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Microsoft Looking Into Windows 7 Battery Failures 206

Posted by kdawson
from the daisy-dais-y dept.
Jared writes "Microsoft says it is investigating reports of notebooks with poor battery life with Windows 7, as first reported by users on Microsoft TechNet. These users claim their batteries were working just fine under Windows XP and/or Windows Vista, and others are saying that battery problems occur on their new Windows 7 PCs. Under Win7, certain machines spit out the following warning message: 'Consider replacing your battery. There is a problem with your battery, so your computer might shut down suddenly.' The warning is normally issued after using the computer's BIOS to determine whether a battery needs replacement, but in this case it appears the operating system and not the battery is the problem. These customers say their PC's battery life is noticeably lower, with some going as far as to say that it has become completely unusable after a few weeks. To make matters worse, others are reporting that downgrading to an earlier version of Windows doesn't fix the problem."
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Microsoft Looking Into Windows 7 Battery Failures

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  • My battery died (Score:4, Interesting)

    by VanHalensing (926781) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @09:15AM (#31008682)
    This article is exactly what happened to me. Battery life started fine. A week later, that message. Within a month the battery went from 90% to 3% and did an emergency hibernate. Moving back to XP didn't fix it either, it burned out that battery. I've since gone back to XP (thankfully I had a spare battery, they don't make my model anymore). I hope they fix this before I buy my next computer.
    • by PawNtheSandman (1238854) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @09:17AM (#31008702)

      That was my idea.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @11:52AM (#31010530)

        After my battery died, I plugged it into the wall and got this message "Consider replacing your power generator. There is a problem with your power generator, so your computer might shut down suddenly." right before the city blacked ou...[HIBERNATE ACTIVATED]

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by VanHalensing (926781)
      I should also comment that the battery was about 2 years old and had been working fine previously. Also, this happened to another person I know (except faster) in a computer roughly a year old.
      • Re:My battery died (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @09:34AM (#31008852)
        Your two year-old laptop battery dies, and the first place you go is to blame the operating system? And the fact that it no longer works in any OS doesn't give you any hints, either? Come on, this isn't the toughest mystery you'll face this week.
        • Re:My battery died (Score:5, Insightful)

          by dorre (1731288) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @09:42AM (#31008924)
          I'm totally agreeing.
          The first things comes to mind: That's the normal description on how a battery dies.

          When like 50 million laptops start using Win7 at the same time, there's a lot of them that had a battery failure waiting. While it may seem strange as a personal experience, it's certainly not from statistical viewpoint.
          Not without more data.
          • by thijsh (910751) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @10:18AM (#31009296) Journal
            I sense a disturbance in the force, as if millions of batteries cried out 'Windows 7 be damned' and bricked themselves.

            From statistical viewpoint you have a valid argument, but remember: it's all just "Lies, damned lies, and statistics".
            Or a more Homer-esque quote: "People can come up with statistics to prove anything. 14% of people know that.". :)
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by flappinbooger (574405)
              In my experience, when the typical user says "I didn't do anything, it just happened" that means that they did something, twice, and they aren't telling you.

              When they say it was a "brand new battery that was working fine and it just died" it's really an old battery, they never really used the laptop unplugged before, and they're using the lappy unplugged much more now since win7 is so kewl, so they just noticed it's toast. (just a guess)

              Also, if this was a winXP laptop, it's ENTIRELY possible that the h
              • by Hijacked Public (999535) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @02:03PM (#31012626)

                lappy

                This one word invalidates not only your entire post, but all of your other posts as well. Here at Slashdot and elsewhere.

                Also, if your children have any posts those are invalidated as well.

                • lappy

                  This one word invalidates not only your entire post, but all of your other posts as well. Here at Slashdot and elsewhere.

                  Also, if your children have any posts those are invalidated as well.

                  awwwwwwww.... come on....

