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Microsoft Looking Into Windows 7 Battery Failures

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the daisy-dais-y dept.

Windows 206

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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My battery died (4, Interesting)

VanHalensing (926781) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:My battery died (5, Funny)

PawNtheSandman (1238854) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008702)

That was my idea.

Re:My battery died (2, Informative)

VanHalensing (926781) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008712)

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 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31008778)

You should be thankful that it didn't burst while it was on your lap, sending acidic juices cascading down your groin, severely burning your penis and scrotum, thus destroying your ability to obtain and sustain an erection (not to mention preventing you from blowing jizm), which in turn causes your wife to take her netbook (with a working battery!) to your boss' house, where he repeatedly pounds her in the ass while his Mexican maid watches.

Re:My battery died (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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 (5, Insightful)

dorre (1731288) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:My battery died (4, Funny)

thijsh (910751) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009296)

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:My battery died (4, Insightful)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:My battery died (2, Informative)

Reece400 (584378) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009268)

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:My battery died...went NEAR Windows 7 (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009442)

My laptop went NEAR a Windows7 box, and immediately died! I like Windows 7, but it must have terrible power stuff there must be in it!!!

Re:My battery died (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009320)

Ah, the old marketing one-two team play.

VanHalensing sets up the strawman, you knock it down.

Classic stuff from the Win 7 team, as usual. You guys are consummate professionals.

Re:My battery died (2, Informative)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009452)

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:My battery died (2, Informative)

jittles (1613415) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008820)

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 (1)

balbord (447248) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008862)

Same thing here on my Asus A6Va. The battery now holds ~37%.

Re:My battery died (3, Insightful)

melikamp (631205) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008906)

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 (5, Insightful)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 4 years ago | (#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?

Re:My battery died (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009524)

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, so they end up failing shortly thereafter.

That's why I always like to find out what repairs have been done before I buy a used car. If someone replaced the alternator, but nothing else, I figure that I'll be replacing the water pump and a few other items over the next few month if I buy the car. The real bargains are when you find out they've replaced most of the front-end components, and are then dumping the car because they see it as a money pit. If they've taken care of most of the potential problems, I've just found a vehicle that should run for at least 50k miles and should be able to get it at a bargain price. My little Mercury Tracer was like that. I picked it up at about $90k miles because the previous owner got tired of being nickled-and-dimed by regular repairs. I've now owned it for the past six ore more years, and have only had a few hundred dollars of repairs. I've put over 110k miles on the vehicle (yes, a '90s model Mercury Tracer that's still on the road with over 201k miles!).

It is just so easy to let an analogy become another rabbit trail...

Hey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31008684)

MS is finally giving in: now all their users will have a taste of linux !

Too much Windows open (1)

myrrdyn (562078) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008688)

Too much Windows open, too much currents = low battery :-P

Re:Too much Windows open (5, Funny)

colonelquesadilla (1693356) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008834)

Clearly the power is leaking out all the windows, they should use quality double paned glass, to help mitigate the problem.

Re:Too much Windows open (1)

laejoh (648921) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009262)

Hey, life without walls...

Re:Too much Windows open (2, Funny)

capnkr (1153623) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009428)

The original marketing slogan "Windows - Life without walls (but definitely with wall adapters) ." was determined unwieldy, and had to be shortened somewhat...

Re:Too much Windows open (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008842)

Too much Windows open, too much currents = low battery :-P

Welcome to America. I'm pretty sure that what drains a battery is less related to the number of windows than it is related to what the windows are doing. One game will drain a battery faster than 10 internet browser tabs on static sites.

Re:Too much Windows open (1)

PawNtheSandman (1238854) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008958)

Turn off wireless card = improved battery life

Re:Too much Windows open (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009124)

one game of minesweeper versus 10 internet browser tabs loading gigapixel images?

Come on Slashdot... (5, Funny)

datapharmer (1099455) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008694)

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.

Re:Come on Slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31008844)

We just don't get a charge out of that anymore.

Slashdot's changing.

I think the rabid MS haters are growing old, have gotten married, gotten a life, and discovered that there are quite a few real endangerments to society other than some software company that's rapidly losing its monopoly power as firms like Apple and Google, as well as, FOSS take big bites out of its old slow hide.

Re:Come on Slashdot... (1)

Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008940)

Better headlines? What do you think this is, The Register?

