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How to Fix a Surface Pen Not Working [Step-by-Step] 2023

How to Fix a Surface Pen Not Working [Step-by-Step] 2023

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A Surface Pen not working can be frustrating for those who use it for both work or creative tasks. Before attempting any of the following fixes to make a surface pen work again, ensure the basics are covered: batteries are charged and the surface pro has been restarted.

The battery needing to be replaced is one of the most common issue I’ve seen – this is because people forget the battery needs to be recharged.

You may also need Surface Pen Replacement Tips. While rare, a very used Surface Pen nib could make the tip not work correctly.

Teachers or professionals that use Zoom or apps to annotate & draw for their classroom – are the most common group of users that have this issue on their Surface Pro stylus pen.

If replacing: I tested the Raphael Renaisser stylus pen and found it worked almost identical to the Surface Pen. Some users (we surveyed) went as far as to claim it’s better.

-Paul Michael, founder of mediapeanut.com

Instead of restarting the device in front of your students or co-workers, you can use the graphic reset we cover in further this post for an instant fix.

Related: 9 Best Stylus Pens for Surface Pro 7, 8, 9, and X

We surveyed our audience and found the following solutions had the highest chance of solving a Surface Pen not working:

How to fix a Surface Pen not working

How to fix a surface pen step by step

I’ve researched and troubleshooted the Surface Pen for hours – using several different methods. I ended up finding a few that actually worked quite well.

Quick tip: A quick reset of the pen can do wonders for many, which is done by holding down the top button until you see the light blink on the stylus, which takes 8-12 seconds.

Related: 9 Best Surface Pen & Slim Pen Alternatives (Surface Pro Pens)

IMPORTANT QUICK TIP SURFACE PRO NOT WORKING

However, here’s some additional ways that can permanently solve the surface pen not working:

  • Updated Drivers, App softwares, and Windows OS
  • Batteries are charged or replaced
  • Reset the Pen using a one or two button shutdown
  • Unpair and then pair the device again to the surface pro
  • Disable, then enable the Graphics card again

Let’s dive into our guide on how to fix your surface pen and surface slim pen 2 that suddenly stopped working.

1. Ensure your Surface Pen Drivers are updated. 

1. Ensure your Surface Pen Drivers are updated.

First thing you want to do before anything else is to make sure the drivers for your Surface Pro and surface pen are up to date. 

If your Windows operating system is out of date, it’s likely the root cause of your stylus pen being unable to write or draw in apps. For example you’re likely using a Surface pro 2-in-1 tablet on apps such as Adobe photoshop, Krita, Lightroom, or Zoom

All you need to do is to take the following steps and update the drivers and operating system with the following steps:

  • First, check for the latest update by navigating to the bottom right corner of your surface device with your mouse on the Windows home screen.
  • Click the Icon that looks like a square, then look for the ‘All settings’ box and select it.
  • From here, type in ‘Update & Security’ in the search box and click it. The icon will look like two arrows circling each other in a loop.
  • From here, quick ’check for updates’,  and let the system retrieve any new updates that could fix your surface pen not working issue. 

If the software and driver updates are already Up today where they did not fix the problem, then you’re going to need to reinstall the drivers.

Re-installing drivers guide

Re-installing drivers and recalibrating the Surface Pen is a very common fix for:

  • A surface pen that suddenly stopped drawing or writing out of nowhere.
  • When the writing & drawing of the surface pen looks unintentionally jagged, squiggly, or wavy.
  • A Surface Pen that’s not working after replacing the battery

Reinstalling your drivers may sound complex, but it’s actually very simple with some guidance. It’s also the only solution we found that solved our Surface Pro pen that stopped working after an update.