            • by RichM (754883)
              They were crying out for Ubuntu 9.10.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by oldosadmin (759103)
            To be fair to GP, I bought a new battery (old computer) and had the same thing happen within weeks on my Windows 7 tablet.
        • Re:My battery died (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Lord Byron II (671689) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @09:52AM (#31009014)

          A Li-ion battery should get somewhere between 300-500 charge-discharge cycles (http://www.batteryuniversity.com/parttwo-34.htm) and unless you use your laptop daily, you should still have a decent battery after two years.

          As someone who has used a laptop 2-3 times a week regularly since 1996, I can say it usually takes about 2 years for a Li-ion battery to get to the point where it is only half-as-good as it was originally and generally I can get another year of it before I replace it.

          Only once have I ever had a battery that fell from near 100% charge levels to near 0% charge levels that wasn't fixed by re-conditioning the battery (as the original poster described) and that battery tech was NiMH.

          Considering the somewhat sophisticated chips in a modern Li-ion battery, I would say it's not unreasonable that Win7 is somehow tricking/confusing the battery into thinking that it's cells are prematurely dead and shutting them off.

          • Could it be due to low power draw, caused by Windows 7 being better at sleeping the cpu?

            If there's an imbalance between the cells then one could end up supplying the majority of the (low) current, and the other(s) could get marked as "dead", even though under higher current draw they'd still pull their weight.

            Random thoughts, not necessarily real or even possible.

            • by AK Marc (707885)
              Could it be due to low power draw, caused by Windows 7 being better at sleeping the cpu?

              Yes and no. Think of it this way, the power draw was consistent before. The battery essentially became conditioned to that. Then Windows 7 comes along. And at the peak, uses about the same as before. Then, the draw drops. Then increases. Then drops. It isn't the lower power draw itself. It's that the battery is conditioned to handle a single drain of a specific level through years of use. Then the drain mecha
          • by ais523 (1172701)
            Part of the issue with Li-ion batteries is that in order to avoid losing maximum capacity, they're best stored at 40% charge and in a refrigerator. This is not a typical storage condition for a laptop battery. (It wouldn't at all surprise me if it was the storage condition that the manufacturers announced their life based on, though.)
          • by Mr. DOS (1276020)

            As someone who has used a laptop 2-3 times a week regularly since 1996, I can say it usually takes about 2 years for a Li-ion battery to get to the point where it is only half-as-good as it was originally and generally I can get another year of it before I replace it.

            Looks like someone's never experienced the bundles of joy that are consumer-grade Dell batteries.

                  --- Mr. DOS

          • by brkello (642429)
            All anecdotal. I got a laptop, Li-ion battery died within 3 months. How many people upgraded to 7 and then had this issue? A few hundred. Probably actually is a bad battery. Nothing to see here unless there are more statistics.
          • by SlashDev (627697)
            Li-ion batteries since 1996? Hmmm...
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Reece400 (584378)
          Yup, My 1 1/4 yr old Dell battery died over a period of a week. I had acceptable life and by the end of the week it was completely shot. No OS upgrade involved...
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by dangitman (862676)

          Your two year-old laptop battery dies, and the first place you go is to blame the operating system?

          You say that like a two-year-old battery is some kind of relic. I've never had a laptop battery become unusable in less than three years.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Kleen13 (1006327)
            OS bugs aside, It all depends on usage, heat, storage, charge cycles, and cell quality... That's why they'll only offer you a 1 year warranty on a battery.
        • Re:My battery died (Score:4, Interesting)

          by shawb (16347) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @11:20AM (#31010102)
          This could be an example of The law of very large numbers. [skepdic.com] Basically, this states that people have very little intuitive grasp of statistics and so believe that many unrelated things are indeed connected. Also related to the logical fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc. It would be possible for a statisticion to determine whether the rate of battery failure after installing Windows 7 was expected, but that wouldn't convince anyone whose actually knows someone whose battery failed shortly after the installation. Or even not so shortly after.

          Of course, it is possible that there is some bad code somewhere in Windows 7's power management that allows batteries to drain and then recharge continuously wearing them out, and a proper statistical analysis would reveal this as well.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by oboylet (660310)

          Your two year-old laptop battery dies, and the first place you go is to blame the operating system? And the fact that it no longer works in any OS doesn't give you any hints, either? Come on, this isn't the toughest mystery you'll face this week.

