Laptop Battery is Plugged in but Not Charging: Here’s Your Fix

woman frustrated looking at laptop

Laptop Battery is Plugged in but Not Charging: Here’s Your Fix

Key Points

  • Troubleshoot the problem by turning on the laptop without the power cord to determine if the battery, charger, or internal failure is causing the issue.
  • Inspect the charger for damage and check the laptop’s power connector for any bent pins.
  • Consider getting a new laptop charger or replacing the battery if necessary.
  • Manage your laptop’s power consumption by identifying programs that drain the battery and adjusting power settings.
  • Update drivers through the device manager to ensure they are not causing charging issues.
  • Seek professional help if none of the previous steps work, especially for replacing a battery in a sealed laptop or diagnosing and repairing component-level failures.

Nothing is more annoying than a dead laptop battery, especially if you have work to do. Fortunately, most problems are relatively minor and you can fix them with the simple steps outlined below.

Before panicking over a dead battery, it is a good idea to ensure that your laptop is plugged in and the charging icon is not on in the taskbar.

Fixing a laptop battery is a two-part process of first troubleshooting and then remedying the issue. Before getting started, it is also a good idea to back up any important data while your computer still has power. This way, you still have access to your important files if the battery runs out of power while testing.

It is also worth noting that the steps are intended for Windows users, but many also translate to macOS.

Let’s break down everything you need to know!

Troubleshoot the Problem

Before we start looking at ways to fix your laptop’s battery, it is a good idea to troubleshoot the problem. This will help pinpoint where the problem lies so you aren’t left trying random fixes that may not work.

This is also a good time to contact your laptop’s manufacturer if it is still under warranty to get more specific troubleshooting steps as well as repair options.

Power on the Computer

Start troubleshooting the laptop by turning it on. Try doing so without the power cord connected to ensure that the battery is functioning. The goal is to determine whether the battery, the charger, or an internal failure caused the problem. If the computer powers on with just the battery, then you know the battery’s connection to the laptop is good.

Plug in the Power Cable

Next, plug in the power cable to the laptop. If your laptop has a removable battery, take it off now and see whether or not the computer stays on. A laptop should run off just the power cord without the need for a battery.

This rules out that the charging cable is faulty and narrows the problem to an internal failure. Some laptops also have a light that indicates the battery is charging or that it is full.

Newer computers that use USB-C cables provide a couple of options for charging. You should connect power to each USB-C port to ensure one isn’t faulty. Additionally, try using a different cable, even if it is rated for a lower amperage. If nothing works, then the problem lies inside the laptop. At that point, you should try plugging in a flash drive or other peripherals to see if the USB-C ports work at all.

Inspect the Connections

Sometimes, you cannot turn the laptop on because the battery is dead. Without the ability to charge the battery, troubleshooting gets a little tricky. With a laptop that doesn’t power on, it is best to thoroughly inspect the charger. Look closely for any damage to the wire, such as fraying or signs of wear at the plug.

This is also a good time to double-check that your electrical outlet is working. If the power cord appears to be in good shape, look inside the laptop’s power connector. There is usually a small round pin inside that can get bent if you insert the cord incorrectly. One final and definitive way to test the power supply is by using a multimeter to measure voltage, but this may be a little advanced for basic troubleshooting.

How to Fix Your Laptop: Methods and Steps to Follow

Now that you’ve narrowed down the problematic component, begin going through the steps outlined below to fix the computer.

They are organized from the easiest and most likely to the rarer and more complex.

Use the information from the troubleshooting steps above to narrow down possible fixes.

Method #1: Get a New Laptop Charger

Laptop chargers are not cheap, but if the troubleshooting steps indicate that your charger isn’t functioning, it may be time to purchase a new one. The good news is that many newer laptops charge with USB-C cables, which are readily available at reasonable prices.

However, if you have an older computer that uses an expensive charger, consider purchasing a cheap universal charger to ensure that it fixes the problem. You should avoid using this long-term, but they will at least help you diagnose the problem without spending a fortune on a new name-brand charger.

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09/09/2023 06:30 am GMT
laptop charger
Try out a different laptop charger.


Method #2: Replace the Battery

For decades, laptop batteries snapped into the back of the computer’s casing, making it easy to replace. Unfortunately, this is not the case in many newer laptops, as manufacturers are making battery replacement very difficult. If you have a laptop with a removable battery, consider replacing it.

Most batteries are available online at fairly low prices, and if it turns out the original battery was good, you can always use an extra. In the case of a sealed computer with an internal battery, you will likely need to take it somewhere to be professionally replaced. But hold off on a professional replacement until you’ve tried the final fixes.

remove laptop battery
Replacing your laptop’s battery may fix the issue.

©Tomasz Majchrowicz/Shutterstock.com

Method #3: Manage Your Laptop’s Power Consumption

Assuming you can still use your laptop, look at what programs may be draining your battery. Sometimes a laptop can pull more power than a battery can handle, which makes it appear that the battery is bad. This is particularly important on older laptops because batteries degrade over time.

