Surface Pen Not Working? Here's How to Fix It

Usually, the stylus needs either new batteries or a re-pairing through Bluetooth

The Microsoft Surface Pen adds extra functionality to your Surface, but this stylus isn't without faults. It's been known to stop working on occasion, so here are some of the best solutions for fixing your Surface Pen so you can get back to writing, drawing, and multitasking on your Windows 10 computer.

The instructions in this guide apply to Windows 10.

Download the Latest Windows 10 Update

If your Surface Pen doesn't work properly, it may be because the latest Windows update isn't installed on your Surface Pro, Go, Book, or Laptop. Performing an update downloads the latest Windows 10 operating system patch, and it updates and fixes the device drivers used to make peripherals like the Surface Pen run properly.

  1. To check for the latest Windows 10 update and any new drivers, tap the icon in the lower-right corner to open the Action Center.

    Alternatively, swipe in from the right side of the screen with your finger.

    The Action Center icon
  2. Tap All settings.

    The All Settings button
  3. Tap Update & Security.

    The Update & Security setting
  4. Tap Check for updates. The Surface advises you of potential updates and, depending on your update settings, either installs updates automatically or prompts you to install or delay updates.

    The Check for Updates button

Check the Surface Pen's Battery

All Surface Pens are powered by an AAAA battery, and a flat battery could be the reason why the Surface Pen doesn't work.

To check the battery in a Surface Pen, press and hold the eraser button on the end of the stylus for five to seven seconds. A small LED light should turn on. A green light means the battery has a charge, while a red light means it's almost flat and should be replaced. No light means the battery is dead.

To replace the battery, open the Surface Pen by firmly twisting and then pulling the eraser end of the stylus.

There are three models of the Microsoft Surface Pen, each with slight variations in button location and design. All Surface Pens function in the same manner, and every tip on this page works with each model.

Pair Your Surface Pen to Your Surface Pro

If the Surface Pen's LED light turns on, but it's still not writing when you touch it to the screen, you may need to pair it through Bluetooth.

  1. Open the Windows 10 Action Center on your Surface Pro, Go, Laptop, or Book by swiping in from the right side of the screen with your finger.

    The Action Center icon
  2. Tap All settings.

    The All Settings button
  3. Tap Devices.

  4. If you see the Surface Pen in the list of paired devices, tap it, then tap Remove device. Removing it and pairing it again should fix any connection errors you experienced. If you don't see your Surface Pen on the list, proceed to the next step.

  5. Tap the grey Plus button next to Add Bluetooth or other device.

  6. Tap Bluetooth.

  7. Tap Surface Pen to pair it. The pairing process only takes a few seconds.

Are You Using the Correct Program or App?

After watching commercials for the Surface Pen and Surface range of devices, it's easy to mistakenly believe that the Microsoft stylus can draw on any app at any time in Windows 10. However, the range of apps that support the Surface Pen isn't infinite. While you may think your Surface Pen is broken, you could be using the incorrect app.

The easiest way to test the Surface Pen is to open the Windows Ink Workspace by tapping the pen icon on the right side of the Windows 10 Taskbar, near the clock. Once open, select Screen sketch and draw on the screen with the Surface Pen.

The pen icon in the Windows task bar

Surface Pen Still Not Working?

If your Surface Pen still doesn't work properly, it may be damaged and in need of replacement. If this is the case, reach out to Microsoft Support, either in person at a Microsoft Store or through the company's online support page.

  • How does the Surface Pen attach to my Surface Pro?

    The flat side of the Surface Pen has a magnet, allowing it to attach to the left side of your Surface Pro. However, it's recommended to get a carrying case for your Pen to keep it safe.

  • How do I fix my Surface Slim Pen 2 not working?

    The steps for troubleshooting the Surface Slim Pen 2 are the same as the regular Surface Pen, but the Slim Pen 2 only works with the Surface 3 model and higher. It also works with the Surface Laptop, Surface Go, Surface Book, and Surface Duo.

  • How do I take a screenshot on my Surface Pro without the pen?

    To take a screenshot on a Surface Pro, press and hold Power+Volume Up or Windows button+Volume Up. Alternatively, use PrtScn or the Snip & Sketch tool.

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