To reinstall the drivers that will enable your Surface Pen to work again, follow the steps below:

  • Open the start menu and type in ‘Device Manager’, then select the best match
  • From here, locate the ‘Human interface devices’ tab and allow the dropdown by clicking the down arrow to the left of it’s icon.
  • Right click on the Intel Precise Touch device driver and the third option down will be ‘uninstall’ device.
  • Next, right-click on your HID-compliant touch screen driver, and select Uninstall device.
  • Perform the same uninstall steps for the Surface touch driver which is located under firmware in the device manager. 
  • Once this is done, you’ll also uninstall the Surface Touch Servicing ML
  • Finally, right click on the Surface Pen Pairing option and select the uninstall device option.
  • Congratulations, once you’ve restarted your laptop. All the drivers will re-install on their own again and your surface Pen will work again.

If the surface pen does not work at this point still, then you’ll need to search Windows for the word calibrate and then simply calibrate your screen, this will affect the touch input. 

At this point, everything should be functioning again. 

Related: How Long Does a Microsoft Surface Pro last? (the truth)

If it does not, you’ll want to move onto our next step or alternatively consider replacing your surface pen with an alternative stylus like the Renaisser, which is what I ended up doing after repeated issues with my Surface Pen.

Updating/Reinstalling drivers is often the solution for Surface Books, Surface Pro’s and Surface Go Tablets and laptops that have this issue with their accessories.

2. Ensure its not the battery and replace it

2. Ensure its not the battery and replace it 1

If the other peripherals on your Surface Pen work, this might indicate that the pen’s battery is faulty or low on power. 

This is a very common issue as in some cases, the Surface Pen battery drains faster than it should. This is particularly true when combining an older Surface Pen model with the latest Surface Pro 8.

In that case, the first thing you should do is inspect the battery of your pen. To check your pen’s battery status, all you need to do is navigate to Start > Settings > Devices > Bluetooth & other devices. 

Keep in mind that if the tablet and the pen have low battery, this should be the reason why your Surface doesn’t accept input from your pen. 

And we know (from personal experience) how inconvenient this is, especially if you’re using a Surface Pro for drawing or note keeping. So, replacing the battery is a smart way to surpass this inconvenient situation. 

Another way to find out if your battery is dead is to check the light on the Surface Pen. To be precise, if the light is blinking red, it is time to charge the battery. The light will also be red if your battery needs replacement (can’t charge). 

The easiest way to fix this is to replace the Surface Pro Pen battery. Numerous issues were remedied when the battery in their Surface Pro pen was replaced. Thankfully, replacing the battery on a Surface Pen is very easy.

To accomplish this, take these steps:

1) After removing the cap from your Surface Pen, remove the battery.

2) Replace the battery and reattach the cover. Turn the cap slightly to align the flat edges.

3) This should resolve the issue. If the Pen still doesn’t work, it may be time to replace it with a Surface  Pen alternative. 

3. Reset the Surface Pro Pen or Surface Slim Pen 2 by using a two-button shutdown

3. Reset the Surface Pro Pen or Surface Slim Pen 2 by using a two button shutdown 1

On some occasions, a Surface Pro Pen not working can be resolved by resetting your Surface Pen and tablet. First, try to reset the Surface Pro Pen as this is the easiest (and less time-consuming) procedure.

Here is how to reset Surface Pen not working:

  1. Press and hold the pen point for 7-10 seconds
  2. If you’re using an older model of Surface Pen, the light next to the Pen clip will flash. If you’re using one of the latest Surface Pen models, the light on the flat side will be white 
  3. The pen will reboot in a few seconds
  4. The problem should be resolved. You can now use your Surface pen to write, draw, and take notes.

If that still doesn’t work, there’s a chance that your Surface tablet is the reason why. In fact, there are many times when Surface Pens stop working because of a software or hardware malfunction. To solve that, you can try resetting your Surface Pro. This will allow you to reinstall the latest version of Windows and automatically solve major software issues.