          I don't know about GP, but the laptop I bought for going back to grad school came preloaded with Vista and included a Win7 upgrade coupon. When the disc arrived and I installed it, the machine wasn't more than 4 months old. I had the exact same experience and the battery went from functional to a brick in about two weeks after win7 hit the hardware. Fortunately for me, HP shipped me a replacement battery. It's an anecdote; not data, but it might be part of a larger trend.

        • Reminds me of when my old ibook decided its battery was dead. Nevermind the fact that I still got nearly 4 hours of use from a charge. The PMU refused to charge the battery and that was that. And it happened the day before I left on a two week vacation. Since the laptop was 4 years old, no brick-n-mortar stores had batteries in stock.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jittles (1613415)

      Within a month the battery went from 90% to 3% and did an emergency hibernate.

      Wow! That's quite the battery capacity you have there...

      In all seriousness though, I've been using Win 7 since the week of release. My laptop battery is approximately a year old. I've had no problems with it whatsoever.

      • Re:My battery died (Score:5, Insightful)

        by A beautiful mind (821714) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @11:03AM (#31009890)
        Good for you. It is slightly annoying to read these kinds of statements though. The problem obviously doesn't affect 100% of the users, or even 50%, 20% or 10%. If it would, it would have been detected somewhere back in alpha stages.

        It is absolutely silly to reply to a problem the user has with "but it works for me!". Most bugs are bugs because they do not affect all users! They occur rarely enough so that it wasn't caught before, but often enough to be a real pain in the ass. It is unhelpful to state that it works for you unless you know this to be a user created problem and can point out what the user could have done wrong.
        • by QBasicer (781745)
          You can't statistically analyze the whole problem until you know the numbers of those affected and those not. It's like review sites, seldom do people write reviews if the product works as expected, but more likely to when the product does NOT work. What's more slightly annoying is the people bitching at the people who report no problems.
        • by brkello (642429)
          Or it isn't a bug and people have the coincidence of having a bad battery around the time they upgraded to 7. But they are too technically inept to understand that even when they switch to a different OS and they have the same problem, then it probably really is the battery.
      • Agreed. I've been using Win 7 on my laptop since the beta came out - the battery was already going bad (POS HP batteries) before I installed Win 7 and I got the replace battery message last night - but I knew before I installed Win 7 that my battery was down to only about 40% of it's original capacity.
    • Re:My battery died (Score:4, Insightful)

      by melikamp (631205) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @09:41AM (#31008906) Homepage Journal

      I've seen batteries decline, though, exactly in this way, sometimes within a year or so of purchase. If you had to wait for a month, I wonder if it is just a coincidence. Notice that others in TFS did not buy a new laptop with W7, but upgraded, so they must have had their laptops for several months. And it totally explains why it does not get fixed when they go back to the previous system.

      May be we should just stick with the simplest explanation until more data is available. But then, I don't use Microsoft's software at all, so I am more inclined to just sit on the sidelines at watch it burn, demolition derby style.

    • Re:My battery died (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Stregano (1285764) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @10:37AM (#31009480)
      Well I have a 5 year old laptop that had a perfectly good battery, and then I put Mandrake 10 on it.

      The battery did the same thing they are describing here for Windows 7.

      Where is my ars article about Mandrake 10 killing laptop batteries of 5 year old computers?
    • My guess is that the new OS's power utilization habits are markedly different from XP, and that the battery had become conditioned to the old usage patterns. While the battery still likely would have shown decline and failure under your old OS, it might have come on more gradually. Switching to the new OS could be akin to replacing an alternator or other mechanical component in an older car--the changes that occur from the installation of the new part put additional strain on some of the other components,
      • Off topic but...