Go to Task Manager on your laptop by searching for it. Alternatively, press Alt, Ctrl, and Delete on your keyboard and select Task Manager from the Lock Menu.

Look through the Processes tab for programs using a lot of CPU, GPU, or memory, as they pull a lot of power. After ending these tasks, your laptop should use significantly less power.

laptop charts graphs power consumption battery
Cutting down on your laptop’s power consumption will help it charge better.

©Blue Planet Studio/Shutterstock.com

Method #4: Check the Laptop’s Power Settings

After looking for programs that consume a lot of power, it is a good idea to investigate the laptop’s power settings. Windows has different presets to manage laptop power consumption when the computer is charging or while running on battery power. You can access the power options by clicking on the battery icon in the taskbar.

The exact options will vary based on the version of Windows running on the laptop. However, you should enable power saving mode while on battery power. Some laptops, especially gaming ones, have a program to manage power consumption. Each manufacturer often uses a proprietary program such as Lenovo Vantage, Dell Power Manager, and HP Adaptive Battery Optimizer.

laptop power settings low battery mode
Check your laptop’s power settings.

©Tada Images/Shutterstock.com

Method #5: Update Drivers

Transitioning to laptops that do not recognize a charger is connected, you should check to see if the drivers are up to date. Laptops use additional software to control charging. This is done through drivers, which enable the hardware to communicate with the operating system. Sometimes these drivers get outdated or corrupted, leading to major problems.

It is pretty rare for drivers to cause a charging issue, but it is possible, especially with newer chargers that rely on USB-C. You can quickly update drivers through the device manager.

Start by searching for Device Manager in the search menu on the taskbar. Once you are in the Device Manager, look for Batteries listed alongside a picture of a battery with a plug.

There may be a couple of options below this, so you should take a moment and update the drivers for each.

To update the driver, click on it and press the logo of a computer with an arrow. This will automatically search for and install the new driver. If that doesn’t work, try deleting them with the red X button at the top. Then, reboot the laptop computer, and the drivers will automatically reinstall.

computer pc laptop driver hard disk
You can also update your drivers.

©Anutr Yossundara/Shutterstock.com

Method #6: Seek Professional Help

It is critical to know your limits and seek professional help when necessary. If none of the steps above worked, it may be time to look at other alternatives.

If the laptop is pretty old, purchasing a new one will likely be better rather than wasting money on expensive repairs. Keep reading as we closely examine what a professional repair might entail and when it is a good option.

Replace Battery in a Sealed Laptop

The first thing that a professional repair person can do is replace the battery in a sealed laptop. Modern devices often require special attention to disassemble and replace very small components.

If your laptop battery is bad, the shop will source a replacement, take the computer apart, replace the battery, and reassemble the computer before returning it to you.

Diagnose and Repair Component Level Failure

Where repair shops really shine is in diagnosing and repairing board-level component failures. A good shop can disassemble the laptop and identify the faulty component. This is a highly skilled job because it does require soldering components. A professional will also be able to identify and possibly remedy liquid damage. Liquid damage can wreak permanent havoc by causing corrosion and damaging the battery.

Repair Physical Damage

The final reason that you should take your laptop to a professional for repair is for physical damage. This would primarily include a broken power connector. It is fairly common for the pin inside a power connector to break off or for the entire power connector to come off the motherboard. A computer technician can remove the broken connector and solder on a new one.

geek squad
Seek out professional support if none of these tips helped.

©TB studio/Shutterstock.com

Wrapping Up

Hopefully, your laptop is now charging and working as it should.

If your laptop is fairly new, then it may still be covered under warranty. Otherwise, you may need to decide between paying an expensive repair bill or buying a new laptop.

With the chip shortage ending and laptop costs finally going back down, it may be a good time to think about upgrading.

Laptop Battery is Plugged in but Not Charging: Here’s Your Fix FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How long does a laptop battery last?

Laptop batteries typically last a few years, with HP stating that the average is between two to four years. However, batteries slowly degrade, so you may notice your computer isn’t holding a charge like it used to.

Can you charge a laptop battery with a phone charger?

If your laptop supports USB-C charging, then it is possible to use a phone charger. This is an excellent option to verify if your charger is broken. However, the amperage provided by a phone charger is not nearly as high as a laptop charger, so it is not a good long-term solution.

Do laptops need a battery to work?

In most cases, a laptop will still work without a battery in it. If you have an old battery that is not working properly, it may be best to remove it completely so extra power isn’t wasted trying to charge it.

What controls battery charging inside the computer?

There is a small chip, usually on the motherboard, that regulates power coming into the device. This chip takes the power and directs it to the battery and other components. It also has the responsibility of regulating power to the battery so it doesn’t get overcharged.

Are Macs different than Windows when it comes to battery charging?

Mac laptops work the same way as Windows PCs. The chargers are often different because Macs use MagSafe magnetic chargers, but some MacBooks also use USB-C. The internal circuitry and software are also similar. However, MacBooks are very complicated to work on, so you shouldn’t attempt a battery replacement yourself.

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