Surface 2 screen problems – checkpoint

I thought I’d post an update on where we’re at with trying to nail this problem. I’ve bandied a few different ideas around in previous posts about what could be causing this, and it’s been great to have comments from Niall and Aleksandar in earlier posts too (review the history if you’re late to the party). As there’s been several theories and counter-arguments thrown around, and certain theories have been disproven while others are still alive, it’s probably helpful to summarise what we know so far:

The problem: The touch screen registers ‘phantom touches’ in the top left corner of the screen. I.e. the screen is registering a touch when no touch is being made.


  • It’s not due to a screen protector being on the device. I had screen protectors on both devices originally but removed both and the problems continued. Unless the screen protectors somehow damaged the screen in an indetectable wa.y
  • It’s not due to a dirty screen. Early on I gave the screen a good clean when it was faulting and this didn’t stop it.
  • It’s not permanently fixed by a device refresh. Microsoft suggested this on my first device, and while it behaved for 11 days thereafter the problem eventually returned. The fact it behaved for a little while could be coincidence, or it could be that the refresh removed a software bug (e.g. reverted to an old driver) which subsequently reappeared (e.g. by downloading the new driver)
  • Connection or disconnection of peripherals or power doesn’t stop the fault once it’s there. I normally have my Touch cover attached, but when it faulted I removed that cover and the problem remained. Likewise when I connected my Type cover, the problem didn’t disappear. Likewise, the device was off power when it faulted, and connecting the power didn’t stop it. I can’t yet say whether the problem will occur with no keyboard connected, or with power connected, only that once the problem has occured changing this state doesn’t stop it.
  • It’s not related to one specific peripheral. I normally had my Touch cover attached when it faulted, but it has also faulted with my Type cover connected.
  • It’s not related to a user profile. My profile and the keyboards were the only constants between my two devices, but it’s faulted with my normal account and the fault has remained when I’ve switched to the guest account, and indeed when I’ve logged out of both accounts. I can’t say whether the problem will occur if I’m logged in only to the guest account
  • It’s not fixed by pressing the power button and turning the screen off briefly and back on.
  • It’s almost certainly not caused by a software update. On my second device only one Windows Update had managed to install itself (which was a Windows Defender update) and I held off all other updates, but the problem eventually showed itself. So apart from that one update the device was as it was out of the box.
  • It’s not fixed by a software update. After the above point I updated everything, went from 8.1 to 8.1 Update as well as all other windows updates but the problem still showed itself.
  • It’s not caused or fixed by screen interaction. The problem sometimes appears when the screen is first turned on after a period of inactivity; likewise once it’s there you can hammer away at the screen as much as you want but it doesn’t stop the problem.
  • It’s almost certainly not caused by an app installed or linked to a user profile. Metrotube is the only app in common between my device and Niall’s; it’s installed on mine, and was in his profile but not installed when faulting.

What I KNOW:

  • EDIT: TWICE NOW I have noted the problem goes away when the screen is off for 10 seconds and then turned back on, which is the same timing as when the keyboard backlighting turns off. At nine seconds the backlight is starting to fade but the problem stays if the device is turned back on at this point. Backlight has to be off before screen back on to stop the problem.
  • Possibly connected to the above, the problem goes away when you restart the device.
  • The touch outline doesn’t have to be showing for the problem to be there.
  • The phantom touches have so far only been registered on the left half of the top quarter of the screen.
  • A short period of time of faultless behaviour (in my case 11 days) does not indicate a permanently fixed device.


  1. Does it happen with NO keyboard connected i.e. could it only occur when keyboard backlighting is turned on?
    EDIT 20 May: The device HAS faulted once with no keyboard attached. I can’t be positive the keyboard was disconnected when I powered the device on but it was definitely disconnected when the fault first occurred. I will leave the keyboard off and test further
  2. Does it happen when the device is on charge?
  3. Can I further confirm the fault goes away after 10 seconds of the screen being powered off? I’ve observed this twice so far.
    EDIT 20 May: This has ‘fixed’ the problem every time I’ve tried it so far, probably up to 7-8 faults.
  4. Has it happened to anyone else who has never had a screen protector on their device?
  5. If Metrotube is uninstalled does the fault still occur?

Can you categorically eliminate any of the above? Or do you have any data to contribute on any of the above points?

5 thoughts on “Surface 2 screen problems – checkpoint

  1. Exact same problem, however my phantom circles (5) of them are at the lower right hand side. I tried all of the above, even tried re-calibrating it multiple times. My conclusion is that they haven’t developed a firmware update to stabilize this problem. I am going to try changing the touch input from its default(right-handed) to left handed.

  2. I have this same problem too – on the left-hand side, fairly central.

    I have narrowed it down to some combination of sleeping the device by closing the lid on the type cover. If I never sleep it using the type cover, i.e. just use the power button to sleep, it doesn’t happen (so far anyway).

    It is some combination of keyboard attach/remove/sleeping/resuming.

  3. Curious thing guys, but for me the problem has all but disappeared. I’ve not done anything different but it hasn’t faulted for a good month or so now. The only time it did fault was when I reinstalled the screen protector and it faulted within an hour. Removed it and it’s behaved ever since. But I’ve already ruled the screen protector out as it was faulting long after I initially removed it. Go figure!?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *