Laptops

General discussion

Laptop: Sudden battery failure or something more?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / October 26, 2012 9:41 AM PDT
Laptop: Sudden battery failure or something more?

Dear friends, I have a HP Pavilion DV3 notebook running on Windows 7. It was purchased in December 2009. The battery has been slowly weakening but before it would last at least an hour. About a fortnight back, suddenly the battery has failed to power even for a minute. If the power plug is pulled out, the computer switches off, and does not even provide time to shut down properly. In my experience, battery failure occurs gradually, and not so suddenly. I don't mind replacing the battery. But, I do not know if there is any other problem besides the battery in this notebook. Could there be any other problem besides a weak battery? I would be grateful for any input on this issue, before I proceed to change the battery. In addition to this, if I do get a new battery for my laptop, can you please advise me on some of the best practices of keeping my new battery healthy? These batteries are expensive and I'd like to get the best performance out of it and maximize its life span. Thank you!

--Submitted by: Gururaj B.
Post a reply
Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Laptop: Sudden battery failure or something more?
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Laptop: Sudden battery failure or something more?
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Time to get a new battery
by bbarnard51 / October 26, 2012 11:19 AM PDT

Hi, I purchased my wife a new HP laptop in 2009 and just had the same thing happen this summer... I think it is related to the fact that she keeps it plugged in all the time... so it is always in charge mode.. It also started losing power about a year ago - getting less and less operational time with it until it was slightly less than an hour... then, after she hadn't used it off the power cord for quite a while (4 months or more) I tried to use it and bang - it shut off as soon as I pulled the power cord out... Even though they say there isn't any memory in the Lithium Ion batteries used in today's laptops, I do think, personally, that leaving them plugged in all the time does degrade them. What we have worked out now is that with the new HP battery fully charged, it is replaced with the old battery when the laptop is continually plugged in.. Then if we need it off the power grid, we replace the battery with the new (good) one and after we are done we fully recharge it and replace it with the old one when she is using the laptop as a desktop.. I don't know if this will extend the life of the battery, but it is worth a shot... Even with the Dell's at work, 3-4 years is it for battery life, so it may be something that will reoccur in 3 years... but by that time I'll bet you will be replacing that laptop for something better.. Take care, Bruce

Collapse -
Also..
by JCitizen / November 6, 2012 11:11 PM PST
Collapse -
New battery me thinkith
by LateralNW / October 26, 2012 11:32 AM PDT

Gururaj B.

You noticed battery capacity degrading and then it just drops right off.
In my personal experience with electronics and laptops you will most likely find that one of the battery cells internal to the battery back has completely died.
You might find the battery pack gets quite warm or is as cold as ambient temperature.

Really hot would mean the battery pack has a low resistance and hence draws more current with creates heat as one cell is using it.. the one that is dead. On the other hand you find no temperature rise and this could be because the battery in the pack has gone "open circuit" or if you like infinite resistance so no current gets through.

Either way the battery is done.
You could purchase reconditioned battery replacement.

With the new battery make sure you charge the battery for 16 hours.
Then use the laptop without the external power until the battery goes flat. switch off the power mgmt software and set it to permantely on just for the charging cycles here.
Then recharge it again for 16 hours.
Don't allow this process to be interrupted as it will make a difference to the life of the battery IMO

All the best.

Collapse -
depends on battery: Lithium or older technology!
by dre belgium / November 4, 2012 4:34 PM PST

Newer batteries are Lithium-ion and they don't like a complete discharge. Simply keep them as full as possible; they have no memory effect so you can charge them at any time.
Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd) batteries must be fully discharged and then completely charged. The laptop itself will prevent a too deep discharge.

Collapse -
Laptop: Sudden battery failure or something more?
by DarkStarSafari / October 26, 2012 11:38 AM PDT

Replaced my HP Pavilion Laptop battery and soon discovered the charging circuitry had failed.

Collapse -
u need new battery
by lchien / October 26, 2012 2:18 PM PDT

Your battery was dying and now it's dead. Recyle it, buy a new one.

Collapse -
Time for a new Battery??? - Most Likely Yes.
by High Desert Charlie / October 26, 2012 2:37 PM PDT

Hi Gururaj B.,

Given your problem as you've described it, I'd say definitely that you need a new battery. I can't imagine any other scenario. If your computer is working fine on the AC Adapter, but dies on the battery, you need a new battery.

Laptop batteries, like other lithium rechargeable batteries all have a limited life. How long your battery lasts can depend upon a lot of different factors. How often do you use your laptop? How often do you use your laptop exclusively on battery power? How long is a normal session when using your laptop?

Technology is getting better and better with rechargeable batteries. As new technologies improve, so will the battery life, and your battery lifetime. As it stands now, most lithium ion batteries can be recharged 1,000 times (more or less). Two to three years is about the limit on your laptop battery, regardless of how often you use it.

One thing that will help is to have a spare battery on hand for extended laptop sessions. It's never a good idea to let a lithium ion battery get completely discharged. It could damage the battery permanently. This may be what you experienced with your example.

I've been buying batteries for laptops for quite a long time, and for all different models of laptops. It's been my experience that if you get the battery with the most cells (like a 9 cell battery) for your particular laptop, you'll be just fine. Some laptops come with a 6 cell battery, but you can purchase a 9 cell battery as a replacement. And like I said before, you should have a backup.

Regarding cost, I've found the best pricing on Amazon or Ebay. Just make sure you're getting the right battery for your laptop. The chemical composition for lithium ion batteries is pretty common among all manufacturers. The only differences I've noticed is that some outfits in China Re-manufacture these batteries. Even then, I couldn't say that they would last for a shorter or longer time. They all seem to perform about the same.

Hope this Helps.

Collapse -
disagree
by janitorman / November 2, 2012 4:24 PM PDT

From my experience, Lithium batteries should be nearly fully discharged before charging, unlike NiCad, alkaline, or wet cell batteries.
Continuous partial charging lessens battery life.
Also, unlike wet cell, alkaline, or wet cell batteries, lithium batteries only charge or discharge. If a rapid charge/discharge cycle is in effect, the batteries won't last very long. Typically this can only take place if there is a defective charging control, causing a plugged-in unit to try to operate off the batteries while still plugged in.
I think a battery life of only 3 years is very unusual for this type of battery. They last much longer than that, if only at partial charge, if the charging controls in the unit are OK.

Collapse -
Lithium needs periodic discharge to fully recharge reliably
by ColdWest / November 3, 2012 6:00 PM PDT
In reply to: disagree
janitorman has it right - when NiCad was in use, it would die prematurely if totally discharged too often, and partial recharges shortened their charge's useful time. Not so with Lithium, it is more reliable and should be totally discharged periodically to extend its life, while partial discharge and recharge should not affect its longevity as far as we have ever been informed. Defective chargers of course are trouble and should be repaired/replaced ASAP, also beware of the risk of fire in some defective units.
Collapse -
Lithium should never be totally discharged..
by JCitizen / November 6, 2012 11:25 PM PST

that just goes against science and chemistry....sorry! The only advantage to at least once in a blue moon to lowering the charge of a modern lithium battery for laptops, is to reset the "fuel" meter inside the battery. But this should immediately be followed by a full charge.

Don't take my word for it - go to batteryuniversity.com to see the straight poop. This site has been online for ever!!!

Collapse -
Laptop battery failure
by kingsley-lewis / October 26, 2012 5:57 PM PDT

What has happened is you have tripped the battery protection circuit inside the battery, sometimes called the suicide chip. Lithium polymer cells will explode or catch fire if they are over charged or discharged at to high a rate they can also do this if discharged to low as they will try to take too high a current on recharge, so the manufacturers of the batteries put the protection circuitry in place, if your battery was failing and got past a certain point this chip will have detected this and switched the battery off charge it will do this even if the problem is just one cell in the pack as all the cells are monitored individually. Its time for a new battery I am afraid as the old one is now beyond resurrection except by a specialist company that rebuilds them.

