Surface Pro won’t connect to TV? Here’s how to fix it

By: Elsie Otachi
7 minute read
surface pro won't connect TV

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The Surface Pro is a best-in-class laptop that’s ultra-light and has the versatility of a studio and tablet. Among its amazing features is the stunning PixelSense Display that supports Surface Pen and touch, its long battery life of up to 13.5 hours, plus razor sharp and brilliant color resolution.

But even with all this goodness, there are still moments when you’ll experience technical issues, like when the Surface Pro won’t connect to TV.

If this is your situation, try the solutions below to pinpoint and resolve the issue.

FIX: Surface Pro won’t connect to TV

  1. Preliminary checks
  2. Check video input settings
  3. Remove and reinsert video adapter
  4. Check video cables
  5. Extend/Duplicate the display to your TV
  6. Change TV screen resolution settings
  7. Try the TV adapter
  8. Troubleshoot wireless display connection
  9. Update adapter’s firmware and restart the adapter
  10. Reset the adapter
  11. Allow adapter to communicate through firewall
  12. Reinstall graphics driver
  13. Uninstall and reinstall the Surface Wi-Fi driver

1. Preliminary checks

Ensure your TV is plugged in to a working power outlet and turned on. if you use a power strip, ensure it is plugged in and turned on as well.

Some things you need to note include that the USB-C, HDMI and DisplayPort connections can transmit audio and video signals, so if you use these to connect to a TV, you can play audio from your Surface over the TV speakers.

VGA connections only transmit video, so if you use a VGA adapter to connect to your TV, audio will play on the Surface speakers unless connected to external ones or to a headset.

If your Surface is waking from sleep, it may have issues reconnecting to an external display like your TV. To resolve this, unplug the video cable from the USB-C or Mini DisplayPort and plug it back in again.

You can also install the latest updates. In most cases, this helps when Surface Pro won’t connect to TV.

— RELATED: Fix: USB stops working on TV

2. Check video input settings

If you’re trying to connect to your TV and cannot see video output from your Surface Pro, the issue may be with the video input settings on the TV. If you’re using a VGA connection to your TV, the TV screen must be set to recognize VGA as the video input signal. Check and change the video input setting on your TV from the instructions on the owner’s manual for the TV or manufacturer’s website.

Note: Common video input settings include VGA, DVI, HDMI, Line In, Input, AUX, and Source.

If this doesn’t work, try the next solution.

3. Remove and reinsert video adapter

If you’re using a video adapter like the Surface video adapter, USB-C to HDMI adapter or USB-C to VGA adapter check to confirm that it is securely connected to your Surface Pro. Remove it and reinsert firmly to confirm this. Avoid using a Y or dual-link adapter as this splits the signal between two or more screens.

If you’re using a Mini DisplayPort adapter, plug it in correctly so that it works, with the connector’s flat side aligned with the flat side of the Mini DisplayPort.

If Surface Pro won’t connect to TV even after reinserting the video adapter, go to the next solution.

4. Check video cables

A video cable of maximum 6 feet is good enough as anything longer affects video quality. Check that all the video connections are secure, from the USB-C port, Mini DisplayPort on your Surface Pro, or your docking station, and any video adapter you are using, as well as the connection on the TV’s video port.

Use the cable that came with your TV or check that the cable supports video. This is recommended for Surface Pro devices with USB-C ports. If the cable isn’t responding, use a different one to connect and see if the cable is the issue.

If you’re using a video extension cable or video converter, remove it from your setup and see if it is causing the problem. If the video adapter is from a different company, check with the manufacturer for further assistance.

— RELATED: Media Center Live TV not Working on Windows 8, 8.1 [Fix]

5. Extend/Duplicate the display to your TV

On your keyboard, press Windows Key + P, or select Action center icon on the taskbar and select Project, then choose one of the options below:

  • If you want to see the same things on your Surface Pro and TV, choose Duplicate
  • If you want to move what is on the Surface Pro screen display to your TV, choose Extend. This also lets you drag and move items between the screens and select a different resolution for your TV
  • If you only want to see everything on your TV, select Second Screen only

6. Change TV screen resolution settings

When you connect your Surface Pro to your TV, the Surface tries to set the best resolution based on the connector and your TV’s resolution. You can change these settings to improve video quality.

To change the screen resolution, do this:

  • Click Start and select Settings

Surface Pro won't connect to TV

  • Select System

Surface Pro won't connect to TV

  • Select Display.

