Managing Windows 8.1 and the MS Surface in the Enterprise – Part 3: Connected Standby

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Please Standby

The Surface Pro 3 (SP3) provides some new functionality called Connected Standby (aka InstantGo). It is this feature that delivers the tablet like experience of having a device that seems to “boot” at the touch of a button even when on battery power. To provide this experience, Windows 8.1 makes use of a feature called Always-On/Always-Connected (AOAC). AOAC requires some special hardware but more and more devices are showing up with the required chipsets.

The build of Windows 8.1 that is preloaded on the SP3 has the power management configured so that the device will enter connected standby when the power button it pressed or the keyboard is closed. In this state, the SP3 will consume approximately 1% of the battery every hour. It will stay in connected standby for 4 hours and then hibernate and stop draining the battery.

For many organizations, AOAC is new and either misunderstood or overlooked. This can be a problem because if they deploy a custom image on the SP3 replacing the preloaded build, often times the AOAC setting are not configured appropriately for the SP3 and either the device won’t go into connected standby or once in connected standby won’t switch to the hibernation state after 4 hours. Both of these scenarios can impact the SP3 user experience.

So how can you address the issue?

  1. If you have already deployed SP3s that ae experiencing these issues, Microsoft has provided batch file that you can run to reconfigure the connected standby settings as part of knowledge base article KB2998588.
  2. If you are planning on deploying SP3s Microsoft has provided a blog post that describes how to use Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) to provision an SP3 so that connected standby is properly configured.
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