Collapse -
Battery Failure
by maisto6327 / October 26, 2012 7:17 PM PDT

Normally, a laptop battery last for 1 to 2 years. After that time duration your battery will worn out and die. You can test your laptop plugged in without the battery. If the problem is still there, please go and visit the nearest service center. Laptop batteries are maintenance free. But to keep yourself in the safe side. Always remove the charger if its fully charged. Good luck!

FujitsuTech

Collapse -
I keep my Laptops plugged in at all times.
by bigbear639 / November 5, 2012 8:24 AM PST
In reply to: Battery Failure

I only unplug my Notebooks or Tablets when I need to move them. In 12 years I have only suffered two incdents of battery failure. One a Toshiba about 6 yrears ago.
The latest incident was about 3 months ago when I noticed that the blue battery light was constantly red on my Acer 18.4" Notebook. I did as I had done with my Toshiba in case those instructions might work. Nope.

The Notebook would start up and shut down almost immediately. I usually have a spare battery available, but they were almost $100 - $150.00. I searched and found the battery available from one seller who happened to be in Canada and shipped out of Washington State, US. I ordered one and then after I paid for shippig it was about $39.00 OEM's. I was informed it would take about 10 days.

I found another seller from the same area and free shipping using FedEx. The cost was about $3.00 more than the first and arrived in three days. I charged it up and was able to reconnect my Notebook. (Unlike most this one woud not work plugged with a dead battery or without one).

When the second arrived I charged it up also and put the first away as a spare.

Use www.froogle.com and search for the battery you need. rather than from a retailer in your area or from the manufacturer.

Collapse -
Always Check The Manufacturer's Website For Tips
by ajtrek / October 26, 2012 10:23 PM PDT

Hi Gururaj

First let me thank you for providing a Good description of your laptop as opposed to just saying..."my HP laptop" or as some might say...."my laptop's battery"... etc, etc. Well Done!

Now to your problem....sorry to hear that the battery for your HP Pavilion DV3 laptop is experiencing charging issues. Anytime I have an issue with my products I always check the manufacturers website for article support relating to my problem and/or the resident community forum similar to this CNET forum.

I Googled..."HP Pavilion DV3 Laptop Battery" and obtained the following link:

http://h18021.www1.hp.com/helpandsupport/hp-support-assistant.html

Use the following link to download the HP Support Assistant Tool to Calibrate and Test Battery.

The site is administered by HP Technical Support. It has information specific to your issue (and model) on how to troubleshoot the following (that I think you'll find very useful):

-Battery
-System Board
-Power Supply
-Calibrate and Test the Battery


The above link may or may not solve your issue...but IMO it's a good starting point.

Coming to this forum to seek advice is a great idea. Posting questions gives everyone an opportunity to learn (I know I've learned a lot) share information and their experiences. However, sometimes knowing where to look can be just as useful as knowing the answer.

So...my humble advice is to always exhaust the immediate resources available to you....like the manufacturers website. It may save you some time by getting your issue resolved quickly versus waiting for a viable answer to appear in an excellent community forum like this one. Kudos' to Lee Koo and the members who participate! High Desert Charlie offered some additional advice that I think you will find useful.

Good luck Gururaj, I hope you resolve your issue quickly so you can get back to enjoying your HP Pavilion DV3 Cool .

Together Everyone Achieves More

Note: This post was edited by its original author To fix link and merge 2nd post into original on 11/02/2012 at 1:09 PM PT

Collapse -
Good piece of advise!
by gururajbn / November 2, 2012 2:23 PM PDT

That is a good one! Checking manufacturer's website for support. I shall certainly remember that.

Collapse -
Kudos
by ColdWest / November 3, 2012 6:08 PM PDT

A very positive well-presented recommendation - we would all do well to remember to check our SOURCES in more than this.

