What Does the Red Light on My Surface Pro Mean?

If you notice a red light appearing on your Surface Pro, it is the IR (infrared) sensor of the device’s facial recognition camera. It should only come one for a short time before turning off. If there is a problem with it, you should reset or update your device.

When using a device like a Surface Pro or other laptop, it is not uncommon to see some lights appear on the device. This could be a light showing that your device is charging or fully charged, or a light that tells you your webcam is on and working.

But what happens if you see a red light on your Surface Pro? Keep reading to find out what it is and what it does.

Key Takeaways

  • The red light on your Surface Pro is from the infrared (IR) sensor of the facial recognition camera on the front of the device. It helps to unlock your device without having to enter a passcode.
  • In normal circumstances, the light should only go on for a split second and then turn off. You might not even notice when it goes on in many cases, especially if you are somewhere bright.
  • If the light won’t go on at all, or won’t go away, you can try restarting your device or updating your operating system and/or drivers.

What is the Red Light?

The red light you are likely seeing is the infrared (IR) sensor of the facial-recognition camera in your Surface Pro. This helps the Windows Hello feature work, which allows you to unlock and open your device with a face scan, an option that is much quicker than entering a passcode.

The red light being on means the sensor is actively scanning your face. The light should only go on for a quick second to scan your face, and then turn off. You may only notice the light flicker on when it is dark, as it can generally be very subtle and only last a fraction of a second.

What Can I Do if the Light Isn’t Working Normally?

While most of the time the light should function as I mentioned above, there are some issues that could occur. This could be either the red light staying on, or the red light failing to work at all. If you are faced with one of these issues, there are a few things you can try to fix it.

The first thing to try is to restart your device. This can be done by going to Start > Power > Restart, or by pressing a combination of buttons. The exact combo depends on whether you have a new or an older Surface Pro.

If you have a Surface Pro 5 or newer, you need to press and hold the Power button for around 20 seconds, and release it when you see the Windows logo on the startup screen.

On a Surface Pro 4 or older, press and hold the Power button and the volume up button at the same time for around 15 seconds, until the screen turns off. Then, release the buttons. Wait around 10 seconds, and then press and release the Power button to turn the device back on.

Once the device starts back up, the issue may be corrected. If that doesn’t work, you could try updating your operating systems/drivers. Being out of date and missing updates can lead to your device doing some strange things, such as lights, features, and software not working.

To update your operating system, simply go to Settings > WIndows Update > Check for updates. While drivers normally get updated alongside your operating system, this won’t always be the case. If they don’t they can be manually updated in the Device Manager.

If none of these fixes are able to deal with your issue, there could be some damage to the IR sensor or facial recognition camera. In this case, you should take the device to a professional who can inspect, diagnose, and potentially fix the computer.

Final Thoughts

The red light on your Surface Pro is an IR sensor, and it is an important part of recognizing and scanning your face. It helps the Windows Hello feature to work and lets you unlock your device quickly without having to enter your passcode.

What did you think the red light on your Surface Pro was before reading this guide? Let me know in a comment below!

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