Windows 10 Surface Pro 3 Docking Station Network Problem: SOLVED!

Dan Holme

by Dan Holme on 9/12/2015

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The Surface Pro 3 Docking Station has a nasty bug in Windows 10 that causes the network stack to lock up completely when copying large files, requiring a complete restart.  Problem SOLVED!

I've been suffering from this problem since the day Windows 10 Preview began, many, many painful months ago.

The scenario is simple: I'm on my Surface Pro 3 in the docking station copying a large file from my computer to another computer on the network.  Doesn't matter what tool I use: BeyondCompare is my tool of choice, but this also happens with Windows' own File Explorer. A few MB into the transfer of a large file, the transfer freezes, and Windows network stack just locks up. Outlook is disconnected, browsing anywhere on the Web shows every page unavailable.  Interestingly, the network indicator in the system tray doesn't change--it still looks normal--but it's not. ALL networking has frozen.

I can't switch to WiFi--that's frozen, now, too. I can't disable the Ethernet adapter. Locked. Frozen. The system won't even restart properly.  I have to do a "hold the power button down" hard-shutdown.

If I perform the exact same process on a wireless connection, no problem.  And the problem is somewhat random. I never figured out exactly what size file would lock up the computer and there didn't appear to be any universal "rule" as to what would break. But if I was copying files of any size, it happened at least 80% of the time.

This was driving me ABSOLUTELY INSANE.  Nothing like having to do a complete, hard reset of my computer and then to remember where I was, and which applications and sites were open. Major interruption to my day.

Thank god for the internet and for talented geeks who are willing to share what they've learned.  I've searched regularly for solutions to this problem, but today I found the solution over on Windows Central's forum, posted by a user named Uebernerd, to whom I'm uber-grateful!

Here's the solution:

  1. Download the latest driver for the Surface Pro 3 docking station ethernet connection.
    • The Microsoft Update Catalog requires Internet Explorer... geez...
    • You can also just go to to the Microsoft Update Catalog and search for "Microsoft - LAN - Surface Ethernet Adapter"
    • Be sure to get the Windows 10 version and, specifically, the 32-bit or 64-bit version, as appropriate for your computer.
    • For what it's worth, the version I downloaded--the latest as of September 12, 2015--is 8.19.602.2015.
    • Click Add to add the driver to your basket.
    • Click View Basket.
    • Click Download.
  2. Remove your Surface Pro 3 from the docking station. You might want to connect a keyboard--there's some typing ahead!
  3. Open Device Manager.
    • Right-click Start and then click Device Manager
  4. Click View, then click Show hidden devices.
  5. Expand Network adapters.
  6. Right-click Surface Ethernet Adapter and then click Uninstall.
  7. Select the check box Delete the driver for this device.
  8. Restart the Surface Pro 3 undocked.
  9. Open the Command Prompt with Run As Administrator.
    • Right-click Start and then click Command Prompt (Admin).
  10. Navigate to the folder that was downloaded from Windows Update Catalog.
    • The download created a folder inside your download folder.
  11. Type the following command to expand (unzip) the driver cabinet:
    expand -F:* "%CD%"
    • Tip: Type expand then press TAB to autofill the (very long) filename
  12. Type the following command to install the driver:
    pnputil -i -a msu30x64w8.inf
  13. Shut down the Surface Pro 3.
  14. Place the Surface Pro 3 into the dock.
  15. Start the Surface Pro 3 and live a happier file-copying life!

So I'm listed as the author here, but the reality is I'm just an incredibly grateful end user in this case. Deepest gratitude to Uebernerd and Windows Central forums for leading me to this answer!!

Topic: Windows 10

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  • This was helpful! For me on my Surface Pro, the network adapter on the dock disappeared. When I went to the hidden devices, there were two, but they were grayed out. I deleted them, restarted, and still could not get them to appear. Applied the latest batch of updates and it appeared after the reboot. I don''''t know if there was a firmware update or what in the latest update bundle, but it finally allowed the device to be seen so a driver could load.
  • Thank you
  • There is a slightly more simply way of updating the driver, After downloading the Windows 10 version and expanding it, bring up device manager and find the Surface Ethernet Adapter, right-click and choose to Update Driver Software. Browse to where you've expanded the downloaded driver and choose to update it. You can even do that while docked. I'd suggest a reboot after but it may not be needed.
  • Thi
  • Thanks man; I hope this works. I had already given up on the issue and used a USB ethernet adapter.