Collapse -
New Battery needed, I think
by Zouch / October 26, 2012 11:38 PM PDT

I've had some batteries behave in this fashion. Modtly, they die gracefully, untl they run only a few minutes but occasionally, I've had one that has died suddenly. I've investigated one or two that I was able to get into and what I found was that one of the cells had shorted out completely and the decomposing chemical mixture contaminated the contacts. NOTE I do NOT recommend you start taking batteries apart unless you know what you are doing, The chemicals can irritate the skin or in the worst case with a lithium battery, it may catch fire!

I've even had batteries shorted out so badly that the laptop would not even power up with the charger plugged in until the battery was removed.

As another posted has already noted, HP likely have a battery test utility that you could try - on my IBM Thinkpads, the Lenovo Thinkvantage Toolbox (free download but only for IBM/:Lenovo) has a whole set of tools available, including the battery checkout set.

As far as replacements go, the manufacturer's Field Replaceable Unit is the safest bet but I've had success with third party replacements from China. I've used DinoDirect but be VERY CAREFUL that you check the replacement FRU is compatible with your machine - they are general retailers, not technology specialists. Delivery is free worldwide but is weeks rather than days.

Good luck!

Collapse -
Persistent known causes
by Willy / October 27, 2012 2:06 AM PDT

Batteries don't last forever, but they should graually lessen the return of charges as they take more charges, etc. and then drain sooner. So, a new battery after 18mo-2yrs. is a good purchase for many, regardless if it still holds a charge. Quality does matter, cheap is cheap.

Next, outside of any s/w glitches or vendor issues, some laptops do fail because they simply operate at higher temps. These in turn cause int. damage to include any charging ckt. or similar and the brains behinds smart(from mtrbd.) battery status upkeep. Some laptops do have s/w that helps maintain a battery in some way, if an update or improper one was done, then return to date(restore feature) when it didn't cause issues.

Last, some batteries weren't made good from day 1. There are known battery recalls, so visit the maker's support website and see if yours falls into such. Weak battery, well that maybe due to manufactring issues but at the same time, an actual AC charging adapter is at fault. Improper unplugging(man handling) will break the wire or int. solder connection and lead to less than desired leads. As time goes by it gets worse or flat out fails due to breakage, shorts, overheats periods and then fails because its always charging to include the int. laptop charging ckt..

tada -----Willy Happy

Collapse -
Likely Internal Battery Short
by wwgorman / October 27, 2012 7:00 PM PDT

This is a serious problem which might cause mother board problems. That is what happened to me. Your solution is to get a new battery.

All batteries have a finite life. The worst way to treat a battery is to have the charger plugged into it all the time. In a matter of months the battery will hold a charge for only about 5 minutes of usage for your computer only (nothing else plugged in). The best way to treat a battery is to operate it between 90% and 10% charge. This takes diligence and planning. For my traveling computer I carry 3 batteries and I know I can get about 2+ hours out of each so a long flight, say Boston to LA, I can work the entire time by just shutting down and changing batteries. Eventually all passenger airplanes will have charging capability but those are very rare at the moment (I haven't seen one yet).

Collapse -
Laptop Battery
by waytron / October 28, 2012 12:45 AM PDT

You are correct in that normally a rechargeable battery will just slowly deteriorate leaving you with diminishing runtimes, however most battery packs now have protection circuits inside to prevent overheating and other problems. Remember the reports of all the laptops that were bursting into flames a few years ago? This forced manufactures into producing smarter batteries that protect themselves from overcharging and overheating. Your battery may have a shorted cell which would trigger the protection circuitry resulting in effectively disconnecting the battery. However, it is also possible that your battery is not the real problem and it is the charging circuitry inside the laptop that has failed. There is really no way that the average user can test this other than simply replacing the battery to see if that solves the problem. So you really have only 5 options:

1. Purchase a new battery and try it.
2. Borrow a battery from a friend who has the exact same model HP.
3. Take it into your local computer repair shop and have them check it out.
4. Simply decide to never use the laptop on battery again (using it plugged in only).
5. Give up and purchase a brand new laptop.