Before you reset your device and reinstall Windows, you can choose to keep your files or remove them. You should always backup the most important documents, even if you choose to keep your files. To reset your Surface, all you have to do is go to Start > Settings > System > Recovery. Alternatively, you can reset your tablet from the sign-in screen. Here’s how:

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows key  + L
  2. Hold the Shift down while you select Power  > Restart in the lower-right corner of the screen.
  3. After your Surface restart, go to Troubleshoot > Reset this PC

4. Disconnect, then Pair your Surface pen or Surface Slim Pen again

4. Disconnect then Pair your Surface pen or Surface Slim Pen again

If resetting your devices doesn’t work, you can try disconnecting your Surface Pen and pairing it again with your Surface tablet. This is super-effective for the Surface Slim Pen, but also works for most Surface Pen models. 

Keep in mind that the Surface Pen connects to the Surface tablet via bluetooth. By disconnecting it and pairing it again, you can automatically solve issues with your tablet’s Bluetooth connectivity while soft-resetting your pen. 

To disconnect your Surface Pen, you have to:

  1. Open the Settings by pressing the Windows Key + I
  2. Go to Devices and select the Bluetooth tab
  3. In the left panel, find your pen and click the Remove button. Click on Yes to confirm

After disconnecting your Surface Pen, it is time to pair it again with your tablet. To do that:

  1. Go to the Settings menu > Bluetooth. Make sure that the Bluetooth option is turned on
  2. Click on Add Bluetooth or other device. Select Bluetooth and wait for your tablet to find the Surface Pen. 
  3. After the scan is complete, from the available devices, click on your Surface Pen.
  4. Your Surface Pen will resume writing after the pairing process is completed

Related: Surface Pro 7 vs iPad Pro for Drawing & Art (Compared)

5. Download the Windows Update (Windows 10, 11)

5. Download the Windows Update Windows 10 11

Most Surface pens will work with previous Windows versions (Windows 10 or Windows 7). Still, that doesn’t mean that downloading the latest Windows updates isn’t a reliable fix for a Surface Pen stopped working. On the contrary, the more recent the Windows version you have installed on your Surface tablet, the more likely for your Surface Pen to start working again. 

In general, Windows updates should be installed as Microsoft regularly updates the Surface Pen software as well. This is why an outdated Windows system could be the reason behind a compatibility malfunction of your Surface Pen. To avoid that, you can simply go to Settings > Update & Security > Check for Updates.

Side note: If you’re using a stylus, then you likely use art apps like Procreate – note that if you’re using the surface pro, then you have windows… and you’ll need some workarounds to get Procreate on Windows.

By following this simple process, you allow your tablet to automatically check for available downloads/updates in the background. After the updates have been downloaded, you have to restart your computer. If you don’t, the changes won’t be applied and the Surface Pen won’t work. 

6. Utilize the Windows Troubleshooter (inbuilt)

6. Utilize the Windows Troubleshooter inbuilt

Another way to fix a Surface Pen that’s not working is to run the inbuilt Surface Diagnostic Toolkit. Contrary to what many believe, the Windows Troubleshooter can solve compatibility and connectivity issues quickly. 

This is a very efficient solution if your Surface Pen isn’t reacting or if the eraser on the Surface Pen works, but the tip of your pen doesn’t. To access the inbuilt Windows Troubleshooter:

  1. In the search box, type Surface Diagnostic Toolkit 
  2. Keep in mind that this toolkit should be preinstalled on your Surface tablet. If you can’t find it, you can always download it for free from the official Microsoft Store
  3. By accessing the troubleshooter, you will follow a series of instructions. The whole troubleshooting process shouldn’t take longer than 20 minutes (depending on your internet connection and tablet)

The Surface Diagnostic Toolkit is a great way to solve issues related to your Surface Pen but it isn’t limited to just that. You can check and resolve issues about other peripherals too (touchscreen, display, microphone, speakers, etc).

7. Disable, then enable your Graphics Card

7. Disable then enable your Graphics Card

If none of the above troubleshooting steps helped and your Surface Pen still isn’t working, you should try disabling and enabling the graphics card of your Surface tablet. Keep in mind that the device can sometimes be the source of the issue. 