Although I did think that the headline "Microsoft is looking into windows...." was not bad for /.

explains my old Dell Inspiron 6000 (4, Interesting)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#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

Re:explains my old Dell Inspiron 6000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31008964)

I thought it was just me but I could swear that my laptop, a HP ProBook 4515s, could do 3-4 hours before (bought it in October) and now I get 2 hours if even that.

Re:explains my old Dell Inspiron 6000 (2, Informative)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009066)

flash is also a big culprit. i've noticed that surfing facebook i get barely 90 minutes of battery life when i should have 3 hours. tried it by surfing non-flash sites and my battery life improved

Re:explains my old Dell Inspiron 6000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009392)

Take a look at your cpu usage while surfing flash sites. I've seen some flash pages peg my cpu to 100%

Re:explains my old Dell Inspiron 6000 (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009232)

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, with many being largely useless on battery after only a year or so.

Re:explains my old Dell Inspiron 6000 (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009322)

Sounds like an old battery. My laptop is a few months old, started with Vista, then upgraded to 7.

I get about four hours on a 16.5" full HD screen, high performance graphics, 7200 rpm drive, doing development work on VS 2008. I also have the high capacity battery as well, and I was suprised to actually get the performance they quoted (which was 4-5 hours of life between recharges).

There is some kind of battery black magic (2, Insightful)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008718)

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.

Bullshit (0)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008764)

One of my laptops is a 4 year old Gateway and it's battery still lasts close to 2 hours. The whole 'batteries always wear out fast' meme is based completely on ignorance.

Re:Bullshit (4, Informative)

AC-x (735297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008934)

Lithium Ion batteries do lose their maximum charge over time, that's a fact of physics. How much charge they lose depends on temperature and how much they're charged up.

http://www.batteryuniversity.com/parttwo-34.htm [batteryuniversity.com]

Re:Bullshit (2, Insightful)

Somebody Is Using My (985418) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009092)

Thanks for the interesting link. I was particularly intrigued by the chart indicating how much temperature has an effect on charge level. I'd wager that this is a major cause of a lot of these reported Windows 7 battery problems.

After all, Windows 7 is more resource intensive than XP, especially if you are using Aero Glass. Not only does that mean that CPU usage may be up, but also that the platform it is running on will be using more powerful CPUs. Both of these things result in more waste heat which can leak into the battery. XP, on the other hand, won't be heavily taxing the CPU/GPU under "ordinary use" (e.g., non-game) circumstances, and can run on less-powerful (and thus cooler-running) processors.

Re:There is some kind of battery black magic (5, Funny)

melikamp (631205) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008800)

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

<NO CARRIER>

Re:There is some kind of battery black magic (-1, Redundant)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009030)

huh... he had enough warning to spend the time writing out no carrier, and wait for the preview and submit... May I ask where you got this battery? Mine's getting a little flakey.

Re:There is some kind of battery black magic (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009530)

Whoosh...

Re:There is some kind of battery black magic (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009844)

Whoosh...

Whoosh!

Re:There is some kind of battery black magic (0, Offtopic)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009634)

huh... he had enough warning to spend the time writing out no carrier, and wait for the preview and submit...

That's because Windows 7 has this great feature, where it completes slashdot posts for you. It also automatically browses porn for you, so you don't have to.

Windows 7 - RIDE THE WALRUS!!!

Re:There is some kind of battery black magic (2, Informative)

stars_are_number_1 (788251) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009138)

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:There is some kind of battery black magic (2, Informative)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009218)

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's equally likely you won't remember to charge it for when it's needed.

Re:There is some kind of battery black magic (1)

stars_are_number_1 (788251) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009354)

To make sure I understand correctly, you're saying that newer laptops should recognize that the battery is charged and then stop charging?

That would make sense, considering my laptop is about 4 years old.

Re:There is some kind of battery black magic (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009378)

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 hour, battery would not charge) most often.

Re:There is some kind of battery black magic (1)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009862)

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.

Re:There is some kind of battery black magic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009468)

My brother, who only runs Linux, and always runs his laptops plugged in is always killing his batteries very quickly. I run only Windows, and am very careful to not always run my laptops plugged in, and got 5+ years out of my previous laptop's battery! My new Think-pad T400 that came with Windows 7 is now about 2.5 months old and is still at 100% battery life...

I firmly believe its all about how you treat the battery, not what OS you run!

Re:There is some kind of battery black magic (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009604)

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 that was typical but lived for 4 years on a desktop.

