Disappearing onscreen touch keyboard on Surface Pro 8

Roon Core Machine

Intel NUC D54250WYK
ubuntu 22.04

Remote Client Computer

roon remote version: 1.8 build 1136 production 1x (64bit)
client device: Microsoft Surface Pro 8
client accessories: Surface Slim Pen 2
client operating system: Windows 11 21H2

NOTE: solved by upgrading windows 11 to version 22H2, dev release 10.0.25227.1010

Networking Gear & Setup Details

Archer A7
WiFi and ethernet
no VPN

Connected Audio Devices


Number of Tracks in Library


Description of Issue

When the Surface Pro is used as a tablet without a physical keyboard and the windows taskbar is set to auto-hide, it is often impossible to enter text into any text box in roon, like the query or album filter text boxes.

A text input box is activated by touching it on the touch screen, and then a tap inside the text box opens windows’ onscreen keyboard. Usually, the taskbar momentarily unhides and then the onscreen keyboard closes. This is the more common case. Other times, the keyboard does not close.

I couldn’t find repeatable settings where the keyboard always closes by trying all combinations of auto-hide/no-auto-hide with roon in a normal window, maximized window, and “fullscreen”.

I rarely use the pen and windows ink for text entry, but when I tried it in all combinations as above, the handwriting panel does stay open.

Set the Roon Remote into fullscreen mode using the “Enter full screen” option at the bottom of the Roon Navigation menu. Then the onscreen keyboard works as designed (it does on my Surface Go 2).

As I reported, it often doesn’t work as it should on my Surface Pro 8 in normal window, maximized window, and “fullscreen” modes.

I believe this is a bug in windows 11 version 21H2 (which came installed on my surface and was what I was running when I made this report):

  • someone else reported it to Microsoft 10 months ago.
  • Microsoft pushed out a “tablet-optimized taskbar” in an insider release, then pulled it back, then pushed it out again
  • I tried, as usual, many combinations of full-screen tablet-mode versus attached keyboard mode in roon and other apps and found the behavior inconsistent: sometimes the keyboard closed as described, sometimes it stayed open.

I signed up for their insider program, downloaded ISOs when Windows update failed, upgraded through six beta and dev releases to arrive at the latest dev release, 10.0.25227.1010, that’s supposed to have a new taskbar (as of 10.0.25197.1000) which I hoped, when auto-hidden, wouldn’t open briefly and then close the on-screen keyboard when closing itself.

No updates had the extra taskbar hiding setting shown as being in releases 25188 or later here, which is too bad.

It appears there’s a hack to turn on the new “touch-optimized taskbar” via a hidden setting. This appears to make the taskbar take up less height when in tablet mode, that is, when the keyboard is removed from the Surface Pro, or a 2-in-1 laptop’s keyboard is folded back. That might obviate the need for auto-hiding the taskbar to reclaim the lost vertical screen space.

In this dev release, when the taskbar is hidden and a program is running full screen, it is possible to swipe up from the bottom of the screen and pull up the taskbar and open the keyboard from there if necessary. This gesture to open a hidden taskbar is not there in 21H2. I had configured the button on the pen to open the old on-screen keyboard osk.exe to work around the inaccessible or disappearing keyboard.

I sure hope Microsoft figures out how to make full screen interactions friction-free. The windows 11 tablet experience sucks compared to an iPad in this respect. Using this Surface and windows 11 reminds me of the year I spent dogfooding windows 10 betas when I worked at Microsoft a decade ago. But it’s sure nice to have the software ecosystem I’ve been using years up and running on a tablet that turns into a laptop.

Today’s windows 11 insider build on the dev release channel makes the tablet-optimized taskbar available without using the hack to turn it on.

Sayeth https://blogs.windows.com/windows-insider/2022/10/27/announcing-windows-11-insider-preview-build-25231/:

[Tablet-optimized taskbar]

  • Tablet-optimized taskbar which began rolling out with Build 25197 is now available to all Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel, as is the System Tray improvements that began rolling out with Build 25211 that include drag and drop.

As far as I’ve tested roon remote since installing this windows build, it can be operated without the onscreen keyboard disappearing, the taskbar can be set to auto-hide and be brought up with a gesture, the onscreen keyboard can be opened and if the scrolling album list in album view has focus, “typing” a key will actually scroll the album list to the artist (or whatever) beginning with that letter just like it does with a good old fashioned hardware keyboard.

I may keep this Surface device after all.

This topic was automatically closed 36 hours after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.