Microsoft denies Win 7 battery bug

February 10, 2010 | 10:06

Tags: #acpi #battery #steven-sinofsky #win-7 #windows-7 #windows-7-acpi

Companies: #microsoft

Rumours of a battery-biting bug in Windows 7 that was causing notebook users to receive incorrect warnings of impending disaster - and even cause actual damage to batteries - have been dismissed following an investigation by Microsoft.

Despite numerous reports of battery life suddenly diminishing following the installation of Windows 7, coupled with a warning to "consider replacing your battery," Microsoft has concluded that the issue is nothing to do with Windows 7 or its ACPI management.

In a post to the Windows 7 Engineering Blog - via Digital Trends - Windows Group president Steven Sinofsky states that "to the very best of the collective ecosystem knowledge, Windows 7 is correctly warning batteries that are in fact failing and Windows 7 is neither incorrectly reporting on battery status nor in any way whatsoever causing batteries to reach this state," and confirms that "in every case we have been able to identify the battery being reported on was in fact in need of recommended replacement."

Sinofsky points to the fact that no reports of battery failure thus far have been on new hardware, instead all being from users who have upgraded older devices to Windows 7. The simple reason why Windows 7 appears to have been to blame: the "consider replacing your battery" message, which appears when the last full charge is less than 40 percent of the recorded design charge for the battery, is a new feature which was not present in previous versions of Windows. By announcing the pre -existing battery degradation after an upgrade, Microsoft appears to have mislead users into believing that Windows 7 was the cause - rather than just the age of the laptop.

Having communicated with OEMs regarding the issue, Sinofsky states categorically that "we are seeing nothing more than the normal course of battery degradation over time," and that those wishing to upgrade to Windows 7 should do so without fear for their batteries.

Despite these reassurances, comments are still being made that there genuinely is an issue to be addressed here: one user claims that Microsoft is ignoring the true issue, which is "a marked difference between relative battery life when running Windows 7 vs. any other recent variety of Windows." Others claim that the problem stems from Windows 7 using the Design Capacity field rather than the Total Capacity field for calculating the health of a battery, with user DanLee81 stating that "design capacity with all the problematic batteries is an unpopulated field," reading 0 in affected batteries - even in new laptops including the "Samsung Q320 and Toshiba Satellite T110."

For now, Sinofsky has promised to "continue to monitor the situation" and to continue to "have focused communication with our OEM partners as they monitor their customers and PCs over time."

Do you believe that Microsoft has messed up with Windows 7's treatment of batteries, or is Sinofsky right and the issue is purely caused by ageing, dying batteries? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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