Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 screen flicker may be due to Hyper-V

During a recent round of hands-on and reviews from various tech-related sites, many journalists were left in awe of the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book. However, not all reviews were glowing for the devices, in particular, the Surface Book was knocked for several pre-production bugs that marred a few experiences for reviewers. Microsoft assured most journalists that the issues would be ironed with a day-one update patch addressing most if not all concerns most had.

Like clockwork, when the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 hit the hands of general consumers, it was given a hardware and software update (dated 10/23) to fix the accumulating little annoyances reviewers were experiencing.

Unfortunately, not all of the issues have been dealt with. According to forum post and Reddit threads, many Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 devices are experiencing a reoccurring screen flicker. Based on the crowd-sourced evidence, it appears Microsoft’s implementation of Hyper-V and issues with the new Intel HD graphics driver in the Skylake processors are to blame.

The issues seems to be happening to developers, business customers or others who enable Hyper-V. Hyper-V has traditionally served as a testing ground for developers, secure workstations for businesses, or ways for Insiders to test newer builds of Windows with little danger of ruining their main PC.

Also experiencing this. I have installed Visual Studio 2015 Community (with Windows Phone emulator… HyperV may be the culprit).

I reached out to support. They said the engineering team is aware of the issue and are working on a fix. The devices are not defective and don’t need to be returned. -gaforrest

Fortunately, there is a workaround for the issue until Microsoft releases a more permanent fix. Using the command line, users experiencing the screen flicker can disable Hyper-V for the time being.

  • Type CMD into the search bar
  • Enter: dism.exe/Online/Disable-Feature:Microsoft-Hyper-V

Anecdotally, both Twitter and Reddit are filling up with complaints about other driver issues that are occurring with both the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4. The new Surfaces are arguably hardware marvels, but Microsoft and Intel have some early work ahead of them to refine the experience for many.

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Is your new Surface device suffering from a flickering screen?