First, perform a hard reset on your Surface device. To hard reset Surface, perform the steps mentioned above (see fix number 3). But, if hard resetting your Surface still doesn’t work, you can try disabling the GPU of your Surface tablet. 

To disable your Surface’s graphics card:

  1. Right-click the Start icon, and go to Device Manager
  2. From the available devices, locate and expand the Display adapters tab
  3. Right-click on the GPU of your device (depending on the model), and select Disable device.
  4. After disabling your graphics card, restart your device and enable again following the same steps. Keep in mind that this requires some extended computing knowledge. 

If you don’t have enough experience, you shouldn’t try this out. Don’t forget that it is much easier to replace your Surface Pen with a pen alternative.   

Less Common Problems solved: Surface Pen or Surface Slim pen still not working

Less Common Problems solved Surface Pen or Surface Slim pen still not working

There’s quite a few problems that can occur with different models of the surface Pen. While software updates often solve the issue, it’s not always the case. Below, we provide fixes for the common problems associated between the 2-in-1 surface devices and the surface stylus pens.

Surface pen tip not working or Surface Pen is not responding

Surface pen tip not working or Surface Pen is not responding

There are some occasions when the Surface Pen eraser works but not tip. If that’s the case with your pen, you should know that a depleted battery is usually the reason why. So, all you have to do is replace the AAAA battery with a new one and check if the pen tip is working. 

If that doesn’t work, you can reset the power supply of your pen. To do that, unscrew the pen just enough to turn off the power supply. Wait a few seconds before screwing the pen to turn it on.

If the Surface Pen is not writing but the buttons are working, you can resolve the problem by simply resetting the pen. Press and hold the pen button for roughly 10 seconds and your Surface Pen should reset.

Finally, the reason why your tip is not working, could be a Surface tip malfunction. You can replace the tips on a Surface Pen without a clip or a Surface Pen with a single button on the flat edge. The exchangeable tips are one of the major advantages of the Surface Pen vs Apple Pencil 2.  

Here’s how to change a Surface pen tip:

  1. Use tweezers to pull until the entire tip of your Surface Pen is removed
  2. Choose one of the surface pen tip replacements you have and place the thinnest section of the replacement pen tip
  3. Push down on the tip until it clicks into place

If none of the troubleshooting steps above worked and your Surface tip still doesn’t work properly, you might have to replace your pen with another Surface Pen or a Surface pen alternative. 

Surface pen not turning on 

Surface pen not turning on

In most cases, if your Surface Pen is not turning on, it is because of the battery. An AAAA battery powers all Surface Pens, and a dead battery could be the cause of the Surface Pen’s inability to function. 

You can check the battery level of your Surface pen by pressing and holding the eraser button of the stylus for 5 to 7 seconds. If no LED light appears, this means your pen’s battery needs to be replaced or charged.

Thankfully, changing the battery on a Surface Pen isn’t challenging. All you have to do is purchase an AAAA battery, open the cap, remove the old battery and install the new one.

If the surface pen continues to not turn on, take a look at some capacitive stylus pens and see if they work. For example, the same standard stylus pens that will work on iPhone may be useful in this scenario. 

Surface pen not showing up in bluetooth

Surface pen not showing up in bluetooth

If your Surface Pen is not showing up in the Bluetooth tab of your device, there are two possible reasons why. First, there is a chance that your tablet’s Bluetooth hardware is malfunctioning. To make sure that this is not the issue, check if your device shows up and connects with other bluetooth devices like soundbar, keyboard, mouse, etc. 

Say your tablet or laptop successfully connects to other bluetooth devices but can’t find your Surface Pen. Does this mean that your Surface Pen is faulty and needs to be replaced? Well, not always. 

Bluetooth is a very powerful technology that’s nowadays used for numerous automation and localization wireless systems [source]. But, that doesn’t mean it’s flawless. 

