How to Recalibrate Your Laptop Battery

How to Recalibrate Your Laptop Battery

You checked your computer and Windows said you have 40 percent battery power left, but it died on you. What just happened?

No matter how well you treat your laptop battery, its capacity will diminish eventually. No matter how top of the line your computer was at the time you purchased it, its built-in power meter can sometimes give you incorrect estimates as to how much battery life you have left.

Even if you let your battery discharge a little bit before plugging it back in, it might not always help to extend battery life. What tends to happen is that it tends to confuse the battery meter. Unavoidable factors such as age, heat and typical usage will decrease its capacity.

Manufacturers generally recommend calibrating the battery every two to t three months. This helps keep your battery readings accurate. You may need to do it sooner if your laptop dies on you without any previous warnings.

While your computer may have a preinstalled app for you to use, it is always helpful to understand how to do so manually. Below are some easy steps to get your battery recalibrated in no time.

Top Up Your Battery

You need to top up your battery first, so plug in your laptop and let the battery charge. When it’s at 100%, leave the laptop plugged in for a few hours so the battery has a chance to cool because heat can give you inaccurate results.

Set Up Battery

Set a balanced battery plan.

Find “Power Options” in Windows (you can search for it in the search bar in the start menu or by right-clicking on the charging icon in the taskbar) and select Balanced. Then click on “edit plan settings” and jot down what each of the boxes under “on battery” is set as. Change them all to “never,” then “change advanced power settings.”

Set Up Hibernation Point

Power Options in Windows.

You want the battery to work as long as it possibly can. To do so, find “battery” in “power options” and make sure it is on “hibernate.” Then, check “low battery action” and ensure that all options are set to “nothing.” Under “critical battery level,” choose 5 percent.

Let Your Battery Drain Then Recharge

Amount of battery power left.

Once you’ve clicked in “power options,” select “save changes” under the “plan settings” window. Now you can discharge your battery by unplugging your laptop. Go ahead and use it as you normally would, or leave it on to discharge. If you’ve set everything up correctly, your laptop will hibernate at the lowest level you have set your battery at. Your screen won’t turn off, and it shouldn’t enter sleep mode.

Now all you need to do is wait before charging it back to 100%. Usually this takes at least 5 hours, or you can even leave your laptop overnight. You can still use your laptop as you normally would.

Revert Settings

Change your battery settings back to original plan.

Once you’ve completed the previous step, go ahead and change your settings back to the way they were before. You might consider switching off the screen sooner or even get your computer to sleep after ten minutes to help you conserve power. But this is all up to you and your preferences.

Conclusion

Even if it took many hours (even up to a day), your laptop now can tell what the capacity of your battery is.  Over time, though, you might find that you need to repeat the process again, especially if your computer dies on you without warning, or you don’t think you’re getting an accurate reading.

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4 comments

  1. So, does this work the same for Linux? Drain battery completely, then recharge?

    1. yes…I am an Arch Linux user and I do this about once every month and a half (I’ve got a REALLY old battery) just make sure you set up your power manager to NOT suspend at all, and NOT hibernate until it gets to 5 percent, just as the article says. Make sure you do not recharge right away….let the battery rest for about 5 hours, then recharge….as the article states, you can use the laptop during this time, but do not unplug the charger for a couple of hours after it completely charges. This gives the battery time to cool down, which is important to the process. If you don’t let it cool, all that waiting will have been for nothing. So don’t start this task unless you can commit at least a day (overnight) and a half. I don’t use a power manager, so what I do is let it run all the way until it dies, then I begin the process. I use a copy on write file system so that there’s no danger of file corruption.

  2. Does this work for xp, because I don’t like being mainstream.

  3. We make an application for the Mac called FruitJuice that helps you, in real time, to manage your battery according to Apple guidelines. http://fruitjuiceapp.com

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