Play Music on a Surface While the Screen is Off

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 13, 2016

I bought a Surface Pro 4 some time ago and like the device a lot. It replaced the laptop that I used while on the go and traveling, and is an excellent device all in all.

One thing that I did not realize up until recently was that the Surface behaved weird when it comes to playing music.

While you can use all kinds of programs and apps for that, the following happens when you play music using desktop programs: As soon as the screen goes to sleep (the device itself is still active), music stops.

As soon as you use the touchpad, type or use the mouse so that the screen becomes active again, music playback continues.

This means that you cannot play music using desktop programs continuously while the device is idle. That is, unless you change the default configuration of your device.

Note: While music is mentioned, the same behavior happens when you play videos. If you play music videos on YouTube, those videos will stop when the power saving mode kicks in.

Play Music on a Surface While the Screen is Off

You may have noticed that the majority of Windows Store applications don't show the same behavior when you play music in them.

The main reason for this is how the Connected Standby feature works on the device. Microsoft introduced Connected Standby in Windows 8 as a way to bring a low-power state to Windows devices that works similar to how smartphones and tablets handle things.

The feature is not supported by all devices running Windows though, but Microsoft Surface devices like the Surface Pro 4 support it.

Basically, what is happening is that your PC continues to perform certain operations while in that mode. It may check for new messages, emails or other updates, and download those if available.

Connected Standby works mostly with Windows Store applications and not desktop apps, and that is the main reason why desktop programs will stop working when the computer enters the mode.

So what can you do?

You have a couple of options to address the issue.

Option 1: Use Windows Store apps

edge play music

Since Windows Store applications (including Microsoft Edge) are not affected by the issue, you may use them to play music even when your device enters Connected Standby mode.

If you use web streaming services, you may use Microsoft Edge to play those continuously on the device even if the power saving mode kicks in on it.

The screen will turn dark, but music continues to play regardless of that.

While this may work for some users, others may prefer not to use apps for that purpose.

Option 2: Disable Connected Standby

disable connected standby

If you disable Connected Standby, Windows will revert to Hibernation instead. The side-effect of the procedure is that desktop programs will continue to work when the screen turns off.

A negative effect of this is that it may take longer for your device to wake up which impacts when the device is ready for use.

  1. Tap on the Windows-key, type regedit.exe and hit the Enter-key.
  2. Navigate to the key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Power
  3. Locate the preference CsEnabled on the right side.
  4. Double-click on it, and set its value to 0.
  5. Restart the PC.

This disables Connected Standby on the device. You can revert the change at any time by setting the value to 1 again using the process above.

I have created two Registry files that you may use to enable or disable Connected Standby on your device. This may help you if you only need to turn off the feature occasionally, but want to use it at other times.

Download the following zip archive to your system and extract it:

You can double-click on the Registry files then to turn CS on or off.

You may need to disable automatic hibernation as well. I suggest you try it first without disabling it, and only perform the following operation when music stops playing after a while (not when the screen turns off, but when hibernation kicks in).

  1. Use the keyboard shortcut Windows-I to open the Settings application.
  2. Select System > Power & Sleep > Additional Power Settings.
  3. Click on "change plan settings" next to the active power plan.
  4. Select "change advanced power settings" on the page that opens.
  5. Find the Sleep listing, and there the Sleep after listing.
  6. Set it to never by entering a time of 0 minutes.

Option 3: Google Chrome's exclusive-mode-audio feature

chrome exclusive mode audio

If you use Google Chrome to play music, for instance using web services, then you may start it up with a parameter called exclusive-mode-audio to keep music playing when the device enters Connected Standby mode.

  1. Locate the Google Chrome shortcut on your system.
  2. Right-click on it, and select Properties from the menu. Note that you need to right-click again on Google Chrome in menu first if you right-clicked on the Chrome icon in the Taskbar.
  3. Append --exclusive-mode-audio at the end of the target line, and make sure there is a space between.
  4. Restart Google Chrome afterwards or start it up.

Google Chrome should continue to play audio from that moment on, even with Connected Standby enabled.

Now You: Have another tip on how to handle the issue?

Play Music on a Surface While the Screen is Off
Article Name
Play Music on a Surface While the Screen is Off
Find out how to continue playing music on a Surface device or other device supporting Connected Standby running Windows 8 or 10.
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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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