        Other then they may share a belt (maybe not if really old) the alternator and the water pump have nothing to do with each other. They are two totally different part of the engine. The water pump is part of the cooling system while the alternator is part of the electrical (the battery charging) system. Water pumps are mechanical. I have not seen an electrical one yet. If you had said they replaced alternator and maybe the battery might go soon that would make a bit more sense.

    • by fredrik70 (161208)

      Within a month the battery went from 90% to 3% and did an emergency hibernate.

      1 month??? I want your battery...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Linker3000 (626634)

      This is another instance of where moving to Linux should be tried. I am running Fedora 12 on my Acer laptop and the battery life indicator regularly shows that I have 500+ hours of battery life remaining!

    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      I'm rarely one to shill a store or product, but I've used Batteries Plus stores [batteriesplus.com] for customers who are in the same exact situation you are in. I believe they are owned by Rayovac.

      Typically their generic laptop/cell phone batteries end up being cheaper than the name brand units (although this isn't always the case). For people in your case, though, this is really the only option for a fresh battery for an older laptop, cell phone, etc.

      They're a franchise much like Radio Shack so you should be able to find one

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      Its entirely possible that your battery failed, they do that sometimes, and a lot of times act just like you're describing ...

  • by datapharmer (1099455) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @09:16AM (#31008694) Homepage
    If you are going to post sensationalist stories at least give them better headlines. How about "Microsoft charged with assault on battery"... or some such. Seriously though, this could be bad if the users don't turn out to be crazies that don't want to admit their batteries just went bad.
  • by alen (225700) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @09:19AM (#31008714)

    Put Windows 7 on there to give to my inlaws and i thought it was a coincidence that the battery died. still works when plugged in, but battery life is like 10 minutes.

    formattted it and put Vista on it because the graphics were glitchy with windows 7 and the problem is still there

    • by Xest (935314)

      I'm not sure that's Windows 7 in that particular case as I had the same problem with my old Inspiron 6000 and the battery was useless after less than a year. I only ever ran Windows XP on it, I think it's simply that Dell sold a load of shit batteries.

      I used to do IT support in schools some years back too, we supported 147 schools and they all ordered a bunch of Dell D500s and D505s so had to support over a thousand of the things in total, the battery life on these wasn't exactly spectacular either, again,

      • by ais523 (1172701)
        Agreed, same thing happened to me with an Inspiron 6400 running Linux (specifically Ubuntu). I'm pretty sure it's a hardware problem in that case, not a software problem.
    • by BitZtream (692029)

      The battery in your old laptop isn't working well anymore? NO FREAKING WAY?!

  • by aussersterne (212916) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @09:19AM (#31008718) Homepage

    in the world, and it's been there since before Windows 7.

    I don't think I've ever had a friend, significant other, or family member that actually had a working battery in their laptop after the first 5-6 months or so, leaving them all permanently tethered until their next PC (which would end up that way again after the first 5-6 months).

    Meanwhile, my batteries have always lasted the life of the unit with more or less full capacity.

    I've long assumed it had something to do with usage patterns and charging habits, but I've not really looked into it more than that. One variable was that they were all using Windows (in some incarnation) and I rarely boot into Windows at all.

    • by melikamp (631205) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @09:29AM (#31008800) Homepage Journal

      Yeah, totally. I am using Windows 7 on a laptop to write this message, and my battery is as healthy as

      <NO CARRIER>

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      The action that kills laptop batteries quicker than anything is using the computer, plugged into the wall AND the battery inserted into the machine. FWIU, if the battery is in the machine, you should be using only battery power, unless it's charging.

      Once the battery is full, either unplug the computer from the wall and use only the battery, or take the battery out and use only the AC power.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by poetmatt (793785)

        what you're saying has minimal significance on new laptops. Most new ones are a-okay with having the battery in and plugged in. They don't just blow an extra recharge cycle when it's plugged unless the battery is below the automated (or user set) threshold to recharge the battery. Example: Thinkpads do that. I've had mine cycle maybe 15 times over the course of a year, since it's plugged in most of the time anyway.