I just got a Thinkpad X41 Tablet with two batteries. The standard 4-cell battery has about 25% of capacity left, too bad. The T-cell battery has about 75% capacity, and it lasts >4 hours. I might get a new 4-cell battery, or rebuild the old one, it's a nice shape.

Newer batteries, to me, seem to tolerate constant charging. My work machine is an X61S, and after a year of 8-hour use and rare discharges it still has all the life I expect out of the 8-cell battery.

I suspect one difference between premium notebooks and low-end might be the power management and charging. A sub-$400 notebook might not do as well, and the cells might not be so excellent either. You sometimes do get what you pay for.

And I suspect leaving your notebook on 24x7 isn't good for it either. The Acer is a hot beast with a P4 2.8 in it. the Thinkpad at home rarely spins the fan so you can hear it. When the Acer dies, my wife gets a used Thinkpad. She can try and burn that up playing Bejewelled.

Re:There is some kind of battery black magic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009616)

My old laptop, a Toshiba, had its Li-ion battery working 7 years after i bought it. I don't think I had good charging habits (I never removed the battery, though I usually had it attached to the power chord at home or at the university) and i used linux.

Not experience this (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008720)

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 certain set of hardware.

Out of interest though, does anyone know enough about modern batteries to be able to tell why a piece of software should be able to cause permanent damage to a battery in the first place?

Re:Not experience this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31008796)

"Out of interest though, does anyone know enough about modern batteries to be able to tell why a piece of software should be able to cause permanent damage to a battery in the first place?"

Just guessing here, but hard drives store some operational parameters (e.g. SMART) like usage, faulty sectors, etc. and OSs can access these.

It's reasonable to assume that modern batteries have some sort of logic that can influence their behaviour. Maybe Win 7 screwed with some values that cause the battery to operate under bad conditions. Like flagging some cells as faulty or something like that.

Re:Not experience this (3, Informative)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008802)

Software controls how batteries are used/discharged.

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

Re:Not experience this (1)

Cyner (267154) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008992)

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.

Re:Not experience this (4, Interesting)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:Not experience this (2, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009310)

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 been better phrased as "if it is possible, then why is it possible for software to kill a battery?".

Re:Not experience this (1)

Wingsy (761354) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008806)

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.

Re:Not experience this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009010)

Ummmmm...NO. Ever heard of overcharge protection circuits? Yes you are correct, the laptop vendor would NEVER leave it up to WINDOWS OR ANY OS to decide what voltage to apply. What an absolutely assinine comment..

Re:Not experience this (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31008952)

These batteries contain some complex chargers with a chip that probably remembers the exact use. I suspect that the battery remembers when it's worn out and refuses to reload any further than the predicted limit (to prevent all those nasty Li-Ion overheating problems), in this way it's kind of like those HP cartridges that still report as 'empty' when you refill them and won't work.
Recently I installed a program that allows me to check my laptops battery, it currently reports I have 3069 mWh left of the rated 5200 mWh and it won't charge past this threshold (it only steadily becomes less). A constant and stable decrease like this can only be reported when it's calculated by the internal logic inside the battery (any measured value would fluctuate since the voltage will also fluctuate based on load and charge).

So to answer your question: the battery probably remembers like HP ink... :-)

FWIW, no problems here... (2, Interesting)

spywhere (824072) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Linux does it too... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31008792)

I have the same problem with Fedora on my acer laptop. Vista is quite happy and battery life works fine. But on Fedora it runs along dropping slowly until about 85% when it suddenly drops to 0% panics and suspends.

Interesting. (1)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008832)

See my post above for an anecdote with opposite parameters. But it definitely seems as though batteries remain something of an "unsolved problem" for computing, as compared to mobile phones, where things hum along rather nicely. Higher current drain? Bigger hardware diversity married to a software ecosystem? Uneven usage meaning uneven current drain over time?

I don't understand anything about battery chemistry or the finer points of PC power management, but it does seem to be one of the sketchier areas of current PC hardware.

I have this problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31008822)

on a HP Pavilion dv9685eo, found that thread 6 months ago and hoped for the best. Down to 15 mins of battery life. Reinstalls, battery drains, etc, nothing works.

Happens in other OSes, too. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31008826)

I'm reminded of a driver bug in one Linux distro release that utterly trashed laptop hard drives by...hell, I don't remember, maybe parking and unparking the heads way too often (do they even still do that anymore?). Extremely unfortunate bug, but I wanted to jump in before the fanboys.

