Microsoft announced this week that it will be replacing all Surface Pro 4 units with flickering screens, over a year after users first noticed the issue on their devices.
The issue started little more than two years ago when Surface Pro 4 users began to notice the screens of their tablets flickering at random. According to Ars Technica, the problem was traced to a hardware issue, and this led to several users resorting to unusual methods to try to fix the problem, including placing the machines in the freezer or using a hairdryer to coax the units to work. The former method seemed to work in many cases, though it only solved the flickering screen problem for a brief period of time.
Fortunately, it looks like those home remedies won’t be necessary any longer for owners of Surface Pro 4 units with flickering screens. On Friday, Microsoft issued a bulletin on its website, acknowledging the issues and confirming that a “small percentage” of Surface Pro 4 tablets are affected, and cannot be fixed with a software update. The company announced that it will replace all affected units free of charge, provided that the device was purchased no more than three years ago.
Microsoft explained the finer points of the replacement process for Surface Pro 4 tablets with flickering screens, noting that users will first need to install all Surface and Windows updates, in order to ensure that their tablets are “running in an optimal state.” Should the screen flicker persist, users will then need to speak to a customer support agent over the phone, so they can determine if the device is indeed defective and qualified for the replacement program. Users with qualified defective Surface Pro 4 units will have to wait five to eight business days from the date of shipping before the replacement device arrives.
As further noted by Microsoft, the replacement program is available to consumers and business users alike and does not cover any Surface Pro 4 units that were damaged due to any external factor, or through use with a product that isn’t being sold or licensed by Microsoft, or devices that were repaired by a third party. Anyone who paid an out-of-warranty fee to have the flickering screen repaired may also receive a refund, but would still need to speak to a customer support agent to determine if they qualify for compensation. According to Ars Technica, this covers customers who paid $450 to Microsoft for screen replacement but still weren’t able to have the flickering issue resolved.