FIX: Failed to Install SurfaceBaseFwUpdateDriver.dll on Microsoft Surface

Microsoft Surface Docks are widely used with the Surface computers. They improve the overall productivity of the computer as it allows you to connect many external peripheral to your Surface book. Now, in order to take advantage of your Surface Dock, you will first have to install the required drivers for it or in some cases, update them. One of the tools that are used to make this process easy is the Microsoft Surface Dock Updater that updates your firmware automatically for you. However, one of the issues that users have been facing with the Microsoft Surface Dock Updater is the “Failed to install SurfaceBaseFwUpdateDriver.dll” error message.

Surface Dock Updater Error

As it turns out, the error message stops the installation, and thus, users are not able to update their Surface Dock. Now, while you can just simply update the Surface Dock with the help of another Surface device, there are still some fallbacks to it. For example, if you do this, even though that will update your dock, you will not be able to use certain features when you use the Surface Dock with your Surface device.

In case both the devices are the same, then it shouldn’t really be a problem. However, in case both the devices are different, this will not work out. The reason for this is that when you use the Surface Dock with your, let’s say, Surface Book, the Book itself requires a firmware update in order to be able to use all of the enhancements. This firmware update is provided by the Surface Dock Updater tool which, in this case, is throwing the error message. Now, the cause of the error message is not really known and Microsoft often blames faulty hardware for the issue, however, that is not always it.

As it turns out, in some cases the issue can be resolved if you run the updater tool as SYSTEM on your machine. This could mean that the issue could be associated with insufficient permissions from our speculations. However, this does not always stand true so it is hard to mention the main cause of the issue. Nonetheless, we will be showing you how you can resolve this error message by listing down different methods that you can use. With that said, let us get into it.

Method 1: Run the Updater as SYSTEM 

As we have mentioned above, one of the ways that you can resolve the issue is to run the Surface Dock Updater tool with SYSTEM privileges. In some cases, there might be something interfering with the updater that is causing the issue or it could just be a straightforward permissions deficiency. Nonetheless, to resolve this, you will just have to run the tool as SYSTEM so that it is able to override anything that may be causing the problem. The instructions may sound a bit difficult, but they are really straightforward. Follow along and you should be good to go:

  1. First of all, you will have to download the Surface Dock Updater tool from here.
  2. After that, you will have to download something known as PsTools from here. PsTools is basically a command-line package that comes with various different tools among which we will be using one here.
  3. Once you have downloaded the package, extract the zip file anywhere you like.
  4. After that, open up a command prompt with administrator privileges by going to the Start Menu. Here, search for cmd and then right-click on the result. From the drop-down menu, select Run as an administrator.
    Opening an Elevated Command Prompt
  5. On the command prompt window, you will first have to navigate to the directory where you extracted the PsTools package. This can be done with the help of the cd command.
  6. After that, type the following command in the command prompt window:
    psexec -i -s CMD
    Opening SYSTEM Command Prompt
  7. This shall open up a new command prompt window. In the new window, type the whoami command.
  8. It should return nt authroity/system.
    SYSTEM Command Prompt
  9. Now, once you have done that, navigate to the directory where the Surface Dock Updater tool is located.
  10. There, you will have to execute the updater using the new command prompt window.
  11. This can be done by typing “./NameOfInstaller.msi” without the quotes. Make sure to replace NameOfInstaller with the updater’s name.
  12. See if that fixes the issue.

Method 2: Detach Keyboard

Another way that you can solve the issue is to detach the keyboard of your Surface machine from the screen. Once you have detached the keyboard, you can go ahead and run the updater tool to see if the issue is resolved. This was reported by a user who was encountering a similar issue and detaching the screen helped fix the issue for him.

There are two ways that you can use to safely detach the keyboard from your Surface device. Before we begin, please make sure your Surface Book is charged more than 10 percent. You can use the Detach button on your keyboard that is located in the top-right corner or the Detach icon that is situated on the right-hand side of the Windows taskbar. Once you have pressed the Detach button, you will see a red light appear followed by a green light after a second. Finally, you should hear a “click” sound that indicates that it is ready to be detached. Grip the top and lift upwards while the Detach button’s light is green. That should do the job.

Surface Detach Button

Finally, run the Surface Dock Updater tool again and see if the error message emerges again.

Method 3: Edit Group Policies

Lastly, the final method that you can implement is to edit the group policies on your Windows 10. We will be actually editing a policy of the Windows Installer known as Prohibit rollback. What this will do is, as the name suggests, it will prohibit the installer (the updater tool) from generating the files that it will require for rolling back an installation. This has worked out for some users who were facing the same issue. Therefore, it might do the job for you as well. To do this, follow the instructions down below:

  1. First of all, open up the Run dialog box by pressing the Windows key + R.
  2. Then, in the Run dialog box, type gpedit.msc and press Enter.
  3. This will bring up the Local Group Policy Editor window.
    Local Group Policy Editor
  4. Here, you will have to navigate to the Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Installer path.
  5. Then, on the right-hand side, locate the Prohibit rollback policy from the list of policies.
    Prohibit Rollback Policy
  6. Once located, double-click on the policy to edit it.
  7. Change it from Not Configured to Enabled.
    Editing Prohibit Rollback Policy
  8. Press Apply and then hit OK.
  9. After that, run the Surface Dock Updater tool.
  10. See if that resolves the issue.
  11. In case it does, do not forget to change the policy back to Not Configured by following the above instructions.

Kevin Arrows


Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

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FIX: Failed to Install SurfaceBaseFwUpdateDriver.dll on Microsoft Surface

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