Surface Dock Updater fails on Surface Book (Gen 1) with SurfaceBaseFWUpdateDriver.dll

By December 20, 2018 January 10th, 2019 Other

For over a year now I have been unable to update my Surface Dock via the Surface Dock Updater tool due to an error when installing the software. An error occurs when trying to install the SurfaceBaseFWUpdateDriver.dll and subsequently the install rolls back.

You may think that you can just update the dock via another working Surface such as a Surface Pro and although this will update the dock it will not enable certain enhancements when used with your Surface Book. This is due to the Surface Book requiring a firmware update itself which is delivered by the Surface Dock Updater tool.

An extract from the relevant change log states the following, see the note…

Version 2.12.136.0

Release Date: 29 January 2018

This version of Surface Dock Updater adds support for the following:

  • Update for Surface Dock Main Chipset Firmware
  • Update for Surface Dock DisplayPort Firmware
  • Improved display stability for external displays when used with Surface Book or Surface Book 2

Additionally, installation of this version of Surface Dock Updater on Surface Book devices includes the following:

  • Update for Surface Book Base Firmware
  • Added support for Surface Dock firmware updates with improvements targeted to Surface Book devices

[!Note] Before the Surface Dock firmware update applied by Surface Dock Updater v2.12.136.0 will take effect on a Surface Book device, a firmware update for the Surface Book Base is required. If you install Surface Dock Updater v2.12.136.0 on a Surface Book and update an attached Surface Dock from that same device, the firmware of the Surface Book Base will automatically be updated when installing the Surface Dock Updater. However, if you update a Surface Dock using Surface Dock Updater v2.12.136.0 on different device, and then connect that Surface Dock to a Surface Book where Surface Dock Updater v2.12.136.0 has not been installed, the benefits of the updated Surface Dock will not be enabled. To enable the benefits of the updated Surface Dock on a Surface Book device, Surface Book Base firmware must also be updated by installing Surface Dock Updater v2.12.136.0 on the Surface Book device. Surface Book Base firmware update is not required on a Surface Book 2 device.

More change log information can be found here… https://github.com/MicrosoftDocs/windows-itpro-docs/blob/master/devices/surface/surface-dock-updater.md

Searching various posts on the Microsoft website there are numerous posts asking for help to resolve this problem which Microsoft seems to brush under the carpet blaming faulty hardware as a go to response.

However today I finally found a fix, and its quite easy to do. The trick is to run the Surface Dock Updater under the SYSTEM context.

Here is how I managed to resolve the problem…

  1. Download the latest Surface Dock Updater tool from https://www.microsoft.com/download/details.aspx?id=46703
  2. Download and extract PSTools from https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/pstools
  3. Open an elevated command prompt and navigate to the directory which you extracted PSTools too.
  4. Execute the following command
    psexec -i -s CMD
  5. A new command prompt will open.
  6. Type “whoami” and make sure “nt authority\system” is returned.
  7. Navigate to the Surface Dock Updater tool msi and execute. This time is should now install correctly.

Congratulations you should now be able to update your dock.

Why Microsoft has not been able to address this issue and provide guidance on how to get around the problem is beyond me.

Chris Colden

Chris Colden

28 | IT Consultant | Web Dev'er | Geek | Metal Head | Gamer | Tea, Beer and Wine Drinker | Slightly Wonky | All views my own and not of my employer(s)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.