Users Tell of Their Battery Woes

By Nicholas Kolakowski  |  Posted 2010-02-08 Print this article Print


The Windows 7-related battery criticism extends back to June on the TechNet forum, with the issue apparently occurring on a number of laptop models. On the Microsoft Watch blog, a number of readers have complained about how the issue affected them.

"Upgrading to Windows 7 my 6-cell battery that used to last about 2 hours when unplugged when I had Vista now lasts less than 10 minutes," wrote one poster on Feb. 5.

"After I upgraded my Toshiba Satellite P-305 from Vista to Windows 7, my battery life went down to about 25 minutes, and asked me to replace my battery," wrote another on the same date. "I bought a 9-cell replacement battery but the message persists and the new battery will not hold a charge."

"Got my Acer notebook 5 month ago and updated it to Windows 7 Home Premium from Windows Vista. Now with Windows 7, my notebook battery can only last about 40 min even with Acer Powersmart on instead of 3 hours in Windows Vista with Acer Powersmart on," wrote another poster on Feb. 6.

According to Microsoft's Feb. 8 blog posting, mainstream laptop batteries' warranties generally extend about 12 months, "which is about the length of time when statistically we expect to see noticeable degradation." Some of the commenters' laptops fall well within the theoretically "safe" part of that 12-month window.

Given that Microsoft recently announced some 60 million Windows 7 licenses had been sold since the operating system's release Oct. 22, the percentage of users experiencing this battery-life issue is by all indications relatively small; Microsoft claims to have received 12 incident reports through its own channels, plus another eight through "various forums," all of which apparently showed "degraded batteries." A few commenters on Microsoft Watch and other forums have also made a point of saying they experienced no such battery issues when upgrading.

"I've got a pre-release candidate of Windows 7 running," wrote one poster on the Microsoft Watch forum, "and my battery life seems to have improved since I used Vista."

Some commenters on TechNet suggested that the battery-life issues could be related to a buggy driver, something that Microsoft's engineering team attempted to dispel in its Feb. 8 blog posting: "While the information regarding battery status is provided read-only to the operating system through ACPI, we performed a thorough code-review and verified that there exists no code that is capable of modifying battery status information."

Those experiencing power issues with Windows 7 despite a new battery are encouraged to reach out to the engineering team either through the TechNet forum, via the Engineering Windows 7 blog or else the Microsoft Answers Forum


Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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