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30th of April 2017

Gadgets



Microsoft enables 'Wake on Voice' feature on its Surface Studio all-in-one

Why it matters to you

If you're one of the lucky few to own a Microsoft Surface Studio, then you can now wake it up by yelling at it.

Microsoft’s futuristic and ultra-expensive Surface Studio all-in-one (AIO) PC has been a smashing success, achieving more sales than the company expected and kicking off innovation in yet another PC market. The Surface Studio has become a little easier to purchase as well, with some configurations available for immediate shipping and some new markets opening up.

Not one to rest on its laurels, Microsoft has released a new set of drivers for the Surface Studio that brings some welcome functionality. One of the features of Intel’s sixth-generation Skylake CPUs is what Microsoft calls “Wake on Voice from Modern Standby,” and that functionality is now available for the Surface Studio.

As The Verge points out, the built-in ability to wake a machine using your voice has been around for a while on any machine with a Skylake processor. The feature is possible because such machines are capable of listening for voice commands even when in certain sleep states. However, it’s up to a given manufacturer to enable the feature.

That’s exactly what Microsoft has done with the release of new Realtek audio drivers for the Surface Studio. Now, that system is capable of listening for the “Hey Cortana” command while it’s in “Modern Standby” mode, with is a specific sleep mode enabled in Skylake and later CPUs and also in Windows 10. It’s also the same functionality that’s available in the Xbox One running the latest Windows 10 build, certain Windows 10 Mobile devices, and the upcoming Cortana-powered Harmon Kardon speaker.

One caveat is that a Surface Studio must already be updated to Windows 10 Creators Update to support the updated drivers and then enable the Wake on Voice from Modern Standby feature. If your Surface Studio has been updated to the latest major Windows 10 update, then you can go to the Surface Studio Drivers and Firmware page, click on the Download button, and then select the MSI installation file for the new driver.

Mark Coppock\Digital Trends

You’ll want to choose the driver that’s for the Windows 10 Creators Update build, which is 15063, then click the Next button. Once it’s downloaded, run it to install the appropriate Realtek audio drivers. Once that’s done, then you’ll be able to let your Surface Studio save some power by going to sleep but still expect it to respond immediately when you have a question for Cortana. It’s likely that this functionality will become even more important as Microsoft rolls out its anticipated home automation functionality.

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