Potential fix for overheating Surface Pro 3s found

Heat vents of Surface Pro 3

Over the weekend it became apparent that some users who purchased a Surface with an i7 under the hood were experiencing issues with overheating. The problem was affecting enough users that it was clearly not a one-off situation, with multiple users reporting that their machines would become quite hot and randomly have the fans spin up.

While Microsoft has not offered up any reasoning for this issue -- or more importantly a fix, it seems that some users who are experiencing the issue might have found one. According to user Step_001 in the Microsoft Support forums, they say that the problem is being caused by the Windows Installer Module, and the Windows Installer Module Worker. These processes will randomly start running in the background and when they do, they seem to use a huge amount CPU processing power and memory usage. Because of this, it causes the Pro 3 to overheat or have the fans spin up to annoying levels.

Other users in the support thread concur that by killing these processes, the fan and heat issues have gone away. It is not known though if this is a fix for all users who have had devices that run hot, but for some, this is the solution that they have been looking for, although, it is not ideal.

If this truly is the case, we would expect that Microsoft should issue a patch in the near future to fix this software related issue. If true, this is a big relief for the company, as a software fix is quite easy for the company (most of the time) to distribute and is not nearly as expensive as replacing hardware.

Source: Microsoft | Via: Softpedia

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What's funny about this is the windows module worker issue has been present since Windows 8.1 was released and MS never bothered to fix it. I've personally seen it on my own laptop multiple times. Of course now they will fix it because it's crippling their flagship tablet device.

Why microsoft can not find the solutions and the user found it ?
I hope microsoft check all and try to fix the problems

They may have found the fix (or a potential fix in buggy software) but that doesn't mean it will be very easy to implement, will have to see patch day in September.

This is why i always wait a few weeks before buying the latest gadgets, once they sort it out im looking forward to picking up the SP3.

How the hell wasn't this picked up in testing? Did they turn it on, say it worked, and box it did they?

I'm sick of these tech companies releasing unfinished products, just to get to market.

So a legitimate process (bugged or not) causes the SP3 to run at 100%.
SP3 then overheats and shuts down.

If the SP3 can't run at 100% for a period of time without overheating, i'd classify that as a hardware bug.

MSFT will have to come up with some sort of fix. If the installer seems to be starting up for no reason, then a fix to turn it off until it is necessarily needed will be in order.

I could regularly recreate this problem easily on the i5 model. For anyone who has one, try running IE Metro for about 10-15 minutes doing normal web browsing. This would cause the device to get extremely warm and make the fan run annoying loud. I'm just curious if this can be duplicated on other people's devices or if it was just something isolated to mine.

I really thought these issues were behind surface with the 3rd generation. clearly hasswell isn't really ready for this form factor and we'll need broadwell to save the day.

maybe they should, then again, who buys a mac anyway but people who legitimately want it anyway even with all the problems of OSX.

Right....because the Macbook Air never had overheating issues of its own.

http://www.informationweek.com/apple-releases-fix-for-macbook-airs-overheating-troubles/d/d-id/1065564?

http://www.mac-forums.com/forums/apple-notebooks/194862-official-my-macbook-air-pro-overheating-what-do-i-do-guide.html

http://fortune.com/2008/03/13/apples-macbook-hot-air-problem/

And the iPad 3 overheating issues...etc.

Whenever Apple uses technology that isn't 3+ years out of date, they run into heating problems with their style over substance designs.

Surely any other CPU intensive activity will do the same though? This doesn't seem like a fix but more of a workaround... (well unless there is something very strange with windows that lets this process do things with the CPU that other processes cannot).

The only reason I could see that as not being the case, is due to it being a MS written program it may by default avoid some of the limits in the Intel Driver set allowing it to bypass some of the temp controls in the drivers/chips.

This is rather off-putting - the hardware protection trip should only happen if there's a physical issue, IMO. I guess proof that ANY process running at a high CPU rate can cause the trip-out is needed? I don't see how any 2 processes compiled by one vendor can be any more of a problem than any of the millions of others - ?

This article doesn't make any sense.

It is normal the Windows Installer Module Worker generated a lot of CPU and disk access use some time after installing updates, when the PC is not being actively used, as part of system maintenance.

Killing this process is a workaround to prevent this specific process from doing its work. It doesn't eliminates the overheating problem. Any other app using a lot of CPU resource for a long period of time is likely to cause the same overheating issue.

Anyway, it's a problem that needs to be fixed by firmware/driver updates. Or it may need an hardware fix.

Anyway, before saying MS did a crappy job designing Surface Pro3, lets remember that the iPad 1 had the same kind of overheating issues that caused it to shut down when it became too hot. And yet, the ARM chip inside was far from being comparable to a core i3. Let alone a core i7.

As pointed out, it appears to be a bug with the Windows Installer Module Worker since the August Update, this is merely a workaround.

Ever since August update , Windows Installer Module Worker on my laptop runs at 99%, overheating my laptop I have to restart to stop it.it might be an august update problem.

AWESUM said,
Ever since August update , Windows Installer Module Worker on my laptop runs at 99%, overheating my laptop I have to restart to stop it.it might be an august update problem.

With the SP2 and SP3 now feels like you need to wait till the following month to do last months updates. Lets others do the leg work to see if theres potentially major issues as in most cases the benefits of the month update pale in comparison to the frustration when you become afflicted with one of these kind of issues.

Osiris said,

With the SP2 and SP3 now feels like you need to wait till the following month to do last months updates.


That's how my enterprise updates. We spend a month testing updates and then deploy across the corporation. Having to do this as an end user is sub-optimal.

Unless you have specific hardware that no-one else uses I don't see that much point in testing. In my opinion you might as well either just upgrade them in batched and have any consequences that *might* occur to a small group, or if that isn't practical due to critical systems then just wait some time and let others who run less critical systems to do the testing. It's after all very unlikely you'll discover something that isn't discovered by others in the first month.

"Unless you have specific hardware that no-one else uses I don't see that much point in testing."

Unless there is a zero day exploit for something that is getting patched, generally speaking an enterprise is likely better off delaying patching at least a few weeks to verify it won't break all of their devices.

A roll out to a few thousand devices, to find out there is a bug or it breaks something (including potentially homegrown software) in all of their systems would be a huge expense for the company, and much larger then a handful of PC's that may or may not be exploited due to some patch that wasn't applied on day 1.