Laptop computers and failing batteries

We have a laptop that’s about three years old and the battery is starting to fail. When plugged in, does a laptop still require a functioning battery or can we continue to use it even if the battery is completely dead?

Generally you can use a laptop without a working battery. Most laptops with removable batteries will function without a battery installed as long as they are plugged in. But I won’t guarantee that’s true for every laptop.

What model is it?

It’s an HP Pavilion (I can’t easily find a label indicating what kind of Pavilion it is though).

There were a lot of different Pavilion models, so I’m still going with “very likely”. Does it have a removable battery? Easy enough to test if it does.

The battery is easily removable

My wife’s Surface Pro certainly died along with its battery. Sadly, replacing the battery requires a level of expertise that I don’t have so I sold it to someone who did.

As to why the battery failed, the consensus was that it was down to my DW’s habit of leaving it on charge 24/7.

Hey Bob 2:

  1. You can’t service Surfaces. They’re made to be in one piece.
  2. Surfaces have a high battery and screen failure rate. As a company, we made an effort to move over from laptops to Surfaces, as they were more convenient for our users in their situations. However, (A) they have about a 15% failure rate within one year, and even higher in year 2 or 3. (B) The batteries will swell up and break the unit in about 10% of the cases, and (C) A hefty percentage die in Year 3. These issues made it financially unworthy for our company, as we use the 5-year replacement model. Suddenly having to shell out an unplanned $120K in replacing computers just didn’t swing.
  3. Leaving it plugged in 24/7 in no way contributed to the failure of the unit. That’s a myth.

Sorry to hijack, but I don’t believe in placing blame where its not the person’s fault.

Maybe not the total cause, and yes the failure rate is unacceptably high, but it is not a good thing to do with any laptop.

The guy who bought it from me claimed that he was able to open it up and replace the battery - not easy but it can be done.

I thought some of mine failed because I left the charger plugged in. Replacement batteries seen to fail rather quickly.

So, if you remove the battery and plug in the computer, does it work?

Laptops will work without the battery installed, though some will not run at full speed. In Windows 10, you can open the Task Manager and look at the CPU clock speed in the Performance tab and see if there is a difference between the max CPU speed under a load with and without a battery. On Windows 7 you will need a separate utility to see the current clock speed. There’s no issue with leaving a failing battery installed, if for nothing else so the system sees a battery and doesn’t clock down.

Is it true that leaving a laptop plugged in all the tiime is bad for the battery? Other posters in this thread seem to take this as a given. But, you’re the tech wizard I trust.

Thanks. The answer is technically yes, but IMO this, like most other battery life questions, comes down to the practical issue of trying to micromanage your battery charging and use outweighing any hypothetical battery lifespan gain. Some laptops have battery lifespan maximization modes that stop charging around 80%, but also the power management controller does a lot on its own that effectively makes it not worth worrying about for most people. And to the extent it does appreciably shorten battery life, it affects people who day-in day-out stay plugged in for the laptop’s entire multi-year lifespan wherein the battery might as well not be there at all.

I took the battery out of my pavillion and had no problems. I originally opened it up to replace the mouse and noticed the battery was blown up like a balloon. While I have a new computer now, that one continued to work (and still does work) so long as it’s plugged in. Just remember, having no battery isn’t like having a bad battery that’ll dies in 20 minutes. If it loses power, it turns off. Even if you have the lid closed, if you pull the cord, it’s going to turn off and do whatever it needs to do after an unexpected shutdown event when you turn it back on.

Hi all, thanks so much for the info - greatly appreciated.