Fix: Surface Pen not Working after 1709 Update

The Surface Pen is an active stylus and digital pen developed by Microsoft for its series of Surface computing devices. It is designed to work with different versions of Windows (8, 8.1, and 10). This pen is actively used throughout the world as it provides ease of access and enables to use your Surface Pro in a lot of new different scenarios. It can be used for drawing, writing, noting etc.

After the Fall Creators Update, many users reported that their Surface pen stopped working as expected and started giving bizarre problems. Sometimes the computer would register the pen as a touch input instead of pen input. Sometimes the touch wouldn’t be registered at all. This is a well-known problem which is acknowledged by Microsoft. We have a few workarounds listed to help you get your pen up and running again.

Solution 1: Restarting your Surface Device

First of all, before moving on with all the solutions, make sure that the batteries in your Surface pen aren’t drained. Replace the batteries and check if it works as expected. If it doesn’t, carry on with all the solutions.

Restart your device properly and check all the functions of your Surface device. If this doesn’t change anything, you can force shutdown the device using the following steps:

  1. Press and hold the power button on your Surface for 30 seconds and then release it.
  2. Now press and hold the volume-up and power button at the same time for at least 15 seconds and then release it. The screen might flash with the Surface logo but keep pressing both buttons until you have pressed them for at least 15 seconds.
  3. After releasing both buttons, wait for 10 seconds.
  4. Press and release the power button on your Surface device to turn it back on. The machine will now start up normally. After it is fully started up, check if the problem got solved.

Solution 2: Running Hardware and Device Troubleshooter

Hardware Troubleshooter is a utility present in the Windows operating system. It detects problems with your existing hardware and tries to resolve it after following a series of steps. We can try running the hardware troubleshooter and check if this does the trick.

  1. Right-click on the Windows icon present at the bottom left side of the screen or Press Windows + X button and select Control panel. If this doesn’t work, press Windows + S and in the dialogue box, type “control panel” and hit enter.
  2. Now on the top right side of the screen, click on View By and select Large Icons from the list of options available.

  1. Now select the option of Troubleshooting from the control panel.

  1. Now on the left side of the window, select “View all” option to list all the troubleshooting packs available on your computer.

  1. Now select “Hardware and Devices” from the list of options available and click it.

  1. Now select Next in the new window that pops up in front of you.

  1. Now Windows will start searching for hardware problems and fix them if it finds any. This process can take some time as all of your hardware is being checked. Be patient and let the process complete successfully.
  2. Windows might prompt you to restart your PC in order to fix problems. Don’t delay the request, save your work and press “Apply this Fix”.

Solution 3: Making sure AC Power is plugged in

Another bug which seems to present with Surface devices is the AC power. Many users noticed and reported that while the AC power was plugged in, their Surface Pen worked as expected with all the functions available. As soon as the power was plugged off, some of the functionalities of the pen were gone. You can try keeping your Surface plugged in if this resolves the problem. Hopefully, Microsoft will launch an update soon enough to address this problem.

Solution 4: Using Side-buttons for Normal Writing

Another workaround which was observed was pressing the side-button present on the Surface pen and then writing on the screen. Using the method, the writing is registered as normal pen writing whereas if you release the button and write normally, the computer will register the writing as touch (instead of pen). You can use this technique if you are completely unable to write on your Surface until Microsoft releases an update to fix this problem.

Solution 5: Fixing Keyboard button missing on Surface

Some users actively reported that they found their keyboard button disappearing after the update. The keyboard was popping up automatically but it is located behind the problem you are currently working in. This makes it unusable and you are stuck with only touch input without the on-screen keyboard.

The workaround for this issue is enabling the keyboard button back again. In the new update, Microsoft has added an option to show the keyboard on your taskbar. This option is disabled by default after the update.

  1. Right-click on your taskbar. From the list of options, select “show touch keyboard button”.

  1. Right beside your date, a new icon will pop up. You can use this icon to launch the on-screen keyboard anytime.

  1. When you press it, the keyboard automatically spawns. To exit the keyboard, press the “X” present at the top right side of the keyboard.

Solution 6: Disabling Hibernate Mode

Another phenomenon was seen by the Surface users where their pen input didn’t work as expected after the computer went into hibernate mode. It only started to work correctly after the computer was restarted properly. We can try disabling hibernate mode completely and check if this solves the problem for you.

  1. Right-click on the power icon present at the bottom right side of the screen and select “Power Options”.

  1. Once in the Power Options, select “Change plan settings” in front of the power plan you are currently using on your computer.

  1. Now select “Never” in “Put the computer to sleep” in both cases; on battery and plugged. Press “Save Changes” to update the power plan and back to the previous window.

  1. Once in the main window of power options, make the following changes in both options; choose what closing the lid does and choose what the power buttons do.

  1. Change all the settings to “Do nothing”. Press Apply to save changes and exit. You can also change the setting of “When I press the power button” to “Shut Down”. Just refrain from using the options of hibernate and sleep in any settings.

  1. Restart your computer and check if the problem got solved.

Note: If your computer still goes into hibernate mode, you can execute the following command in PowerShell as an administrator.

powercfg.exe /hibernate off

Solution 7: Refreshing Intel® Precise Touch Device

The module responsible for managing your touch inputs is the Intel® Precise Touch Device. It can be found in the device manager of your computer. We will try disabling it and after a while, enabling it again. This will refresh the device and hopefully, our problem will be solved.

  1. Press Windows + R to launch the Run application. Type “devmgmt.msc” in the dialogue box and press Enter
  2. Once in the device manager and expand the category of “Human Interface Devices”. Navigate to all the devices until you find the one we are looking for.

  1. Right-click on the device and select “Disable device”.

  1. Now, wait for a couple of minutes. Click on “Enable device” to enable it once again. Now check if the problem is solved.

Solution 8: Turning off Power Saving for Intel® Precise Touch Device

Another problem which seemed to exist was the power saving of the device by the operating system. It seems that windows automatically turns off the device to save. However, when you try to use it again, it doesn’t work. We can try to disable this option and check if the problem gets solved.

  1. Navigate to the device (Intel® Precise Touch Device) like we did in the previous solution. Right-click on it and select “Properties”.
  2. Once in the properties, navigate to the Power Management tab and uncheck both the options.

  1. Press Ok to save changes and exit. Now check if the problem at hand got solved.

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: Surface Pen not Working after 1709 Update

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