LAPTOP BATTERIES
On the subject of laptop batteries, the average rechargeable laptop battery will last about 2 to 3 years and are often rated for about 500 to 1000 charge/discharge cycles. However, this is dependent on a number of factors including:

The Type and initial quality of the battery? - For example, Apple is known for using high quality batteries in their products and you can usually expect about 5 years from them. Look at the batteries now used in hybrid and electric cars that typically last 10 years or more.

The Quality level of sophistication of the actual charging circuit? - A good charging circuit will be designed to best match the battery specifications and not charge it too quickly or overcharge the battery if left plugged in all the time. Some charging circuits can actually prolong the battery life if designed correctly.

Temperature where the battery is used? - Both extremes in heat and cold can effect battery life and run times.

How the battery is actually used and how often? - The way that you use your battery powered equipment can affect the overall life of the battery. Some batteries like to be exercised by totally discharging them occasionally. Others do not do so well being totally discharged but rather prefer to only be discharged to about 40% before recharging. In some cases, leaving the laptop plugged in all the time and rarely using it on battery can reduce its life.

HOW TO GET A NEW BATTERY?
You have several choices for purchasing a new battery. The Original Manufacturer, a Retail store or online 3rd party supplier. Getting a replacement battery from the original manufacturer such as HP, Sony or Dell can be very expensive(often more that $150) as can a retail store and if your laptop is already 3 years old, the hard drive is probably due to fail soon so I would not recommend forking out the full price from the manufacturer. Instead I would recommend ordering the battery from a 3rd party supplier on Amazon or ebay. Note: The 3rd party battery may not be as good a quality as the original OEM battery (actually in a few cases I have found them to be better) but the price is certainly much better and unless you plan to replace the hard drive and keep the laptop for many more years I would not pay the extra. Note: If you have a choice of a 6 cell or a 9 cell battery and you are interested in longer battery run time, go for the 9 cell.

If you want to check the price from HP use this link. You will need the exact model number of your laptop or the actual part number on the battery http://h20141.www2.hp.com/Hpparts/part_search.aspx?mscssid=E67F97317E3C48ECB8ADDD80345811A5&NoMatch=true

If you want to go with the aftermarket battery, you can get one for about $40 on Amazon or from some other suppliers such as http://www.battdepot.com. I have had really good luck with batteries from Amazon.


Dana
Wayland Computer

Collapse -
Excellent post
by Mindstyle06 / November 2, 2012 9:23 PM PDT
In reply to: Laptop Battery

Your post is excellent loaded with information.

1. Type of initial battery - Is there any way for a consumer to figure out if the battery used in the laptop is good enough before purchasing one? I have had good experience with Dell Studio and Acer Aspire batteries but Toshiba Satellite battery has been pathetic.

2. How the battery used and how often - You said, some prefer complete discharge and others don't. How should a user figure out if the battery installed in the laptop prefers complete or partial discharge. Most of the time user manuals are decently pathetic.

3. Getting a new battery - I am definitely not in favor of forking our $100 upwards for a new battery, instead I would just buy a new machine but if I want to put some extra life in the laptop, which other battery manufacturers/websites apart from battdepot do you recommend. Google gives you just tons of results and there is no way to figure out which ones are good and which ones are just from a slum in China.

Also in the post you mentioned, 3 years of laptop life and the HDD could be up for fail. Agreed you are a computer specialist but from a user point of view, I beg to differ. Luckily, I have never had a HDD failing on me. At the same time, I do use laptops with a great care. I do not intend to start argument, who is right. I would like to know, apart from clicking noise, bad sectors etc, is there any utility that will keep an eye on HDD functioning so that before it just crashes one morning, you get a warning. I do back up once a week, still nobody likes their HDD failing on them.

Thank you again for a great post.

