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How to fix a Windows 10 laptop that's plugged in but isn't charging

Because one cannot run on battery power alone.

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What do you do if that charger port appears to go bust?

Sarah Tew/CNET

Support for Windows 7 has officially ended, which means it's time to upgrade to Windows 10 to keep that old PC running smoothly and securely.  You can check for issues before installing a Windows 10 update, but even then you still might experience a hiccup. After installing a previous Windows update, for example, my laptop's battery stopped charging. My laptop showed it was plugged in, but then at the same time it would tell me it was also not charging. Argh!

Thankfully, I found that this problem was not uncommon and would occasionally arise after a Windows update. And more thankfully, there was an easy fix. I haven't been able to replicate it since it occurred two years ago, but the Device Manager in Windows 10 hasn't changed since then, so my fix is worth trying if you encounter this problem. Here's how I got my laptop's battery back to charging when it was plugged in.

Read more: 11 easy Windows 10 tricks you didn't know about 

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Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Plugged in, not charging

If your laptop refuses to charge the battery even though it acknowledges that it's plugged in, here's what you need to do:

  • Open the Device Manager by searching for it or right-clicking the Start button and selecting Device Manager.
  • Click Batteries on the list to expand it and you should see two items: Microsoft AC Adapter and Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery.
device-manager-batteries
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET
  • Right-click on each item and choose Uninstall device. Yes, you are uninstalling your laptop's battery drivers, but don't worry because they will automatically be reinstalled when you restart your laptop.
  • Shut down your laptop.
  • Unplug the power cable from your laptop.
  • If your laptop has a removable battery, remove it. My Lenovo laptop does not have a removable battery. I tried skipping this step but it didn't work, so I removed the bottom panel of my laptop and then removed the battery by disconnecting it from the motherboard.
  • Put the battery back in if you removed it.
  • Plug in your laptop.
  • Power on your laptop.
  • Click the battery icon in the system tray and you should see that your laptop is plugged in and charging.
plugged-in-and-charging
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

By reinstalling my Lenovo laptop's battery drivers and disconnecting its battery and then reconnecting it, I got my laptop's battery back to charging when it's plugged in. With differences in manufacturers, your mileage may vary. If you encountered this plugged-in-not-charging problem and found a fix that differs from mine, please describe your method in the comments below.

For more, check out Six security changes all Windows 10 users need to make and Windows 10 update: Everything you need to know.

Read more: 20 pro tips to make Windows 10 work the way you want (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Originally published last year and updated periodically with new information.