Microsoft plans to recall power cables for previous-generation Surface Pro tablets. The cords can overheat and pose fire hazard, according to reports. While Microsoft recalls millions of cables, the company insists that only a very small number of them can actually be dangerous.

Power cables of Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2 and Surface Pro 3 are vulnerable to overheating and could pose a fire hazard after they are sharply or repeatedly bent or tightly wrapped, according to Microsoft. Microsoft did not name the supplier of the power cords it shipped for about three years. The potentially dangerous cables look like regular power cords used with variety of notebook PSUs. Such cables are not very bendable and, as it appears, can be damaged. Fortunately, they are detachable and users, who want to replace their cables now, can do so without waiting for Microsoft.

On Wednesday the company confirmed to ZDNet that the recall will be taking place, and will officially issue a statement on the matter of Surface Pro power cables early on Friday. The voluntary recall will be applied to all devices sold before mid-July, 2015, worldwide. Eligible customers wishing to get a replacement will have to order it via a special web-site. Microsoft plans to advice customers to stop using potentially dangerous power cords and to dispose of them in accordance with local regulations.

Microsoft Surface Pro charger is on the left side of the picture.

Microsoft’s Surface (non-Pro) slates as well as the latest Surface Pro 4 tablets are not affected, the software giant said, reports

The first-generation Surface Pro was introduced along with the Windows 8 operating system in October, 2012. It became available in early 2013 and was replaced by the Surface Pro 2 later that year. The third-generation Surface Pro hit the market in mid-2014. To date, Microsoft has sold millions of its slates, which it positions as notebook replacement tablets.

Many power cords should not be bent or wrapped too tightly because they can be damaged this way. Some companies try to use softer cables and/or equip their cables with some form of cable management. Unfortunately, power cords of Microsoft Surface Pro only come with a tiny hook.

Keeping in mind that so far, there have been no reports about overheating cables or PSUs of Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablets, the cables should be generally safe to use. Nonetheless, it is somewhat sad that Microsoft has not discovered the potential issue earlier.

Update: Owners can get a new cord from Microsoft from this link:


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  • mkozakewich - Thursday, January 21, 2016 - link

    Because of the way the connector is designed (long and thin with the cable coming out of one end), there's little choice but to have the cable bend to and fro as you use it. My first one didn't last a year, and I looped my second one into that little hook thing. I tied it there with some floss to make sure it stayed. That solution worked for over a year, but then the plastic face holding the steel crumbled away and the wiring of the connector head was exposed.

    Frankly, I'm dismayed by the construction of these adapters. It would have made sense to make the thin cable replaceable, too, and just have those ends in abundance at stores across the world.

    The article makes it sound like this recall might be for only the AC cable, which would be pointless. Hopefully I can get the whole brick replaced, because otherwise I'm looking at shelling out yet another $80 or letting the whole system die once my current cable stops working (or melts down entirely―the remaining plastic is already warping from the heat).
  • thetuna - Thursday, January 21, 2016 - link

    Your 'across the world' comment makes me think you may not be US based... however, if you are close to a Microsoft store, I can practically guarantee they would replace your charger no questions asked.
  • mkozakewich - Thursday, January 21, 2016 - link

    They don't have a store in my city, unfortunately.
  • NYC Tech - Thursday, January 21, 2016 - link

    Microsoft tried to make a premium product but the end result is an epic failure poor QC and poor Design and they use cheap suppliers this is yet another one to add on the list....they should recall or offer a refund to all the poor people that purchased the MS Touch/Type Wireless Keyboard adapter...their cheap manufacturer used a Ni-cad rechargeable battery in it instead of Lithium Ion the damn thing is next to useless after a couple of months use as the Ni-cad battery's charge life is drastically reduced plus Ni-cad has next to no shelf life charge retention losing at least 1% / hour when not in use. They are cutting corners with cheap suppliers and still charging premium prices. The return rate was so bad on it that it is not sold in the regular stores anymore (like BestBuy ect) you can only get it directly from Microsoft now because all the stores were returning them.
  • NonSequitor - Friday, January 22, 2016 - link

    It's strange, then, that we have had non of them go bad in a deployment of 25 Surface Pro 3s.
  • NonSequitor - Friday, January 22, 2016 - link

    *none. Why is it I always notice typos after hitting Submit?
  • mkozakewich - Thursday, January 21, 2016 - link

    (I followed the process, and apparently it's only the useless AC cable they're replacing. They will still try to replace heavily-damaged power supplies, though, if they're suddenly sparking or melting. You'll need to call them and have them escalate the issue, though, and you'll need to have the hardware so you can give them the IDs.)
  • vaporcobra - Friday, January 22, 2016 - link

    mayyyyy have submitted three separate orders... Appears to be working thus far.

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