        Batteries do discharge over time, so if you always keep it out when plugged in and forget, it'

        • Li-Ion batteries decay faster at 100% SOC, and faster at higher temperatures. Both of these are likely conditions for a laptop that's plugged in all the time.

          • by poetmatt (793785)

            Again, only if the laptop is set to recharge to 100% every time you hit 90% battery or something. Oherwise, most laptops in the last 10+ years usually recharge to full from an increasingly lower charge amount. It's built into both windows and linux (I have no idea if Mac does). Plus you can change that setting yourself too. I have my laptop down to 65% (checked, yaeh)? It's plugged in 100% of the time and does not spend the time at 100%.

            Abridged version: even plugged in laptops will not stay at 100% battery

    • When supporting laptop users in a large office, we often saw the following pattern: those who typically used their batteries regularly (draining them most, if not all of the way), tended to need replacement batteries less often than those (mostly managers/officers) who typically left their machines plugged in/docked almost all of the time. Some of those users would only use their laptops on battery power a few times a year. They were the ones who reported battery problems (e.g., battery life less than an
      • Your observation is consistent with a patch I read once for the Sun T3+ storage array.

        These have redundant internal battery banks (and power supplies), to allow safe shutdown of the RAID in the event of a power failure.

        IIRC, the patch significantly increased battery life by instructing the RAID enclosure to drain each battery completely once a week.

    • by rickb928 (945187)

      My 7 year old Acer 1894 P4 laptop (Same as Dell Smarttep 250N) had the original battery in it for 4 years with good life. It went from 80% capacity to 3% capacity in about a month. The second battery lasted 2 years. Both were used almost exclusively plugged in, battery charged, Windows XP of some flavor.

      Of course after 7 years, the DC jack has been soldered in repeatedly, smoked, and cooked well done. Replacements have to be pressed in and bumpered.

      Before that, I had a Mitac 6020N, and the battery in th

  • I've not experienced this on my ASUS Eee PC 1008, whilst I've never had the advertised 10.5hrs battery life out of it, because I've never used it only in the lower power modes, I've always been able to get at least 8hrs out of it between recharges. I've been running Windows 7 Ultimate on it since it was released to MSDN subscribers (i.e. prior to consumer release).

    I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but clearly it doesn't effect every laptop and must occur under a specific set of circumstances or against a ce

    • by dreamchaser (49529) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @09:29AM (#31008802) Homepage Journal

      Software controls how batteries are used/discharged.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Configuration_and_Power_Interface [wikipedia.org]

      • by Cyner (267154)

        Yes, but even with ACPI there is no "kill battery" function. The worst an OS can do is set the computer to maximum power consumption. If the battery can't handle maximum power consumption without damage then it's defective by design curtesy the laptop manufacturer.

        • by citizenr (871508)

          Yes, but even with ACPI there is no "kill battery" function

          Actually there is. Chip in the Battery counts charge/discharge cycles. All it takes it to tell that chip you charge/discharge battery 50 times a day and it will consider battery dead after a week just like Printers do with ink cartridges.

      • by Nerdfest (867930) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @09:52AM (#31009026)
        I'm under the impression that repeatedly charging/discharging the last couple of percent of a litium battery can very much reduce its life. I seem to remember someone from the OLPC project saying they extended battery life by avoiding charging the battery to full charge. As an anecdote, I have a laptop that I leave plugged in at almost all times. When I do run it on batteries, the battery last about the same amount of time as when I bought it. On the machines that I carry around, use and chjarge regularly, The battery life is significantly reduced after 6 months of use. If I were to hazard a guess, I would think that the OS is constantly charging and discharging teh top couple of percent of abttery capacity. O f course, I'm neither and electrical, or chemical engineer.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Xest (935314)

        I understand that, but what specifically about it allows for permanent battery damage? Can commands to discharge and so forth really be issued to the battery in a manner so as to permanently damage and decrease the life of it in a short space of time? Is there no protection at hardware level against it also for example?

        If there is no hardware protection then does that not also leave the door open for intentionally malicious software such as viruses and trojans to kill batteries?

