Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Fix Laptop Low Battery Shutdown

Yesterday it came to my attention, in a rather distressing way, that my laptop’s battery had gotten too low –> my screen went black and the fan stopped. I looked at my power button and the blue LED was not lit. In a word, my laptop was “off”. (Or, dead.)

My first thought was “*Cripe!* What happened?! What button did I press!?!”.. as I had been happily typing away mere milliseconds ago. Chatting on IM, I confess.

After my initial panic, and my heart started beating again, I pressed the power button and nothing happened — which I know is an indicator that the battery does not hold enough charge for a safe bootup… (or, laptop is dead) and I realized that I had been running on battery for longer than I had thought.
So I took my laptop and plugged it in to the wall outlet.

The blue power LED came on, and Windows tried to load, and then gave me the classic white-text-on-black-screen “Windows did not shut down properly. Select a …”
I told it to “Start Normally” (the default), and luckily it did so. Computers don’t like sudden power interruptions, and sometimes such events can corrupt Windows beyond simple repair.


See, I had been operating under a misconception: to wit, I thought my laptop would warn me when my battery was getting low.. and I thought that if I let it get too low, it would automatically do a shutdown process – that it was programmed to do so.
Because sudden “off” is bad.
(And suddenly disappearing from a chat is rude.)

Well, yes, Windows laptops are supposed to. But I was using a “Power Plan” option that – to me, “must have” – setting was not enabled. Here’s how I turned it on again:

1) Double-click the battery icon (down by the clock) or press Windows key+X to open the Mobility Center and double-click the battery icon (see, Travelers’ Tips for Maximum Laptop Battery Life).

2) click “More power options”.

adv_pwr_stgs

3) click “Change advanced power settings”.

adv_pwr_stgs2

4) Scroll down until you see “Battery” and click the little “+” sign.

5) Click the little “+” sign next to “Critical battery action”
This is what you want your laptop to do when your battery becomes “critically” low.. and sudden off is imminent.

6) Locate the “On battery” option. Click on “do nothing”, and change it to “Shut down” – then click Apply.
Then “OK” your way out of those windows. You are done. Now your laptop will do a nice, safe, proper shutdown when your battery gets too low.. instead of the sudden black of a dangerous “off”.

Note: by default you have three “power plans”. I happened to be in “ultra-turbo full speed ahead” mode (aka “High performance”) so I needed to modify that one, but it pays to check all three!

That was drama I could have done without.

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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September 11, 2010 - Posted by | advice, computers, how to, mobile, PC, performance, Portable Computing, tech, troubleshooting | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

6 Comments »

  1. TechPaul,

    Great real life example and follow-up tutorial. I am one to turn “off” the power options (and now I know, especially on the notebook and/or netbook, don’t turn it “off”). Just restored my and customized the power options using your instructions.

    Rick

    Comment by Ramblinrick | September 12, 2010 | Reply

    • Rick,
      The thing is.. I was sure my laptop would safely shutdown when my battery got down to a certain point…

      Would have bet money on it..

      Comment by techpaul | September 12, 2010 | Reply

  2. Thank you very much my friend, you are very kind in sharing this useful information with others…. The details were such a blessing, thanks.

    Comment by Marie Chelle | September 26, 2010 | Reply

    • Marie Chelle,
      I appreciate the support.

      Comment by techpaul | September 26, 2010 | Reply

  3. Thank you.

    Comment by Anonymous | May 12, 2013 | Reply

    • Sir or Ms,
      Thank you for taking the time to let me know you found my writing efforts helpful.

      Comment by techpaul | May 12, 2013 | Reply


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