the observation that only a ‘very small’ percentage of Surface Laptop 3 owners have encountered this issue.

Although there are certainly a number of reports on Reddit and Microsoft’s forum, plus Mary Jo Foley, who wrote the ZDNet article, anecdotally observes that she knows of a few cases of folks who have suffered at the hands of the spontaneously cracking screen issue.

Reportedly this is more likely to happen to those who have a Surface Laptop 3 with an aluminum chassis, and not those with the Alcantara fabric, as was observed previously.

Regarding Microsoft’s explanation, exactly what the nature of the ‘hard foreign particle’ mentioned is, well, anyone’s guess – this could be something introduced externally, or coming from within the device itself, and if the latter, Microsoft has presumably resolved any issue with the hardware with models being produced going forward.

Theories floated on Reddit previously include that the problem might be caused by Microsoft’s decision not to use any kind of rubber seal around the edges of the display (but obviously take that as the speculation which it undoubtedly is).

We suppose the biggest worry for those who jumped on the Surface Laptop 3 bandwagon already would be that they may not feasibly encounter the problem with their device for some time, until after it’s out of warranty – and that would then be pretty frustrating to say the least.

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).