        I guess my question would've

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ettlz (639203)
        ACPI does not normally (and from what I've seen, never) export any controls over battery charging, or even allow the user to choose power supply. The job of handling power is usually done by the embedded controller and its firmware, which also handles any charging (along with circuitry designed specifically for the job). This is designed for optimal performance of the system in mind and usually works very well. The operating system just monitors the state of the power supply and can make demand-related deci
    • by Wingsy (761354)
      If software has anything to do with battery charging it can kill a battery in short order simply by overcharging. If you charge a Li-Poly battery above 4.2 volts for any length of time, it's about the same as driving a screwdriver through the battery pack.
  • by spywhere (824072) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @09:22AM (#31008742)
    I put a clean install of Windows 7 on a new HDD in my HP dv7t, which came with Vista. The battery has been fine. I have also deployed several new Win7 laptops, and installed Win7 on two or three other laptops, with no issues.
  • .. the notebook that ran Windows XP just fine is so old that the battery life is shot anyway? Which might explain why the battery life didn't magically increase when they downgraded to XP/Vista.
  • by CFD339 (795926) <andrewp.thenorth@com> on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @09:39AM (#31008896) Homepage Journal

    This is one of those things that's really hard to pin down.

    LiON batteries -- what's used in most laptops and netbooks now -- have different kind of failures and limits from the older NiCD and so on. Aside from the catastrophic failures that made the news, what happens with LiON is that there are a limited number of charge cycles per cell no matter what you do. The cells generally go around 300 charge cycles before their capacity drops to about half. The controller in the batteries (which prevents them from just bursting in flames all the time) senses this and reports it back to the os.

    The result is that when you upgrade the machine, you've already had it a long while and you're not far from that day when suddenly you notice your capacity has dropped to about half and you'd better replace the battery. Your cruising along at 60% then a minute later you're getting the warning that you're out of battery -- one or more cells is no good anymore.

    To test this, you'd have to buy a new battery first and then compare life cycles.

    btw: Lots of theories about how to make them last longer -- most of the actual experts say to try to keep it at around 40% if you're going to store it and not use it, otherwise just use the machine. The controller won't allow it to overcharge an they have no "memory" per se.

    • My son got a new Dell laptop over the summer. For various reasons he rarely takes it anywhere, so it's pretty much been parked on his desk attached to the charger full-time. Is that going to kill his battery life? Should he unhook the power cord just for the sake of running it on battery power?

      • depends.. (Score:3, Informative)

        by CFD339 (795926)

        If you wanted to play the odds on best possible result -- he should use it tll it hits about 45% and then plug the laptop in and remove the battery, putting it on the shelf until he needs it.

        The problems with that are

        1. There's no battery in the machine, and it's really easy to pull the cord out the back of a laptop -- and its not really much of a laptop without a battery, is it?

        2. The battery won't store charge indefinitely, so he's got to plug it in once in a while and make sure to keep that charge up a

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      LiON batteries -- what's used in most laptops and netbooks now -- have different kind of failures and limits from the older NiCD and so on. Aside from the catastrophic failures that made the news, what happens with LiON is that there are a limited number of charge cycles per cell no matter what you do. The cells generally go around 300 charge cycles before their capacity drops to about half. The controller in the batteries (which prevents them from just bursting in flames all the time) senses this and repor

  • by Pojut (1027544)

    ...anyone with knowledge of how an OS interacts with a laptop battery have an idea on what may be causing this?

    On my end, I had Windows 7 running on my little Dell Mini 9 (upgraded to 2 gigs of ram, 16 gig SSD) as an experiment, and I got the same four hour battery life I get when ubuntu 9.10 is on there. Laptop is a bit over a year old.

  • To make matters worse, others are reporting that downgrading to an earlier version of Windows doesn't fix the problem."

    How is this even possible?

