Friday, 7 August 2015

Symptoms Of A Dead Computer Battery

It is almost inevitable that one day you will sit at your computer, trying to start it up only to find that, rather than loading up, it is giving you an error message or worse, nothing at all. Before you worry that a virus has destroyed your hard drive or last night's thunderstorm cooked your motherboard, consider some of the symptoms of a dead battery. Both laptops and desktops use batteries and knowing what to look for in both can save you a lot of time and money.

Loss of Date and Time

Ever wonder how your computer knows what day it is even if it has been off for a week or more? It is because of a small, on-board battery which keeps a small microprocessor hard at work while the rest of your computer is dormant. Commonly referred to as CMOS memory, this chip also keeps the time and date correct. If you have to update your time or date at all, you may have a battery that is dying.

Invalid Drive Error

Sometimes batteries literally just die; no warning and no prior symptoms. Often this becomes a problem when you try to boot up your computer and receive an error message which states "Invalid drive specification." This is most prevalent in older computers, but is still possible in relatively new computers. In this case, you must replace your CMOS battery. Opening up your computer case should reveal a large, green board with lots of microchips on it. This is your motherboard and somewhere on it (depending on model) there will be a button-shaped metal battery. Write down the information on this battery and go to your nearest computer store for a replacement.

Laptop Lag

Laptops, of course, use a second type of battery intended to make it more portable and convenient to use. This battery is a rechargeable, often easily-removed, battery pack typically located on the bottom of your laptop. While working, you may notice a continual degradation of your screen's brightness or the computer may be taking a long time to do chores it once did quickly. If these problems clear up when the laptop is plugged into an electrical outlet, your rechargeable battery may be on the brink of dying and should be replaced soon.

Short Work Day

When you first get your laptop, your battery may have lasted 6, 8 or more hours without needing to be recharged. Over time that limit will slowly deteriorate, eventually resulting in an hour, or maybe two, of work before needing a recharge. This is completely normal in rechargeable batteries as the electrolytes used to power your battery are no longer exchanging the ions needed to produce electricity. Replace your battery soon to regain that optimal performance time you once had.


There is no way to completely prevent a battery's death, especially the CMOS battery; you'll just have to replace it when it dies. Typically a CMOS battery lasts about 10 years, but environment, usage, and other factors sometimes shorten that span.

You can, however, optimize your laptop's configuration to get the most out of your rechargeable battery. First, you may want to dim the screen's brightness when operating in battery-only mode. Also, consider turning off some devices (Bluetooth, LAN card, external hard drives, etc.) when they are not in use or if they are not normally used in battery-only situations. On a PC, select "Start" then "My Computer" then "Device Manager" and select "Disable" on the appropriate device. On Apple notebooks, the "Energy Saver" control panel will help you configure your computer for optimal battery life.

Tags: your computer, CMOS battery, your battery, your laptop, error message, rechargeable battery, screen brightness