If you have already used the pen on your device, this may be the reason why it is not showing up when scanning. Check if your Surface Pen appears in the list of associated devices, and if it does, tap on Remove. 

Any connection issues should be resolved by removing it and pairing it again. If your Surface Pen isn’t on the list, move on to the next steps: 

  1. Make sure that your Surface Pen battery is charged
  2. If your Bluetooth list shows the pen as “Not connected,” double-check that your Surface has all of the current updates loaded 
  3. Turn off the Bluetooth from your device and turn  it back on. Resetting your device’s bluetooth could solve compatibility issues
  4. Go to Settings > Devices > Bluetooth > Related Settings > More Bluetooth Options and click on Restore Default. This should solve any Bluetooth software-related issues 

If none of the above steps worked, your Surface Pen could be faulty. In that case, unfortunately, the best thing to do is to replace it with a different active pen. 

Button problems

There are a few cases where Surface users complain about button-related issues with their Surface Pen like:

  1. The buttons don’t work or the writing is jagged and inaccurate
  2. The pen doesn’t work but the bluetooth and buttons work
  3. The pen eraser works but the shortcut button doesn’t

Although there’s a chance that the issue is related to hardware malfunction, that isn’t always the case. So, let’s have a look at how you can fix a Surface Pen button not working. 

Surface Pen Not Writing, but the buttons or bluetooth works

If your Surface Pen is not writing/drawing but the Bluetooth and the shortcut buttons are working, you may be able to resolve the problem by simply resetting the pen. You only need to press and hold the pen button for roughly 10 seconds to complete this task. The pen will automatically reset after that, and the issue with your Surface Pen tip should be resolved. If the problem persists, you can also try to:

  1. Check (and replace if needed) the battery of your Surface Pen
  2. Turn off and on the Bluetooth from your tablet to reset the connection
  3. Disconnect and pair your Surface Pen again
  4. Use the Windows inbuilt troubleshooter and update your Windows by utilizing the Windows Update feature from settings

Surface Pen Eraser button not working

In most cases, if your Surface Pen eraser isn’t working but the rest function of your pen do, it is probably due to an issue with the hardware (eraser button is faulty). However, you can try restarting your Surface tablet and resetting the Surface Pen. Don’t forget that, if there is a software or firmware issue related to this problem, resetting your device should fix it. 

Another reason why your Surface Pen eraser button is not working could be the battery. Try replacing the AAAA battery of your Surface Pen with a new one and check if that solves the issue.

If the problem persists, you can also try the following steps:

  1. Open the Surface Diagnostic Toolkit and look for Windows Update.
  2. Update the Surface Pen drivers and firmware
  3. Disassemble and reassemble your Surface Pen. Be extremely careful when doing this, as it could harm the rest of the buttons and overall functionality of your Surface Pen. 

Surface pen light flashing

Microsoft has included LED lights on all Surface Pen models that will tell you when to charge the battery, provide info about pairing the pen and more. More specifically, the pen provides specific information depending on the color of the light that’s flashing.

So, if your Surface Pen light is flashing, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. On the flip side, if the surface pen light is not turning on, the device is probably out of battery or has a significant hardware issue. In that case, make sure to change the batteries before replacing your Surface Pen with an alternative.

Apart from the white light (means connected and working), the Surface pens flash in 2 different colors: green and red. Let’s have a look at what each LED light indicates and how you can fix potential issues:

  • Surface Pen blinking Green: 

If your Surface Pen light blinks green, it means that the pen is not currently paired to an external Surface device. The first thing you can do to fix that is add the Surface Pen to your Surface tablet via bluetooth. Add your pen to the Bluetooth device list of your tablet as a new device. If this does not solve the issue, you probably need to get a new pen.

  • Surface Pen blinking Red:

If the light on your pen is blinking red (or orange), it is probably because your battery is low in power and needs to be replaced or charged. To fix that, you can charge the battery of your pen or simply replace it with a new AAAA battery. 