Surface Pro won't connect to TV

  • Under Scale and layout, check the setting under Change the size of text, apps, and other items. Use the recommended percentage

Surface Pro won't connect to TV

  • If that doesn’t solve your problem, under Resolution, select a new value. It is advisable to stick to the recommended value

Surface Pro won't connect to TV


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  3. Click “Repair All” to fix all issues with Patended Technologies (requires upgrade).

If the resolution was fine, and recently changed, you need to update your graphics driver. To do this, run Windows update and get the latest driver. If it is only the size of text and other things on your desktop that changed, press CTRL+0 to return the zoom level to 100 percent.

— RELATED: 6 of the best VPN for NOW TV to enjoy unrestricted TV shows

7. Try the TV adapter

If you want to check whether your video adapter is working, connect your Surface Pro to a different TV. If you cannot get the display on your Surface Pro to show on a different screen, you may have to replace your adapter.

8. Troubleshoot wireless display connection

Surface Pro can wireless connect to compatible displays via Miracast, or to a HDMI-compatible display via a Microsoft Wireless Display adapter. If you are using one of these and you have issues wirelessly connecting your Surface Pro to TV display, try the following solutions.

  • Ensure the display supports Miracast. You can check your TV manufacturer’s website to see if it is compatible.
  • Restart your Surface and TV to resolve the issue
  • Install the latest updates for Windows and your Surface
  • Turn off Bluetooth on your Surface as this can interfere with Miracast
  • Keep your Surface within 23 feet of the TV for best performance
  • Before pairing your Surface with the adapter, connect your Surface to a wireless network

Note: The adapter can only connect to one TV at a time

9. Update adapter’s firmware and restart the adapter

If Surface Pro won’t connect to TV, the adapter’s firmware may be out of date. Check the settings and firmware updates for the adapter, or install the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter app from Store and check for updates. Restart the adapter by disconnecting from your TV, then restart the Surface Pro and reconnect the adapter.

— RELATED: How to use Windows 10 PC as TV tuner: 4 best apps to install

10. Reset the adapter

This helps especially if you forgot your password. To reset the adapter, do this:

  • On the adapter next to the wired connection, press and hold the reset button for 10 seconds. The LED light on the adapter will blink.
  • When the message Ready to connect appears on your second screen, swipe in from the right edge of your Surface screen or select Action Center in the taskbar.
  • Select Connect, and in the list of displays, select the name of the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter.

11. Allow adapter to communicate through firewall

Sometimes your firewall can prevent the adapter from connecting to your Surface Pro. Allow it to communicate through firewall by doing this:

  • In the search box in the taskbar, enter allow firewall
  • From the search results, select Allow an app through Windows Firewall.

Surface Pro won't connect to TV

  • Under Name, find Wireless Display and make sure Private and Public are selected.

Surface Pro won't connect to TV

  • Select OK. If you can’t select anything in the Allowed apps and features box, you’re not signed in as an administrator.
  • Select Change Settings, enter your administrator password, and select Yes. Your administrator password should be the same as the password you used to set up your Surface. Then, make sure Privateand Public are selected and select OK.

12. Reinstall graphics driver

Your Intel HD Graphics driver may have issues that prevent the Surface from communicating with the adapter. Uninstall and reinstall the driver by doing this:

  • Right click Start and select Device Manager.

Surface Pro won't connect to TV

  • Select the arrow to the left of Display adapters and press and hold (or right-click) the Intel HD Graphics driver.
  • Select Uninstall.
  • Go to Start, and select PowerRestart.
  • After your Surface restarts, go to Start, and select Settings
  • Select DevicesBluetooth & other devices.
  • Select Add Bluetooth or other devices.
  • Click Wireless display or dockto reconnect your Surface and the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter.

— RELATED: 5 of the best VPNs for Kodi for smooth video streaming

13. Uninstall and reinstall the Surface WiFi driver

  • Right click Start and select Device Manager.
  • Select the arrow to the left of Network adapters and press and hold (or right-click) Marvell AVASTAR Wireless Network Controller.

Surface Pro won't connect to TV

  • Select Uninstall.
  • Go to Start, and select PowerRestart.
  • After your Surface restarts, go to Start, and select Settings
  • Select DevicesConnected devices.
  • Select Add a device to connect your Surface and the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter.

If the default WiFi drivers don’t work after manually downloading and installing them, you can also try updating your drivers automatically and check if that helps. We wrote a guide on how to update your graphics card driver, so be sure to check it out. We recommend using Tweakbit’s Driver Updater (approved by Microsoft and Norton) to automatically update your drivers.

Did any of these solutions help? Share with us in the comments section below.

RELATED STORIES TO CHECK OUT:

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 Patended Technologies (requires upgrade).

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