Collapse -
Response
by waytron / November 3, 2012 10:13 PM PDT
In reply to: Excellent post

Thank you for your comments. I always appreciate any response (good or bad) from the readers of these posts. I apologize in advance for not being very quick at responding sometimes but I only work on these in my spare time, which I don't have a whole lot of. Let me see if I can answer some of your questions:

1. Type of initial battery - Is there any way for a consumer to figure out if the battery used in the laptop is good enough before purchasing one? I have had good experience with Dell Studio and Acer Aspire batteries but Toshiba Satellite battery has been pathetic. ANSWER: I do not know of any way to determine if a specific laptop comes with a quality battery or not and since the charging circuit can also contribute to the overall life of the battery, you are really at the mercy of the luck of the draw. Computer models change too quickly and manufactures change battery suppliers making it almost impossible to even review computers for this 2 or 3 years down the road. It would not matter anyway because by the time you decide that one model has a great life, they don't make it anymore.

2. How the battery used and how often - You said, some prefer complete discharge and others don't. How should a user figure out if the battery installed in the laptop prefers complete or partial discharge. Most of the time user manuals are decently pathetic. ANSWER: I wish I had a really good answer to this. All of the batteries in laptops today are Lithium Ion and I have seen so many conflicting reports as to how to prolong their life. I am not a battery expert and maybe someone can join the conversation who is? In my opinion, I think it has more to do with the quality of the battery and the charging circuit. Look at the batteries in hybrid cars now that are guaranteed for 10 years.

3. Getting a new battery - I am definitely not in favor of forking our $100 upwards for a new battery, instead I would just buy a new machine but if I want to put some extra life in the laptop, which other battery manufacturers/websites apart from battdepot do you recommend. Google gives you just tons of results and there is no way to figure out which ones are good and which ones are just from a slum in China. ANSWER: Unfortunately, not only are most of the computers made in China but most of the batteries are made there too. Some have battery cells made in Korea or Japan but assembled elsewhere. I have purchased batteries from dozens of suppliers over the years and have no real preference other than using Amazon to make the purchase.

Also in the post you mentioned, 3 years of laptop life and the HDD could be up for fail. Agreed you are a computer specialist but from a user point of view, I beg to differ. Luckily, I have never had a HDD failing on me. At the same time, I do use laptops with a great care. I do not intend to start argument, who is right. I would like to know, apart from clicking noise, bad sectors etc, is there any utility that will keep an eye on HDD functioning so that before it just crashes one morning, you get a warning. I do back up once a week, still nobody likes their HDD failing on them.
ANSWER PART A: Again using the automobile as an example, you can have a car last 250,000 miles or have one that is ready for the junk yard at 100,000. The same is true of hard drives, I have plenty of drives that are still working away at 10 years, but I see far more that fail after only 2 or 3 years. Hard drive manufacturer have reduced their Warranties to 1, 2 and 3 years depending on the model. How often have you seen an extended warranty on a laptop that is greater than 3 years? This is for a reason? The life of a hard drive is dependent on so many factors:
1. The initial quality of the drive? - There are many different model drives, some are designed to last longer from the start.
2. How much use the computer gets? The hard drive may last a lot longer for someone who only uses their computer for an hour per day vs. someone who uses their computer all day long.
3. The type of use A? - For example: someone who is streaming music or video constantly is working the hard drive a lot harder than someone who is just using the computer to read their emails and write a few word documents.
4. Type of Use B - A hard drive in a laptop that is mobile is a lot more likely to fail than one that just sits on a desk. Real Road warriors that use their laptop while traveling are much more likely to have early drive failures.
5. Accidents - Hard drive are very sensitive to shock and vibration, especially while turned on. Sometimes all it takes is to trip over the power cord bringing the laptop crashing to the floor or slamming the lid down a little too hard. I can't begin to tell you how many kids have crashed the hard drive on their laptop by slamming the lid closed when their parents are yelling at them about spending too much time on the computer.
6. Power Settings - There are a series of power settings for every computer that dictate when the screen saver comes on, when the computer goes into sleep mode and when the hard drive shuts down. If you leave your computer on 24 hours a day and never shut down the hard drive even when you are not using it, this could shorten the life of the drive. However, there has always been controversy over whether a drive will last longer if left on all the time or turned on and off as needed.
7. Excess heat - Heat is a great killer of laptops and hard drives. Using a laptop on the rug, on the bed or even on your lap can block the cooling vents thus overheating the laptop which can shorten the overall life. Users that keep their laptop on the hard surface such as a desk or even use a laptop cooler will often experience longer life from their computer.
8. Did it really fail - Not all reported hard drive failures are actual failed drives. A large number are not failures of the drive at all but rather data corruption of one kind or another. A failed update, sudden power loss or damage due to a virus can corrupt the data on the drive making it look \like the drive has failed.

