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Win 7 bug may kill batteries

Win 7 bug may kill batteries

An issue with ACPI power management - reported to Microsoft back in June - is being blamed for permanently damaging users' laptop batteries.

While Windows 7 has brought many advantages to users of Microsoft's operating systems, extended battery life may not be amongst them - at least according to some users claiming to be affected by a battery-biting bug.

As reported over on PhysOrg.com - via Engadget - enough users have now complained of serious battery life issues with the latest consumer iteration of Windows that Microsoft has opened an investigation into the reports.

According to threads on Microsoft's TechNet forums, the issue appears to be related to Windows 7's inability to recognise certain battery types and capacities - with the result that users are receiving error messages telling them to "consider replacing your battery" despite there being nothing physically wrong with the device.

Rather more worrying is reports that other users are experiencing a real drop in battery life, rather than just an annoying but ultimately ignorable error message: TechNet poster Guy Gordon reports that the battery in his HP 6810b laptop used to get over two hours of life from a single charge under Windows XP, which dropped to 45 minutes immediately after installing Windows 7 - and has now tailed off to a mere five minutes before the system forcibly shuts down.

Microsoft is continuing to treat the issue as a purely software problem - with Windows failing to correctly determine the remaining charge, the system may well shut down prematurely even when there is power left in the battery. More seriously, Windows will struggle to determine when the laptop battery has had enough mains power to be fully charged - something which should be resolved by charging the laptop while it's powered off, rather than with Windows running. However, Technet users are reporting that the drop in capacity is permanent - with other operating systems, including Ubuntu Linux, reporting massively reduced battery capacity once Windows 7 had been running for a while.

The issue, however, has been ongoing since at least June of last year, and despite workarounds being offered - ranging from disabling the ACPI battery support and using a third-party battery monitoring utility to ensuring that your BIOS is fully up to date - many users are still affected by it. So far, Microsoft appears unable to offer a solution - and is silent regarding numerous requests for replacement batteries from users bitten by the bug.

Any Windows 7 users who've noticed their battery life taking a massive nosedive, or is it a vocal minority who are experiencing an extremely rare bug? Should Microsoft be treating the issue more seriously? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

28 Comments

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liratheal 3rd February 2010, 11:16 Quote
I guess I'm one of the lucky ones, then, that never had that issue.

I'll be interested to see how MS handles the complaints of permanently damaged batteries - I'm sure someone will sue someone for it.
Flibblebot 3rd February 2010, 11:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Article
More seriously, Windows will struggle to determine when the laptop battery has had enough mains power to be fully charged - something which should be resolved by charging the laptop while it's powered off, rather than with Windows running.
I would have thought that laptop electronics handled the battery charging, not the OS?
K.I.T.T. 3rd February 2010, 11:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot
I would have thought that laptop electronics handled the battery charging, not the OS?

It does when Windows isn't running otherwise it feeds information to the ACPI management system for software to monitor the battery condition and charge/discharge rate.

I luckily haven't had this problem either, or at least not to my knowledge. i did notice a slight drop in longevity on my Studio 17 from about 3:45 hours in maximum battery saving mode to about 2:45 under win 7 but with how much 7 has been in general on the system and the life still being pretty good i've not bothered about it too much.
liratheal 3rd February 2010, 11:26 Quote
I have noticed that Win7's high power and 'balanced' settings for power management don't make a fantastic difference, but at the same time, my battery life went up with Win7, despite all my efforts to the contrary (Like putting an E8435 in it..) >.>
thaz 3rd February 2010, 11:40 Quote
This could be the reason why the batter life in my HP NX6325 dropped from about two hours to a bit more than 20 minutes now. I've thought the battery itself was dying.

My laptop runs Windows 7 since the Beta version, and, as it was written in the article, Ubuntu shows a significant capacity loss now, which is indeed permanent. IIRC the battery life under Windows XP was far better. Interesting stuff.
CopaMundial 3rd February 2010, 11:41 Quote
I installed windows 7 on my samsung nc10 and ever since then my battery has completely died but luckily I got it repaired free of charge from samsung
proxess 3rd February 2010, 11:43 Quote
Time to pull out my battery. Don't wanna risk killing it.
mi1ez 3rd February 2010, 11:46 Quote
Do we have any word on specific makes/models of laptop affected, or type/capacity of battery?
capmoq 3rd February 2010, 11:50 Quote
Guys I experience the same thing. First off my computer shut down at 50% of my battery (the windows showed that). Then after recharging my battery the laptop lasted 2x less than it did earlier. Well I thought it could be my battery mailfuncion but now i realised. Since the computer crash the battery life has been constantly decreasing even more. At first it was 2.5 hours. After the crash 1 hour and by now 30 minutes. By the way it shows the "Consider replacing your battery" notification.
Shall I charge Microsoft for this?
DragunovHUN 3rd February 2010, 11:53 Quote
Oh joy, i got a win7 laptop for christmas...

Seems to be working fine so far though.
shanky887614 3rd February 2010, 12:00 Quote
if your battery has dropped that low i think its time for a new one remember electronics dont last foreeer esecially batteries
TWeaK 3rd February 2010, 12:13 Quote
Just as well you posted this today! Got a new HD for the other half's EeePC and was thinking of putting Win 7 on it, think I'll give it a miss for now...

