Laptops, netbooks and tablets offer the advantage of mobility, but at the cost of reliability, compared to their desktop counterparts. In these devices the first thing that brakes is usually the battery. It’s no wonder that most hardware manufacturers offer a 2 year warranty on the laptop but only one year for the battery.
If you’re experiencing battery problems like slow charging you need to know that these issues are usually on the hardware side but there are also some software solutions you can try. In this article I’m going to list some of the most usual problems, and fixes, you might encounter when charging your Windows 10 notebook, netbook or tablet.
1. Hard reset
Your computer motherboard has a lot of memory chips on it used by various components or to store information regarding hardware status. These memory chips usually keep data stored on them only while they are connected to a power source (battery or charger). If you keep your laptop always connected to a power source then these chips will keep storing the data, data that in time may not reflect the correct current status of the hardware components and will have to be manually reset.
In order to do so you’ll first have to power off your computer. Then disconnect the charger and remove the battery. As you can see this method applies only to machines that have a removable battery. With all the power sources disconnect press and hold the power button for at least 30 seconds. This will completely discharge the capacitors on the motherboard and reset the memory chips I mentioned before.
Now you can reinsert the battery, connect the charger and power on the computer.
2. Update BIOS
Sometimes the charging problems can be BIOS related and when the manufacturers discover these problems they usually release an update, the same way Microsoft does with its Windows updates.
In order to check the BIOS version currently installed on your machine you’ll have to press the Windows/Microsoft + R keys. This will bring up the Run window.
Here you’ll have to type msinfo32 and then press the Enter key or click OK. You’ll then be greeted with the System Information window. In the right pane look for the BIOS Version/Date line and make a note of its’ value.
Now all you have to do is head over to the manufacturers’ support website, look for your machine model and check for the latest BIOS version available. If the version listed on the website is newer than the one currently installed it is advised that you apply the update. You’ll usually find instructions for this process on the same page.
Please follow the instructions exactly as the manufacturer lists them as updating the BIOS is a delicate process and can cause problems if it isn’t done right.
3. Calibrate battery
Irregular battery usage and charging cycles can confuse your system or battery about the charge level stored. This can cause all kind of problems, from slow charging to reporting wrong charging values.
To recalibrate the battery on your Windows 10 machine discharge it completely to the point that your computer doesn’t power on anymore. Now, while it is turned off, connect the charger and leave it to fully charge plus an additional hour or two, just to be sure.
Power on the machine and confirm that the battery is fully charged. Disconnect the charger, leave it to fully discharge again and repeat the charging process above. This will give the battery, and system, the chance to re-learn its limits in order to correctly report the charge level.
4. Check battery
When a battery is new it has a maximum charging capacity, usually printed on it. This maximum capacity slowly decreases in time to the point where it cannot hold a charge anymore and has to be replaced.
A good way to check the current maximum capacity of your battery is by using an application like BatteryInfoView. This small app will display all the information you need to know about your battery, including the factory designed maximum charging level, the current maximum charging level and the wear.
As you can see in the image above, the maximum factory designed charge level on my battery was 55.000 mWh but now the maximum level is 37.140 mWh which means my battery is at 67.5% of its health and I’ll have to replace it soon if this value keeps decreasing.
You can download BatteryInfoView by clicking here.
5. Check charger voltage
The slow charging problem might not related at all to your machine and the charger can be the one to blame. Most electronic equipment use capacitors, which are components designed to store electricity for a small amount of time. Their capacity decreases in time, the same way a battery does, and this can lead to the charger not delivering enough current to your machine.
In order to check this you’ll need a voltage tester or a multimeter connected to the charging pins on your charger cable. If the value displayed is less than the output value printed on the charger then you might need to consider replacing it.
6. Additional information
Some batteries don’t allow charging if the current level is above a certain value, usually 90%. What this means is that the battery won’t charge to 100% unless its level falls under 90%. To check if this is the problem you’re facing let the battery discharge under 50% and then connect the charger and keep it connected until the battery reaches its full capacity.
If the steps above failed to help you solve your slow charging problems please give us more details in the comment section below and we’ll try to help you. Also, if you’re looking for a Windows 10 laptop with a great battery life, here are our recommendations.