All I can go by is looking at the average of the more than 1000 service call that I make per year and what I am seeing for failures. Hard drives are being worked harder and harder each year with greater use due to music and video as well as daily virus scans and updates. More and more kids have their own laptops who are not so easy on their equipment and I don't think the hard drives are made as well as they once were. If your computer is an important part of your life and the information is equally important than I would recommend either replacing the computer every 3 years or replacing the hard drive as a part of a routine maintenance program. Do you wait to have a blowout before replacing the tires on your car? Don't forget that backing up your data is just as critical whether your hard drive is a week old or 5 years old because a hard drive can fail at any time.

ANSWER PART B: If there were a single test that would tell you exactly when your hard drive was going to fail, every computer in the world would have that pre installed. Without getting into the newer SSD (Solid State Drives), all traditional hard drives are electromechanical devices and can fail in many ways. It would be similar to predicting when your car is going to break down. You can run all kinds of tests and occasionally you might receive a hint that something is going wrong, but you will not know exactly when it is going to breakdown. The same is true of a traditional hard drive. You might get some early warning signs like increased noise coming from the drive or a general slowing down of your computer, or occasionally you might even get an error message indication that there is a problem reading or writing to the hard drive. But for the most part, there is no single absolute indicator of a pending failure. I have had hard drives that started making all kinds of noise such as a loud whining that have continued to operate for another year or two. Having said that, there are some tests that can warn you of some types of problems, but they only cover 1 or 2 possible modes of failure. Some computers will track the S.M.A.R.T. data and report errors to you which could indicate a pending failure. If your computer does not track this, then you can track this using software such as Active Smart or HDD Health. Again this is only one of many indicators and a drive that is show no problems in this area can still fail tomorrow.

Collapse -
Quick Follow up
by waytron / November 4, 2012 6:30 AM PST
In reply to: Response

Well, just 30 minutes ago, the hard drive in the laptop that I was using to write my last post completely up and died. I was responding to an email and it suddenly went to a Blue Screen Error. I rebooted and received an error stating that there was no boot drive. I pulled the hard drive and connected it to my bench computer for evaluation and it is completely dead. This was a new hard drive exactly 23 months ago with a fresh install of Windows XP. Just goes to show you, a hard drive can fail at any moment with no warning of any kind. If I did not have extensive backups, all of my data would be lost.

Collapse -
Thank you
by Mindstyle06 / November 4, 2012 5:23 PM PST
In reply to: Response

Thank you for writing such detailed post. Very informative, useful and certainly much appreciated.

Collapse -
Slowly dying and is now dead
by netsiu / October 28, 2012 1:43 AM PDT

Well Gururaj, batteries have a certain volt/amperage output and though voltage stays the same the amperage lessons with age. Best way I think to describe it is to think of the laptop battery having a bunch of cells. Each cell puts out the same voltage but only 1 amp. Lets say that the battery has 50 cells with a potential of 50 amps. The computer only needs 8 amps to run so that as cells die less amperage is available until all but 7 cells die then the computer will no longer turn on.

