Laptop Only Works When Plugged In: The battery life

by John Sanderson
Laptop Only Works When Plugged In

Today, many people own a laptop. It’s because a laptop is smaller, which makes it portable compared to the traditional desktop. 

It’s very convenient to carry your laptop to any place you go. In addition to portability, laptops are so effective. The laptop manufacturing companies like HP and Dell have to make high-performing laptops. 

The graphics and processing power are excellent. They can certainly perform all functions like gaming, coding, etc. People love the laptop because of its easy access and mobility. 

To work from anywhere, you will need a laptop that can hold power for an extended period. Most laptops come with powerful batteries that can last up to half a day after a single charge. So, why does your laptop only work when plugged in a power source? Let’s find out. 

Laptop Only Works When Plugged In

The most obvious reason is your laptop’s battery is not working. If a battery reaches the end of its useful life, it stops holding charge. 

In other cases, though rare, the laptop batteries stop working unexpectedly. This can be caused by a shortage in the internal parts of the battery. 

However, the cause of most battery damages is extreme cold or heat, dropping the laptop, contact with liquid, and a sharp jolt from bumping. 

Damaged and old batteries do charge partially and lose power so quickly. They go from fully charged to dead in a few minutes.

Suppose you notice that your battery is not performing as usual and your laptop does not have other issues. Know the battery’s health is flawed, if not worse. Here are some of the signs that will help you know whether your battery is worn out or not. 

  • Losing charge too soon
  • It overheats during charging. You can feel the heat from the bottom case of the laptop where the battery is situated. 
  • It takes too long to charge.

Inspecting your battery is not tricky. Meaning you will not need a technician. Inspect it by simply taking a look at it. 

All you need to do is remove the battery from the laptop. However, be cautious while doing this. In case you have been using the computer, the battery might be hot. It can lead to physical injuries like burning.

The issues that you should look for are a crack or swell. If you notice any leaking, broken plastic, or gummy residue, stop using the battery.  Order a replacement since that one won’t do you any good. 

Another way of inspecting your battery life is by carrying out a health check. It will inform you about its condition. To test the battery, you’ll have to carry out a battery report. It’s pretty easy when using Windows 10. 

Guide On How To Run A Battery Report On Windows 10

The report will surely give you all the helpful information about your battery. Here is a guide on how you can access your battery report on Windows 10.

  • Hold the Windows + X key simultaneously. 
  • The Windows PowerShell (Admin) will pop up. Select it.
  • The device will ask for permission to “make changes to your device.” Click on allow. 
  • A small black pop-up window will appear. Type the following on the first line that shows and click enter:  “powercfg/battery report/output”c/battery-report.html.”
  • Some texts will pop up. From here, it will be easy. You’ll see a path on how to find the report. 
  • Close the window
  • Use the file explorer to check the report’s location. 
  • The report is sent in the form of a browser file like Internet Explorer or Chrome. Click on the file, and it’ll automatically open from a browser window.

What To Look For In the Report?

Battery Life Estimation

The battery life can be a possible cause for a laptop battery not charging. In the right column, you will find how long the battery can last at its current charge. 

Compare with the actual battery life on the left column. In case of a vast difference, know that your battery is not functioning as expected. 

The Battery Capacity

The battery charging capacity appears on the right-hand column. The actual capacity of the battery is on the left-hand column. The actual battery capacity gets slightly lower with time. 

A massive difference between the actual and design capacity means your battery has degraded. It would be best if you were keen on any sudden drop in battery capacity too. 

The Perfect Time To Get A New Battery

If your laptop only functions when plugged in, the battery is dead. Honestly, there is nothing much you can do to save an already dead battery. 

For effectiveness, you’ll indeed have to make a replacement. This way, you’ll be able to carry out crucial tasks from anywhere, anytime. 

Replacing the battery is not an arduous task. You should, however, be wary about the place you want to buy the replacement battery.  Various vendors sell batteries both online and in-store. 

Check for a battery that is compatible with your laptop before making the purchase. It will be best if you buy the battery from a reseller that your brand has approved.

For HP owners, it’s much easier to find the perfect battery for your laptop. Use the battery finder tool to get a suitable replacement. 

Note that, at times, the third-party products do have issues. In addition to poor quality, the third-party battery can void your warranty. Be keen and informed when making a battery purchase. 

Would you please not use a battery once you notice it’s leaky or malfunctioning? It can cause more issues on your laptop, and you might end up losing it or overspending on repairs. 

The best way to purchase a battery is by visiting your manufacturer’s website. They’ll give you an authorized replacement, plus you’ll get to keep the warranty. 

Tips To Make Your Laptop Battery Last Longer

Here are some of the minor tweaks that will help keep your battery life. Your laptop will therefore function efficiently and effectively. 

Do not expose your battery to too hot and cold

Only use your laptop in environments that have an ambient temperature. It should not be extremely cold or hot. 

Laptops tend to work harder in extreme temperatures, and this drains the battery rather too quickly. Continuous exposure of the battery to such conditions also damages it and reduces its useful life. 

Activate Battery Saver Mode 

When using your laptop away from the power source, you should activate power saver mode. 

In some laptops, this mode does limit some functionality but will surely help maintain your battery life. To activate this mode, click on the battery level indicator. 

Don’t Keep Your Laptop Plugged in

It would be best if you didn’t keep your laptop plugged in all the time while using it. Research shows that most laptops that are used this way have lesser cycle numbers. 

The proper cycle is by letting the battery drain and then plug into recharge. You should keep your battery charge between 20% and 80%. So don’t have the pressure of maintaining the battery charge at 100%.

Plug it in before it completely dies

Many laptop users tend to let their laptop’s battery completely drain before they plug it in. It is a destructive vice that immensely affects your battery life. 

It would help if you didn’t drain your battery life below 20% charge. This will extend your battery life. Usage with low charge does strain the battery, and this reduces its charging capacity. 

Ensure you have enough RAM

According to some of the popular laptop manufacturers like Dell, enough RAM extends your battery life. It should be enough to allow your computer to perform various functions efficiently. 

Computers do store certain information in the RAM. This makes the process of retrieving data much faster.

 It also prevents your hard drive from overworking hence saving power and battery. 

Turn of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi

In case you do not need connectivity, you should turn off these features. Even when your device is connected to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, it continues to search for other connections. 

The power drain by this device is slight. However, maintaining the connections does use up some laptop battery power.  

Reduce screen brightness

We do not need to use a super screen. The lights are so unhealthy and do have adverse effects on our eyes. 

Lower screen brightness does reduce the wastage of battery power. It’s because the display significantly  drains power in all devices that have screens. 

You should also use the setting that allows your screen to turn off after a short period of idleness. The power saver mode does make some automatic adjustments on the screen. 


The laptops do have several issues after purchase. However, the battery issue is one of the simple fixes. It should not stress you in any way.

All you need to do is replace the battery or the charging cord. This is undoubtedly more affordable than replacing the whole laptop. 

However, desist from buying third-party products because they can void your warranty. It’s best to visit your manufacturer’s official website for advice and replacement. 

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