Full Fix: Surface Pen not writing but buttons work

Milan Stanojevic avatar. By: Milan Stanojevic
6 minute read

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Microsoft Surface is a great device, but many users reported that Surface Pen is not writing while the buttons on the pen work without any problems. This is a strange issue, and in today’s article we’ll show you how to fix it.

There are various issues with Surface Pen that can occur, and speaking of issues, here are some common problems reported by users:

  • Surface Pro 3, 4 Pen not working – Sometimes your Surface Pro pen won’t work at all. This is usually caused by your battery, so make sure that your battery isn’t empty.
  • Surface Pro 4 Pen connected but not writing – This problem can occur due to certain Bluetooth glitches. To fix the problem, simply unpair and pair your pen again.
  • Surface Pen not writing on screen, in Word, OneNote – Sometimes your pen might not write on the screen or in other applications such as Word and OneNote. To fix the problem, you need to disable Intel devices in Device Manager and enable them again.
  • Surface Pen is paired but not writing – This is a relatively common problem with Surface Pen, and you should be able to fix it using one of our solutions.

Surface Pen not working but buttons work, how to fix it?


  1. Unpair your pen with the Surface and connect it again
  2. Update your drivers
  3. Check your battery
  4. Restart your Surface device
  5. Run the troubleshooter
  6. Disable and re-enable Intel(R) HD Graphics 520
  7. Reboot the pen
  8. Install the latest updates

Solution 1 – Unpair your pen with the Surface and connect it again

If your Surface Pen is not writing but other buttons work, the issue might be a temporary Bluetooth glitch. Many users reported that they managed to fix this problem simply by unpairing their Surface Pen and pairing it again with their Surface. This is quite simple to do, and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app. The fastest way to do that is to press Windows Key + I.
  2. When the Settings app opens, head over to the Devices section.
    Surface Pro 4 Pen not working
  3. In the left pane select Bluetooth. Locate your pen in the left pane and click the Remove button. Now click Yes to confirm.
  4. Optional: Restart your Surface device.
  5. Once your device boots, press and hold the pairing button on it to pair it with your Surface.

Once the pairing process is completed, your Surface Pen will start writing again. Bear in mind that this is just a workaround, so you might have to repeat this solution if the problem reappears.


Solution 2 – Update your drivers

Sometimes issues with Surface Pen can occur if there’s a problem with your drivers. If one of your drivers is out of date, certain components might not work properly, and that will cause this and many other problems to appear.

In order to ensure that everything is working properly, we strongly suggest keeping all your drivers up to date. You can download the latest drivers directly from Microsoft’s website for your Surface device, which is usually the best solution.

Alternatively, you can use third-party tools such as TweakBit Driver Updater to quickly and automatically update your drivers, so you might want to try it out.

Disclaimer: Some advanced features of this tool may not be free


Solution 3 – Check your battery

If your Surface Pen is not writing, but other buttons work, the issue might be your battery. In case you don’t know, Surface Pen uses two batteries, one of the pen and one for the buttons, so if the pen isn’t working, it’s rather likely that your battery is empty.

To fix this problem, simply replace the battery and check if that solves the problem for you. Many users reported that the battery was the problem, but after replacing it, the issue was permanently resolved.


Solution 4 – Restart your Surface device

Sometimes glitches can cause various issues, and if your Surface Pen is not writing, you might be able to fix this problem simply by restarting your Surface device. This is quite simple to do, and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. Press and hold the Power button on your Surface for 30 seconds. Make sure that the device is completely turned off.
  2. Now press and hold the Volume Up and the Power button together for about 15 seconds. Your screen should flash the Surface logo. This is perfectly normal.
  3. Release the buttons and wait for about 10 seconds. Now press and release the power button to turn the Surface back on.

Some users reported that this method worked for them, so we encourage you to try it out. Keep in mind that this is just a workaround, so you might have to repeat this solution if the problem reappears.


Solution 5 – Run the troubleshooter

According to users, you can fix the problem with Surface Pen simply by running the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter. As you know, Windows comes with various built-in troubleshooters, and they can be used to automatically fix certain issues.

To run a built-in troubleshooter, you just need to do the following:

  1. Open the Settings app. When the Settings app opens, head over to the Update & Security section.
    Surface Pen not writing on screen

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  3. Select Troubleshoot from the left pane. Choose Hardware and Devices from the list and click the Run the troubleshooter button.
    Surface Pro 3 Pen not working
  4. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the troubleshooter.

Once the troubleshooter is completed, check if the problem is still there. If the issue persists, you might want to try running the Bluetooth troubleshooter as well. Keep in mind that troubleshooters are designed to fix some common problems and glitches so they might not be able to fix your problem.


Solution 6 – Disable and re-enable Intel(R) HD Graphics 520

Many users reported that their Surface Pen is not writing because of the Intel(R) HD Graphics 520. It seems that this device causes certain issues with the Surface Pen, and in order to fix the problem, it’s advised to temporarily disable this device. You can do that by following these steps:

  1. Open Win + X menu and choose Device Manager from the list. You can do that simply by right-clicking the Start button.
    Surface Pen is paired but not writing
  2. Locate the Intel(R) HD Graphics 520 on the list, right-click it and choose Disable device from the menu.
    Surface Pen not writing in Word
  3. A confirmation dialog will appear. Click Yes.
    Surface Pro 4 Pen connected but not writing
  4. Wait for a few seconds after disabling the device, right-click it again and choose Enable from the menu.

This is a simple workaround, but many users claim that it works, so you might want to try it out. Bear in mind that you might have to repeat this solution every time the issue appears.

In addition, some users are recommending to disable and then enable the Intel(R) Precise Touch Device. Many reported this as a great temporary solution, so be sure to try it out.

In several instances, the users reported fixing the issue simply by disabling and enabling their Surface Pen, so you might want to try that as well.


Solution 7 – Reboot the pen

If Surface Pen is not writing but buttons work, you might be able to fix the issue simply by rebooting the pen. This is incredibly simple to do, and you just need to press and hold the pen button for about 10 seconds.

After doing that, the pen will reboot and the problem should be resolved.


Solution 8 – Install the latest updates

Another cause for issues with Surface Pen can be the missing updates. Overall, Windows 10 automatically installs the missing updates, but sometimes you might miss an update or two. In some instances there might be certain glitches or compatibility issues, and the best way to deal with them is to install the latest updates. To do that, just follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app and go to the Update & Security section.
  2. In the right pane, click the Check for updates button.
    Surface Pro 4 Pen connected but not writing

Windows will now check for available updates and download them in the background. Once the updates are downloaded, restart your PC to install the updates. After installing the latest updates, check if the problem is still there.

If Surface Pen is not working on your PC, that can be a big problem, but we hope that you managed to fix this issue by using one of our solutions.

READ ALSO:

For various PC problems, we recommend this tool.

This software will repair common computer errors, protect you from file loss, malware, hardware failure and optimize your PC for maximum performance. Fix PC issues now in 3 easy steps:

  1. Download this PC Repair Tool rated "Excellent" on TrustPilot.com.
  2. Click “Start Scan” to find Windows issues that could be causing PC problems.
  3. Click “Repair All” to fix all issues with Patented Technologies (requires upgrade).

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