Surface 3 experiences "phantom" touch input on the left side of the screen

Symptoms
Your Surface 3 device intermittently experiences "phantom (ghost)" touch input on the left side of the screen. This input may disrupt running applications or interfere with your ability to use the device.

The device may experience only a few random touches on the left side of the screen and then function correctly for some time. The device may also experience continual random touches on the left side of the screen.

Note If the random touches are being registered all over the screen and not on the left side only, the solution that's provided in this article may not fix the issue. In this case, the issue may be caused by physical damage, installed software, or nearby electromagnetic interference.
Cause
This issue occurs because of a problem that affects the touch screen calibration of the device.
Resolution

Hotfix information

A supported hotfix is available from Microsoft. However, this hotfix is intended to correct only the issue that's described in this article. Apply this hotfix only to Surface 3 devices that are experiencing this specific issue.

If the hotfix is available for download, there's a "Hotfix Download Available" section at the top of this Knowledge Base article. If this section doesn't appear, submit a request to Microsoft Customer Service and Support to get the hotfix.  

Notes

  • After you download the hotfix, you may receive an error message that states that the file signature of the download file is corrupted or invalid. You can safely ignore the message. The file will install and function correctly.
  • Because of a database limitation, the product name on the download page is listed incorrectly as "Surface Pro 3." The actual applicable product for this hotfix is Surface 3. 
  • This hotfix provides a touch calibration tool. This tool saves calibration information to the touch firmware. It does not change any settings in Windows. Therefore, you can reimage the device or reinstall Windows after you run the tool without having to run the tool again.
Note If additional issues occur or if any troubleshooting is required, you might have to create a separate service request. The usual support costs will apply to additional support questions and issues that don't qualify for this specific hotfix. For a complete list of Microsoft Customer Service and Support telephone numbers or to create a separate service request, go to the following Microsoft website:
How to use the touch calibration tool
To achieve good touch calibration, make sure that the Surface 3 device meets the following conditions before you run the touch calibration tool:

  • The device has at least 25 percent battery power.
  • The power supply is disconnected and the device is running on battery power.
  • The device is running at room temperature.
  • Fluorescent lighting or other bright lighting is not pointed directly at the device screen.
  • Stand-alone version only: Nothing is plugged into the USB port.
There are two versions of the touch calibration tool: stand-alone and USB-bootable. The stand-alone version requires you to log on to Windows and manually run the tool. The USB-bootable version lets you start the Surface 3 device from a USB flash drive, and then it automatically runs the tool and restarts the device when the tool is finished.

To use the tool, follow the steps for the appropriate version.

Important This tool is intended to be run only on a Surface 3. Do not use this tool on any other Surface device.

Stand-alone version

Note You must be able to log on to Windows to run the tool. If you can't log on and navigate in Windows by using a keyboard and a mouse or a touchpad, you should be able to temporarily prevent the random touches by pressing and holding the palm of your hand against the left side of the device screen.

If the random touches are causing the Start menu or items on the taskbar to open randomly, you can move the taskbar to the right side of the screen temporarily. To do this, right-click the taskbar and then click “Lock the taskbar” if a check mark is displayed next to the item. Then, drag the taskbar to the right side of the screen. 

Install and run the tool

To install and run the touch calibration tool, follow these steps:

  1. Extract the contents of the downloaded compressed (.zip) file to a separate folder.
  2. Copy the Surface3_TouchCalibration_Win8x_Win10_151211_2.msi file to a USB flash drive or the Surface 3 device.
  3. Run the .msi file.

    Notes

    • The installer will create a default installation folder to copy the files to. You can change the default selection to another folder.
    • After you run the .msi file, you should see three .dll files and a CalibG4.exe file in the installation folder.
  4. If you're going to run the tool again on another Surface 3 device that's also experiencing this issue, copy the folder together with three DLL files and the CalibG4.exe file to a USB flash drive.
  5. Open a Command Prompt window, and change the directory to the folder that was created in step 3.
  6. At the command prompt, run CalibG4.exe.

    Note After the calibration process is completed, the tool displays a “PASS” status. The tool will take one to two minutes to complete the calibration.

    Warning Do not touch the screen while the tool is running.

If you still experience “phantom” touches after you complete these steps, make sure that the device meets the conditions at the top of the "How to use the touch calibration tool" section, and then run CalibG4.exe again.

If the device freezes or crashes while the tool is running, or if the tool does not finish and displays the “PASS” message, hold the power button for 30 seconds to turn off the device, and then turn on the device and run CalibG4.exe again.

USB-bootable version

The USB version of the touch calibration tool is useful if you can't log on to Windows to run the stand-alone version or if you're running the tool on multiple Surface 3 devices.

Prepare the USB flash drive

To create a bootable USB flash drive, follow these steps:

  1. Format a USB flash drive by selecting FAT32 as the file system.
  2. Extract the downloaded compressed (.zip) file to a separate folder.
  3. Copy the contents of the USB_Bootable.zip file to the USB flash drive.

    Note After the files are copied, you should see four folders on the USB flash drive (Boot, EFI, en-us, and sources) together with two files (bootmgr and bootmgr.efi).

Run the tool

To run the touch calibration tool, follow these steps:

  1. Shut down Windows and make sure that the Surface 3 device is turned off.
  2. Plug the USB flash drive into the Surface 3, and then start the device from the USB flash drive by holding the Volume Down button and then pressing the Power button. Continue to hold the Volume Down button until you see the Surface logo. Then, release all buttons and stop touching the device until the calibration is completed.

    Note It will take several minutes for the device to restart up and then start the touch calibration process. This process will be completely automated and will not require any interaction.

    Warning Do not touch the screen while the tool is running.
  3. After the calibration process is completed, the tool displays a “Calibration Passed” status. Remove the USB flash drive and press Enter to restart the device when you are prompted.

    Note If you don’t have a Surface keyboard attached to the device, you can touch the "X" in the upper-right corner of the tool window to restart the Surface.

    If you still experience “phantom” touches after you complete these steps, make sure that the device meets the conditions at the top of the "How to use the touch calibration tool" section, and then run the tool again.
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Article ID: 3128580 - Last Review: 01/22/2016 01:22:00 - Revision: 9.0

Surface 3

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