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Your Laptop Battery: Caring for It, and When to Replace It

When you own a laptop, you’re able to do basically any computer-related task wherever you are.  At the airport? Easy. At school, or work? No problem. Anywhere you go, anything you do, your laptop makes life easier for you.  However, there’s one little thing that most laptop owners don’t think about:  the life of their laptop battery.

 

Why It’s Important to Think About Your Laptop Battery

 

Sure, it may be something you ask about when you go to buy a laptop.  In a list of “questions to ask before you buy a laptop”, battery life is the seventh best question to ask according to PC World.com.  So it’s safe to say that, at least in the beginning, laptop owners are concerned about their laptop battery.

 

After you own your laptop for a while, it’s easy to let that concern about battery life fade away.  This is a huge problem. At home, you may leave your laptop plugged in 24/7, but on the road, your battery is all that stands between you and a dead laptop.  

A dead or weak laptop battery can interrupt your work, online classes, game time, or video call. The point is, when your battery isn’t keeping your laptop alive, it can negatively impact your laptop’s overall usefulness.

 

Let’s take a look at some common laptop battery life questions and see what our Tech Nav technicians have to say about them.

 

Question 1:  I don’t need to use the battery in my laptop unless I’m on the road, so since it’s home almost all the time, should I leave my laptop plugged in?

 

Answer:  No. This is a common misconception:  The more you charge your battery, the longer it’ll live.

 

What actually happens is a strain on your laptop’s battery that can weaken or completely kill it.  This is true especially for older computers. We’ve seen a lot of older laptops come in with weak or useless batteries – and it’s almost always because they’ve been plugged and left on charge for far longer than they should have been.

 

Newer computers (think 2015 and up) have a built-in Overcharge Protection that helps prevent this from happening, but because batteries may still eventually show wear from overcharging, we recommend taking your computer off charge and letting it use the battery life before plugging it back in.

 

Question 2:  So if I shouldn’t charge it all the time, should I let my laptop die and then plug it back in?

Answer:  While this may seem counterintuitive, the answer to this is also no.  

 

There will always be times where this is inevitable.  For instance, maybe you forgot your charger at home and didn’t charge it fully before you arrived at your destination.  These things happen, so if it does die, there’s no reason to panic about it. In fact, sometimes it’s healthy to do so, as long as it doesn’t become a habit.

 

However, if you consistently let your laptop’s battery die before you recharge it, you may find yourself in a world of lost, damaged, or corrupted files.  It’s best to actually shut your computer down safely, helping to protect both your battery and the data on your laptop.

 

Question 3:  My battery seems to still be working fine, even though I’ve had it for several years.  How often should I change my laptop battery?

Answer:  Every laptop is different, and the way you use your laptop says a lot about its battery life.  

 

Here at Tech Nav, we’ve seen, heard, and read from other trusted tech sites that laptop batteries should be changed every 2 years.  However, others say that if your computer is more than six years old, it needs to be changed right now.

 

The truth is, it depends on how the laptop is utilized in its daily life.  Do you take your laptop to school? Is this a work laptop? Do you use it more for accessing the web, gaming, or for work projects?  All of these things have an impact on battery life, so giving a straight answer is difficult to do. The best time to buy a new laptop battery is when you start to see signs of the battery dying.

 

Question 4:  Now that you mention it, my laptop does behave a little differently than it did when I first bought it.  How do I know if my laptop battery is dying?

Answer:  Take a look at the list below and see if any of the following sounds familiar:

 

My laptop battery runs low faster than normal.

 

My laptop throws up Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) errors.

 

My laptop is performing slowly.

 

My laptop keeps crashing / My laptop keeps freezing up.

 

My laptop only lasts a short amount of time before it dies whenever I take it off the charger.

 

These are all classic signs of a dying battery, especially on older laptops.  Newer laptops with Windows may notice the system actually recommending a new battery, which makes it overall easier to know when it’s time to change it out.

 

Question 5:  Maybe it is time to get a new battery for my laptop.  What kind of laptop battery should I buy?

Answer:  The best option for replacing a dying battery is to go to the manufacturer for a new one.  

 

The manufacturer already knows what’s best for your laptop, and while it may be more expensive than an off-brand laptop battery, it’s best to use the right battery than a wrong one that won’t last as long or may cause damage to your computer.

 

Another benefit of getting your new laptop battery from the manufacturer is that there’s typically a warranty that comes with it, protecting you from any issues the battery may present.

 

Do you have more questions regarding the life of your laptop battery?  Give Tech Nav a call at 865-210-9555 to learn more!

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Clay Moore