Re:Happens in other OSes, too. (1)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008916)

Yes, the heads on mechanical hard drives still park and unpark on power on.

Re:Happens in other OSes, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31008930)

I believe it was actually Mandrake (before it became Mandriva), and it bricked LG optical drives, not (thankfully) hard drives.

Re:Happens in other OSes, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009158)

nope.

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/DanielHahler/Bug59695

Re:Happens in other OSes, too. (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009074)

I'm reminded of a driver bug in one Linux distro release that utterly trashed laptop hard drives by...hell, I don't remember, maybe parking and unparking the heads way too often (do they even still do that anymore?).

It was Ubuntu, and it was not so simple to blame them as you remember it to be. Effectively they just did not overrule the drives' own settings for the parking frequency. Turns out that there are buggy drives that get it wrong.

Re:Happens in other OSes, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009866)

There was also a virus back in the DOS days that did the same thing, back then though parking the heads on an MFM drive was a user initiated task.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31008854)

I've got these problems with a HP DV-9890-ED, but haven't experienced the degradation of the battery. Also, the error notification is only visible when I insert the power supply. When operating on battery only, the battery indicator is fine.

The battery-error exists for quite a while now, actually. I've got this problem since two months, and searches on the internet revealed that it excisted for over a half year..

Or maybe.. (1)

consonant (896763) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008888)

.. 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.

Hard to pin this down. (4, Informative)

CFD339 (795926) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008896)

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.

Question for you (1)

markhb (11721) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008982)

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?

Re:Question for you (1)

bobstay (137547) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009004)

I'd suggest just taking the battery out and running it on AC if he hardly ever moves it from his desk.

Heat is one of the main things that kills lithium-ion batteries in laptops.

THAT's interesting, as someone who has seen (1)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009070)

a lot of family and friends with dead Li-Ion batteries, yet rarely experiences these myself.

One major difference in usage patterns is that I ALWAYS run on a smooth, flat surface (desk, table) and often try to elevate the rear of the machine to keep airspace underneath (i.e. with a docking station or similar).

The family and friends I know with laptops almost always use them... on their laps. Or on a bed or a couch or similar.

Heat concerns about the hard drive, graphics, processor, and general stability (bitflips in memory and so on) were always my motive, but I wonder if this is the reason I seem to have great batteries that last me years and years with full capacity, while they seem to end up with 2 minute charge bricks after just a few months.

Re:Question for you (1)

CFD339 (795926) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009156)

Agreed -- heat kills batteries, hard drives, and capacitors in computer equipment. He should elevate the machine or use a laptop cooling pad of some kind for sure. Blowing out the dust with some canned air (carefully) every once in a while helps too -- or if your geek cred is high enough, strip the machine down and clean it out from the inside. The dust that coats heat sinks is a killer.

Re:Question for you (1)

daffmeister (602502) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009462)

Don't laptops use the battery as a power filter for the mains also? Or has that gone by the wayside?

depends.. (2, Informative)

CFD339 (795926) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009134)

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 around 40-50%

3. When he does need the battery, it hasn't got much charge in it so he's got to plan an hour or two ahead of time.

To me, I'd go with the "just use the damn thing" approach, and after a year or two just buy another hundred dollar battery.

For what it's worth, these guys were extremely helpful to me when I looked into this stuff and I've found them good to deal with (http://www.atbatt.com/). They also donate large numbers of 9v batteries to fire departments to give to people with smoke detectors, so I consider that worth some karma points.

Re:Hard to pin this down. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009334)

So you charge it 300 times and the capacity is at 50%. Then you charge another 300 times, now the capacity is 25%. Another 300 charges, 12.5%. And so on. This does not explain how batteries go from 2 hour capacity to 2 minute capacity in the space of one month.

Re:Hard to pin this down. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009388)

It's funny, if it was caused by linux or some other OS immediately everyone would attack the OS and not the hardware. Microsoft is ... well, Microsoft, they'll blame the manufacturer for not respecting some standards that should have never existed in the first place.

Hmm... (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008936)

...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.

New Dell E1555 (1)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 4 years ago | (#31008950)

Got a new Dell E1555 to replace my aging E1505, blew out the HD, installed 7 fresh. 8-9 hour battery life (extended battery), no issues. Must be a really specific glitch.