  • Just chiming in to say that this issue is definitely real. My Dell Vostro battery was about a year and a half old when I installed Windows 7 the first time. When I finally decided to switch fully to 7 it only took about two weeks before I unplugged my computer and got a message that my battery needed to be replaced. The battery until then had about an hour and a half of time on it running the 'balanced' power setting. I noticed the message maybe two to three minutes after unplugging. I was planning to
    • by Plekto (1018050)

      I had problems with this a few years ago with a Powerbook.

      The issue is that the new Li-Ion batteries have a chip inside them that monitors charge cycles and when it gets to a certain limit/number of cycles, disables the battery to keep it from possibly shorting out and catching fire. Of course, this circuit is often twice as conservative as it needs to be thanks to worries about legal actions and so on. The only option is to find a program that will refresh the chip's internal counter. For a lot of machi

  • by Megane (129182) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @10:53AM (#31009718) Homepage

    When OS X 10.0 beta first came out, it was so much nicer to use than 9 (just being able to wake from sleep in less than 10 seconds was enough alone) that I permanently switched over to it on my G3 Powerbook (Pismo model). However, that being the "previous" model at the time (I bought one of the last ones), they didn't have the power management working right, and it used up the battery noticeably more when in sleep. But that wasn't the big problem.

    In the last month before the initial one-year warranty was expiring, I was running it off of battery. When the battery got down to 75%, it suddenly went to 1%. I thought it was a glitch or something. After that, the battery only started crashing sooner. At that time, due to the model being out of sale for a year, Apple (apparently) stopping production of replacement batteries (a really stupid idea right there), and (presumably) other people having their batteries die at the same time, getting a new battery was like pulling teeth... from an elephant.

    This illustrates one of the failure modes with LiIon batteries. When they wear out, they will charge to 100%, but crash during the discharge cycle. Part of the problem was that Apple had their laptops topping off the batteries whenever not at 100% (later on, Apple made a change so as not to top it off when already at 95% of better), and part of the problem was that the incomplete power-down during sleep caused the battery to go through cycles faster.

    Also, LiIon batteries have a shelf life of a couple of years even if not used. It's possible that some of these people might have had an older laptop, but the summary specifically mentions new W7 laptops, and Windows computers are usually traded up more often than Macs. But I'm sort of surprised that the BIOS wouldn't be handling the power management exactly the same whether XP or 7 was used.

  • My brother has an Asus laptop... I'm not sure the model. It's a couple of years old. It came with Vista.

    When Windows 7 because available at his university, he installed it on his laptop. He noticed that the battery life noticeably improved.
  • Windows 7 does not suck batteries. These are not the droids you seek.
    • by BronsCon (927697)

      I read the first 5 words of your post and was about to mod you troll. Then I finished the sentence.

      Ok, now that I've made my funny, allow me to chime in with something useful.

      My fiancee and I bought two identical laptops. I used mine in various rooms, at home and at work, on the road, at coffee shops... pretty much everywhere. She used hers in the bedroom.

      Mine was frequently on an elevated surface, with proper ventilation, and was frequently running on battery power.

      Hers sat on the bed or floor most of the

  • Opposite experience (Score:2, Informative)

    by h_thrilz (619750)
    My HP 2510p went from an absolute maximum of 4 hours life to nearly 7 hours when I installed Win7. I never let it go below 20% or charge above 80% if I can help it and if I'm working plugged in I've taken to removing the battery altogether so that the heat the system generates won't contribute to shortening battery life. I certainly wouldn't ever go back to Vista or XP for the sake of a battery. Win7's power management is vastly superior. (I wonder if people having problems upgraded to Win7 vs. performe
  • My laptop battery/charging system just started flaking out. Basically, the battery meter always shows the state of charge as it was when I first booted the machine up. It will operate on battery just fine but I have no way of knowing how much charge I have left. After some experimenting it's also clear that it's not charging when it's turned on but does charge when off. This is on an old Thinkpad that is probably 8+ years old so it's not surprising that something has died.

  • My Laptop came with Vista, and I upgraded to Windows 7 when I could. A few weeks later the numlock light burnt out. I have tried rolling back to Vista, and even XP, and the issue remains!

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