Get the feeling that Microsoft won't do a damned thing for all the unfortunate people who've had their hardware damaged by this. There's probably something in the EULA that protects them from this kind of thing, but if there isn't someone needs to get a class action lawsuit together.
samkiller42 3rd February 2010, 12:52 Quote
I installed Windows 7 on my NC10 a tad before xmas and all is well. I gained in battery life since the old XP days, even with wifi on, and i was able to watch a Film, streamed over the wifi and still have over 80% battery.

Sam
gavomatic57 3rd February 2010, 13:05 Quote
Fortunately there is little chance of SP3 getting anywhere near my laptop. Phew.
Matticus 3rd February 2010, 14:25 Quote
My girlfriend was complaining of less battery since I installed 7. But I don't know if its just the age of the battery, she has had it for a while.

It lasted a good few hours when I was on it. Just something to look out for I guess.

I would assume that under some sort of EU law, MS to would be liable for replacements if it can be proved they have caused it.
Blackmoon181 3rd February 2010, 14:40 Quote
i have been running Win7 in various forms on my Eee PC since the summer and whist the beta did have have an effect on the battery

life , the retail version has been good, still getting around the 8 hour mark with brightness low and without Wifi.

As batteries are so expensive i'd certainly be complaining if it happened to me
RichCreedy 3rd February 2010, 15:55 Quote
i havent been affected either, my lappy runs, and always has, for about 1.5 hours, wether on win xp,vista or 7, only because i keep my screen slightly brighter and dont turn off the wireless.
SlickGnome 3rd February 2010, 16:08 Quote
Of my 2 work laptops, one appears normal, the other however was very noticeable on. HP elite tablet with extended bat, was getting about 12-14 hours with both battery's fully charged under Vista. Now with 7, the thing will not even report or use the second battery (shows it there but can't determine what it is???) though it does appear to use it strangely enough, but now run times are down to about 8 hours.
Indian-Art 3rd February 2010, 18:29 Quote
Thats why I use Ubuntu. Its a great Operating System. It is safe, secure, efficient because it can even run on Hardware with low specifications. It is free and you can download it at www.ubuntu.com

It can be installed along with windows as 'dual boot'.
GoodBytes 3rd February 2010, 18:35 Quote
Yup, I have that issue. I don't have a battery life reduction, but I do get Windows telling me that my system may shut down at any time, despite having 4 hours and half out of it.
Anfield 3rd February 2010, 18:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matticus
I would assume that under some sort of EU law, MS to would be liable for replacements if it can be proved they have caused it.

Questionable, because MS doesn't sell the Laptops with Windows 7 preinstalled, so I think the risk is bigger for Dell, HP, Acer and so on to get sued.

And I'm sure MS has something in the Eula that removes any and all responsibility if you install windows and not a MS approved Company.
crazyceo 3rd February 2010, 19:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Indian-Art
Thats why I use Ubuntu. Its a great Operating System. It is safe, secure, efficient because it can even run on Hardware with low specifications. It is free and you can download it at www.ubuntu.com

It can be installed along with windows as 'dual boot'.

Is this a SpamBot?

I've installed Win7 on 3 laptops/netbooks from different manufacturers with 2 XP and 1 Vista originally. I've had no problems at all with battery life. learn how to charge your batteries the most effeciently does actually help the lifespan of any rechargable battery. Go to the manufacturers website will general guide you in the right path.
Cupboard 3rd February 2010, 23:42 Quote
I think that 7 has increased my battery life...
However, due to Samsung being crappy when I first did it (and I haven't checked recently) there is no way to change the screen brightness. So it is always at 100% :D
frojoe 4th February 2010, 01:50 Quote
I have had both xp, vista, and windows 7 on this laptop. None of them last as long as when I'm running osx, but 7 is the closest so far. Every once in a while with vista the battery would rapidly deplete, hasn't happened yet with windows 7.
Matticus 4th February 2010, 02:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cupboard
I think that 7 has increased my battery life...
However, due to Samsung being crappy when I first did it (and I haven't checked recently) there is no way to change the screen brightness. So it is always at 100% :D

Can you not do control panel > mobility centre. Then adjust the brightness from there?
SilverSilence 4th February 2010, 08:15 Quote
God dammit, i thought my battery was actually screwed.. This explains why it only lasts 15minutes and i always have that gay "consider replacing your battery" message. Damn you Microsoft >=[
Dreamslacker 4th February 2010, 13:22 Quote
Don't have the issue on my X60 with Windows 7 Ultimate. Then again, the ACPI driver isn't from M$, it's provided by IBM/ Lenovo (I had to download it manually) so that could be the reason why some laptops don't suffer the issue.
TWeaK 5th February 2010, 20:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamslacker
Don't have the issue on my X60 with Windows 7 Ultimate. Then again, the ACPI driver isn't from M$, it's provided by IBM/ Lenovo (I had to download it manually) so that could be the reason why some laptops don't suffer the issue.

Ah that may be alright for Eee PC's as well, since they use ASUS ACPI drivers (pretty much the first thing you have to install). Still, I think I'll put off Win 7 on the laptop for now. Don't really need any extra overheads and as they say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. In the mean time I can 'fix' my desktop :D
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