Strange (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009044)

I actually get semi decent battery life in 7 and less in Linux. However that's why they made the adapter.

Win7 asks you to kill your battery (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009078)

I'll bet it has something to do with people selecting the High Performance power profile without knowing the full consequences of it.

User Error...

I'm a PC, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009114)

and Windows 7's battery draining prowess was my idea.

Downgrading? (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009128)

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?

Re:Downgrading? (1)

XMode (252740) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009372)

Don't know if serious.. But im assuming its because Win7 code has already screwed the battery up..

Re:Downgrading? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009814)

just throwing this out there with no proof:
win7 rootkit?

OSX Snow Leopard upgrade may cause battery failure (1)

biggknifeparty (618904) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009152)

I've heard reports on the Apple community forum that those who upgraded to Snow Leopard had battery failure. However, it could very well be that the newer versions, 10.6 and also Windows 7, are just better at displaying battery failure status than the earlier versions.

Vostro battery murdered by 7 (2, Funny)

clysher (1305359) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009214)

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 buy a new battery, but if this is real then I hope a class action is in the works because I need a new battery, and this is obviously the reason I need one. Also, since installing 7 I should point out that my battery now only has a seven minute life off ac power, even under Ubuntu 9.10, 8.04, and Windows XP. In response to someone mentioning 'high performance' being the likely culprit, I only ran high performance power management while on ac power.

Battery (-1, Offtopic)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009216)

Lashing out the action
Returning the reaction
Weak are ripped and torn away

Hypnotizing cower
Crushing all that power
Battery ain't here to stay

Smashing through the boundaries
Windows 7 found me
Cannot save the battery

Pounding out aggression
Turns into obsession
Cannot use the battery

Cannot kill the family
Battery ain't found in ME
Battery
Battery

Thrashing all deceivers'
Mashing the believers'
Never ending potency

Hungry violence seeker
Feeding off the weaker
Breeding on insanity

Smashing through the boundaries
Windows 7 found me
Cannot save the battery

Pounding out aggression
Turns into obsession
Cannot use the battery

Cannot kill the family
Battery ain't found in ME
Battery
Battery

Circle of destruction
Microsoft comes crushing
Powerhouse of energy

Whipping up a fury
Dominating flurry
We throw out the battery

Smashing through the boundaries
Lunacy has found me
Cannot save the battery

Pounding out aggression
Turns into obsession
Cannot use the battery

Cannot kill the family
Battery ain't found in ME
Battery
Battery
Battery
Battery

Dell Vostro no Win7 battery problems, but.... (-1, Flamebait)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009302)

nothing else seems to work correctly. SigmaTel audio device flat out is buggy, periodic blue screens, video driver seems to be extremely hinky....

Screw it I am buying a Mcc.

Re:Dell Vostro no Win7 battery problems, but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009664)

Welcome to the family

I did that 2 years ago when vista.... (do I need to say more?)

p.s. Windows 7 on Parallels seems to works just fine here on OS X.... no battery issues, except some CPU going to 100% sometimes due to windows software.

I bought a computer with WIN7 RC... (1)

cvtan (752695) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009350)

and sure enough 6 months later the 5-year-old battery in my MINI Cooper needed to be replaced.

Any change in O/S could do this to a battery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009362)

LiON batteries become more effcient as they get used to a power profile (ie. usage pattern). So after conditioning a battery for 2 years with one such usage pattern (or using one O/S over time), then changing that all of a sudden by installing a different OS that uses the battery differently *could* shock the cells into premature collapse.

VMware (1)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009508)

I wonder does this problem also crop up when using a VM session over time, or must Win7 be the top loaded OS?

software effecting battery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009572)

A lot of remarks about the OS not able to effect battery life. I felt the same way (someone already linked a wikipedia article to it I see) until I ran into this issue. I had a user with a Dell Latitude 820 using Vista that wanted to upgrade to 7. As soon as he did the battery would not longer charge while the computer was powered on. He never got the message described in the article. Shut down his laptop, and the battery started to charge again. It really baffled me at first, but it opened my eyes up to the fact that software, particularly the OS and drivers, can have a profound effect on the battery. All this time I thought battery usage was completely dependent on hardware.

BTW, the user went back to Vista and everything works fine again.

This happened to me when OS X was new (3, Informative)

Megane (129182) | more than 4 years ago | (#31009718)

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.

If you think this is a problem now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31009798)

Wait until we have lithium ion powered cars all over the place.

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