Win 7 bug may kill batteries

February 3, 2010 | 10:07

Tags: #acpi #battery #technet #windows-7 #windows-7-acpi

Companies: #microsoft

While Windows 7 has brought many advantages to users of Microsoft's operating systems, extended battery life may not be amongst them - at least according to some users claiming to be affected by a battery-biting bug.

As reported over on - via Engadget - enough users have now complained of serious battery life issues with the latest consumer iteration of Windows that Microsoft has opened an investigation into the reports.

According to threads on Microsoft's TechNet forums, the issue appears to be related to Windows 7's inability to recognise certain battery types and capacities - with the result that users are receiving error messages telling them to "consider replacing your battery" despite there being nothing physically wrong with the device.

Rather more worrying is reports that other users are experiencing a real drop in battery life, rather than just an annoying but ultimately ignorable error message: TechNet poster Guy Gordon reports that the battery in his HP 6810b laptop used to get over two hours of life from a single charge under Windows XP, which dropped to 45 minutes immediately after installing Windows 7 - and has now tailed off to a mere five minutes before the system forcibly shuts down.

Microsoft is continuing to treat the issue as a purely software problem - with Windows failing to correctly determine the remaining charge, the system may well shut down prematurely even when there is power left in the battery. More seriously, Windows will struggle to determine when the laptop battery has had enough mains power to be fully charged - something which should be resolved by charging the laptop while it's powered off, rather than with Windows running. However, Technet users are reporting that the drop in capacity is permanent - with other operating systems, including Ubuntu Linux, reporting massively reduced battery capacity once Windows 7 had been running for a while.

The issue, however, has been ongoing since at least June of last year, and despite workarounds being offered - ranging from disabling the ACPI battery support and using a third-party battery monitoring utility to ensuring that your BIOS is fully up to date - many users are still affected by it. So far, Microsoft appears unable to offer a solution - and is silent regarding numerous requests for replacement batteries from users bitten by the bug.

Any Windows 7 users who've noticed their battery life taking a massive nosedive, or is it a vocal minority who are experiencing an extremely rare bug? Should Microsoft be treating the issue more seriously? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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