Collapse -
Notebook battery
by jallisy / October 28, 2012 4:21 AM PDT
Collapse -
Sudden battery failure or something more?
by onionson / October 28, 2012 6:08 AM PDT

I can't help with the why it failed but I have an HP and am aware of a long standing battery recall program. Go there to have your battery checked out and if lucky you might get a free one! Your date of purchase falls within their problem dates. Here is a link to their recall program :

http://bpr.hpordercenter.com/hbpr/

When I got my first laptop I looked into prolonging the battery life. The rules are the same for many things in life! Stay away from the extremes and live in the "sweet spot" like with racquets. With a lithium ion battery there is no memory problem to worry about. It does discharge slowly when not used. It degrades when you charge it, use it or just store it too. If you charge it fast it degrades fast and if you charge it slowly it will degrade slowly. Thats why AA chargers that are rated at 2 hours might say they will recharge batteries 200-300 times while the slower 10 - 15 hour chargers can claim 1000+ charges out of the same batteries. These batteries also degrade faster when they are holding a full charge and when they have almost no charge - the extremes. The chemicals remain most stable and experience the least decay when they are holding 50-70% of a full charge so here is what I do. Since I use my laptop in the same place most of the time and since it might be days or weeks before I need it mobile, I charge my battery up to 65-70% then remove it and use just the power cord. When going mobile I slip the battery in and charge it up tp 100% and or take the cord with me. My dv6000 is almost 6 years old, came with the optional 12 cell 4.5 hour battery and I can still get almost 3 hours when charged to 100%. When I go longer than a month or two without using the battery I'll put it in, check the charge % and either charge it up to 60-70% or just take it back out for a few weeks. I try not to let the stored charge drop below 30% before bumping it back up to the high 60s for storage time. If you just leave the laptop plugged in with the battery in place it will charge to 100%, stop charging, go down to 99% from being used or stored, then start charging to 100%. Your battery basically has a maximum number of hours of recharge time it can take depending on how its lived life. I have a second HP charger rated at 90 watts. It came with a 65 watt. I try to use the 90 watt charger only when i'm in a hurry for a charge or when there is no battery in the laptop because I know it degrades the chemicals faster than the 65 watt charger! It did not really "pay" to buy the second charger, it was a convienience thing! Hope this helps..

Collapse -
Buy a new battery
by bobbloke / November 2, 2012 12:13 PM PDT

Buy a new battery on Ebay, the shelf life is 2 years.

Collapse -
Yes, battery failure can be sudden
by Anysia / November 2, 2012 12:26 PM PDT

Over the course of 10+ yrs, I've had sudden battery failure happen with a phone, two laptops and one netbook. I had one laptop where after almost 4 years of use, the battery wouldn't get to full charge, then stop half way, then 1/4. These are all within the norms.

Most newer laptops have built in feature of once the battery is 100% charged, it won't keep charging even if it remains plugged in. I suggest you read manual as to whether your specific laptop has that feature.

Collapse -
Change brands
by momofmaxx / November 2, 2012 1:06 PM PDT

Clearly, you need to switch brands of computers. It's an HP and that right there is the very first problem. HP is just not a smart buy anymore. There was a class action against HP a few years ago about the nvidia part that runs the monitors especially laptop screens. A lot of folks either got a refund,had their laptops fixed, or recieved a new one. Unfortunately for me, I had no idea this was happening to others. I missed the deadline,that I knew nothing about, so I ended up spending tons of money trying to get it fixed. That turned out to be useless.
I tossed it out the window, literally, and bought a new one. Not an HP!
So if you are having battery issues or any issues, if its an HP, get rid of it!!!!

Popular Forums
icon
Computer Help 47,885 discussions
icon
Computer Newbies 10,322 discussions
icon
iPhones, iPods, & iPads 3,188 discussions
icon
Security 30,333 discussions
icon
TVs & Home Theaters 20,177 discussions
icon
HDTV Picture Setting 1,932 discussions
icon
Phones 15,713 discussions
icon
Windows 7 6,210 discussions
icon
Networking & Wireless 14,510 discussions

Tech Tip

Tired of your tricky Wi-Fi password?

Stop trying to memorize a complicated sequence of numbers and letters. Learn how to change the default password.