Microsoft claims its engineers have been exploring complaints of poor battery life for some laptops running Windows 7, and that in every case the operating system is not at fault. Instead, Windows 7 had correctly evaluated via a new feature that those users' batteries were failing, Microsoft said in a Feb. 8 blog posting. However, posts on Microsoft Watch, TechNet and other discussion forums seem to suggest that at least a percentage of users experiencing these issues also had batteries that were either new or nearly new, which in turn is raising further questions.
Microsoft's engineers have been exploring the alleged battery-life issues
associated with Windows 7 running on laptops, and report that the operating
system is not causing those batteries to prematurely fail. In every case,
claimed an official Microsoft blog posting on Feb. 8, Windows 7 correctly
evaluated that the battery in question was on the threshold was failing, and
posted a message to that effect.
However, this contrasts with the experiences of certain online commenters,
who have claimed to experience power issues even with new or nearly new laptop
"Every single indication we have regarding the reports we've seen are
simply Windows 7 reporting the state of the battery using this new feature and
we're simply seeing batteries that are not performing above the designated
threshold," read that Feb. 8 posting on the Engineering
Windows 7 blog.
"It should stand to reason that some customers would
be surprised to see this warning after upgrading a PC that was previously
operating fine. Essentially the battery was degrading but it was not evident to
the customer until Windows 7 made this information available."
Apparently, Windows 7 monitors the integrity of the laptop's battery and
sets a threshold of 60 percent degradation for displaying the "change
battery" warning, a new feature to the Windows franchise. Microsoft
asserted it has been unable to "identify ... reproducible cases" where
new or nearly new batteries spontaneously failed while powering laptops with
Windows 7, a
situation reported by some readers of Microsoft Watch.
Microsoft had announced at several points over the last week that it was
investigating those users' complaints associated with the battery life of laptops
running Windows 7, which seemed primarily to affect the systems of users
upgrading to Windows 7 from either Windows Vista or Windows XP. In some cases,
it seemed as if the upgrade shortened their device's battery life to as short
as 15 minutes.
"Microsoft has been made aware that some computers running Windows 7
receive a warning that the battery needs to be replaced when the battery is new
or in good health," a Microsoft spokesperson told eWEEK in a Feb. 3
e-mail. "In conjunction with our hardware partners, we are investigating
The Feb. 8 posting on the Engineering Windows 7 blog suggested that OEM
engineers had concurred with Microsoft on the issue: "Our OEM partners
have utilized their telemetry (call center, support forums, etc.) and have let
us know that they are seeing no activity beyond what they expect. It is worth
noting that PC manufacturers work through battery issues with customers and
have a clear view of what is to be expected both in general and with respect to
specific models, timelines and batteries."
However, eWEEK's separate conversations with OEMs made it seem as if the
investigation was still ongoing.
"Some of our customers running Windows 7 have reported different
battery run times depending on their model, usage, PC settings and more,"
a Lenovo spokesperson told eWEEK in a Feb. 8 e-mail. "We are working with
Microsoft to investigate this."
On the Microsoft Watch discussion forum, a commenter claiming to be from the
Microsoft Windows Client Team wrote in a Feb. 8 posting that the battery-life
issue "appears to be related to system firmware." That post came
hours before Microsoft's official blog posting.