To replace the battery, all you need to do is open the cap, take off the faulty or dead battery and place the new one. Keep in mind that the Surface Pen with two side buttons has two batteries that need to be replaced.

Related: 9 Best Stylus for Drawing on Android Devices

How to fix a Surface pen is connected but is not working

If your Surface Pen is successfully connected to your Surface device but it doesn’t help you draw and the buttons are not working, you should first try restarting the pen. To do that, all you have to do is press and hold the pen button for 7-10 seconds.

Although this usually solves the surface pen paired but not working issue, there are some occasions where resetting the device simply won’t do the trick. 

If that doesn’t work, you can check that the pen battery has enough power. There is a chance that your battery is almost dead and that’s why the pen isn’t functional. In that case, recharge or replace the battery with a new one.

Finally, this might be related to a software malfunction or a hidden connectivity issue. You can try to update your Windows by going to Start > Settings > Windows Update and selecting Check for updates. If you have already installed the latest Windows version, you can update the drivers and firmware for Surface.

Surface pen not working after battery change

If you have recently changed the battery of your Surface Pen but the device is still not functional, you should try resetting the device. Don’t forget that most Surface Pens won’t work automatically after installing new batteries. 

Just press the pen button for a few seconds and see if the light starts blinking. Also, if you have a Surface Pen with two side buttons, you should know that this model requires two batteries to work. If you replaced only one of the two dead batteries, there’s a chance that it’s not working because of that. 

Replacement options

Replacement options for the surface pain and surface slim pen are not widely available outside of the official Microsoft stylus options. 

However, I did find that the Renaisser worked As a functional replacement for the official option. It has many of the same features such as 4096 pressure sensitivity, tilt recognition, magnetic attachment and is highly compatible with several surface devices. For further information on this, see our post on the best surface pen alternatives. 

If you’re simply looking to replace the tips and nibs there are many different options that range from quality and price point which we cover in our guide: Surface Pen replacement tips and nibs. 

Whichever route you decide to go, make sure that the replacement digital pen you choose has pressure sensitivity, is compatible, and works with the apps you need it to.

Uogic stylus pen not working

The latest Uogic stylus is one of the best replacements for the official Surface Pen. If your Uogic pen suddenly stopped working, there are a few troubleshooting steps you can follow to fix this:

  1. Replace the AAAA battery
  2. Delete the drivers of the Uogic stylus. To do that, go to Settings >  Apps > Uogic > Uninstall. After deleting the pen drivers, download them again from the official Uogic website and install them once again on your device 
  3. Turn off and on the Bluetooth from your device. If that doesn’t work, remove the Uogic stylus from the bluetooth list and pair it again
  4. Update the Windows to the latest version. This will help you solve any compatibility-related issues.

If you bought the Uogic stylus JamJake or Meko pen, and not the Surface Pen, it’s possible you just received it or have used it for some time already before the pen stopped working. Perhaps it stopped working suddenly, whether it has intermittent issues or completely no response.

Because these are typically sold mostly on amazon, there could be multiple issues that arise with the stylus pen that many are unaware of and a replacement pen may be necessary if reaching out to the manufacturer doesn’t ultimately bring you a working pen.

Conclusion

While reviewing why a Surface Pen stops writing suddenly, we identified that this is usually related to the software or battery of the device. In fact, this also is almost always the case if a Surface Pro Pen writing without touching screen, Surface Pen click not working, or Surface pen won’t connect to a Surface tablet (Surface Pro 3, Surface Pro 6, Surface Pro 7, etc)

To fix that, you can check if your pen’s drivers are updated. If not, you can update them or reinstall them from the Device Manager tab. In this blog post, we also explored other possible fixes like replacing the battery, rebooting of your Surface Pro Pen, and updating the Windows on your Surface tablet. 
If you find your Surface Stylus not working after trying all these troubleshooting steps, you probably need to replace your pen. During our testing, we found Renaisser to be by far the best Surface Pen replacement on the market.