Experts offer a lot of contradicting advice about laptop batteries.
Some say you should keep the battery in your laptop and keep it fully charged to extend its life.
Others recommend taking it out with a 50 percent charge.
And some even claim that it doesn’t matter what you do; the battery will die in a couple of years.
In this post, let’s discuss some of those recommendations and tell you which ones are true.
We’ll specifically focus on whether your laptop can work without a battery.
We’ll also tell you how to make your battery last longer and whether you can revive it if it dies.
Will A Laptop Work Without A Battery?
Your laptop will work without a battery if you connect the power adapter to an outlet.
However, if the power goes out or the plug comes loose, your laptop will immediately turn off without going through the proper shutdown sequence.
As a result, you may lose unsaved work and risk damaging your Windows and hard drive.
It’s also much riskier to play competitive games on a laptop with no battery because you’ll lose if your laptop doesn’t receive power for even a second.
How To Use Your Laptop Without A Battery
You’ll need an alternative power source to use your laptop without a battery.
1. Power Adapter
The most obvious solution is to keep your laptop plugged in all the time.
All laptops have dedicated adapters with barrel plugs that deliver power to your motherboard and other components.
When you plug in your charger, your laptop draws power from the outlet.
It uses some of the current to power your components and stores some of it in the battery.
If your battery is dead, some chemical reactions still occur inside it, but the energy can’t be stored, so it just goes to waste.
2. Battery Bank
Many manufacturers now include USB Type-C charging in their laptops.
In theory, this new feature lets you charge your laptop with a portable battery bank.
However, you’ll need a battery bank that matches your device’s power requirements.
For example, if your laptop has a high-end graphics card, you’ll need a battery bank capable of supplying high wattage to the laptop.
Moreover, you probably won’t get the same performance level when your laptop is plugged in.
That’s because current battery banks still can’t deliver the wattage you need.
For instance, most high-end battery banks deliver 45 watts of power, whereas many laptop adapters output 65 watts.
Note: This solution only works if your laptop’s battery isn’t completely dead.
The battery bank essentially charges your battery, which then powers your laptop.
So, if the built-in battery is non-functioning, you probably can’t turn on your laptop using a battery bank.
How Laptops Manage Power Sources
Your operating system can communicate with the individual components in your laptop, from your keyboard and trackpad to the motherboard, GPU, and RAM.
It treats your battery and adapter as separate components.
As a result, you can power your laptop with an adapter even if your battery is dead or non-existing.
Follow these steps to locate your power sources in Windows 10.
- Open Control Panel.
- Navigate to Administrative Tools > Device Manager.
- Expand the Batteries branch.
You’ll see Microsoft AC Adapter and Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery.
As you might guess, the first one represents your power brick, and the second one is your battery.
Although Microsoft might not build your laptop, you see the company’s name in the Device Manager because it displays the drivers developed by Microsoft.
Disabling Your Battery
If you want to completely remove your battery from the equation, you can disable its driver using the steps below:
- Right-click on Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery and select Properties.
- Navigate to the Driver tab.
- Click Disable Device.
- Once you see the warning message, click on Yes.
When you disable the battery driver, its corresponding icon in the task tray disappears.
If you unplug your laptop, it’ll shut down as if the battery wasn’t there.
Note: Depending on your laptop’s design, disabling the battery’s driver might not prevent it from charging.
If you don’t want the battery to receive any current, the best approach is to physically remove it from your device.
Unfortunately, many laptops built in the past few years don’t have user-accessible batteries.
So, your options may be limited.
Advantages Of Using A Laptop Without Battery
1. Better Performance
Windows laptops almost always perform better when connected to a power source.
That’s also true if you use a battery bank to extend your laptop’s battery.
By default, Windows decreases its performance when running on a battery, even when you max out its power management settings.
2. Prevent Damages
If your laptop battery has reached its end of life, it may malfunction unexpectedly.
So, removing it can reduce certain risks.
However, most laptops in the market have their batteries soldered in.
So, removing them might not be an option.
Disadvantages Of Using A Laptop Without Battery
1. Less Portability
When your laptop’s plugged into an outlet, you can’t move it far.
You’re restricted by the adapter’s cable length, which isn’t more than a few feet.
2. Risk Of Losing Data
When an adapter is your laptop’s only power source, the laptop is essentially working like a desktop.
So, if the power goes out or the connector comes loose, your computer will shut down without warning.
As a result, you may lose unsaved work or game progress.
Your operating system may also sustain damage, especially if the computer shuts down during an update or critical system operation.
3. Lost Productivity
If the power goes out and your laptop doesn’t have a working battery, you’ll have to wait until the power comes back.
In the meantime, you can’t resume your work, and you’ll have to work longer hours when the power returns.
All of these problems translate into lost productivity.
Safety Tips For Using Your Laptop Without Battery
It’s usually safe to use a laptop without a battery.
However, like all things electrical, you must take the necessary precautions.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Make sure the adapter is securely attached. Even a millisecond of disconnection can shut down your laptop and damage your files or components.
- If you have a user removable battery, never touch the pins on the laptop once you remove the battery.
- If your laptop’s battery isn’t designed to be removed, don’t unsolder the connections yourself. Removing these batteries can damage your laptop.
- Ensure the adapter’s cables aren’t exposed and the brick is in good shape. If you notice any issues, replace the cable or adapter immediately.
- Always use a genuine adapter from the original manufacturer. If you have to replace your adapter, don’t buy cheap ones from unknown companies.
How To Preserve Your Battery’s Health
1. Conventional Wisdom
The old advice about extending your battery lifespan is to charge it to 100 percent and let it drain before recharging it.
The justification for this advice was that the battery cells would “remember” the lower capacity.
Many people still use the same approach.
Some even leave their devices plugged in after the battery reaches 100 percent.
That behavior creates two problems.
2. Forcing Ions In
As the battery gets close to a full charge, it becomes harder to store more ions.
Let’s explain that concept using an example.
Suppose you want to fill a suitcase with some clothes.
When the suitcase is empty, you can easily put pieces of clothing on each other.
But as it gets full, you have a harder time finding room for new items.
You may even have to shove some of them in if the suitcase is nearly full.
The same situation applies to lithium batteries.
The current flowing into your battery decreases as more ions are stored.
That’s why it’s easier and faster to charge your phone from 20 to 50 percent.
But you’ve probably noticed that the last five percent of the capacity takes significantly longer in comparison.
3. Keeping Ions In
Keeping your battery charged at 100 percent increases the pressure inside the cells.
Ions tend to discharge from the battery.
But if you keep your battery at 100 capacity, you block their way out—while the charger tries to shove more ions in the cell.
This continuous struggle between the ions damages your battery cells.
4. Optimal Battery Levels
Based on the discussion above, you should only charge your laptop battery to a less stressful level to increase your battery’s lifespan.
The optimal level is around 65 percent.
However, since that’s not enough for many users, you can go up to 75 or 80 percent.
Use the battery until it reaches around 25 percent before plugging it back in.
This approach lets you increase your battery’s lifespan from less than two to nearly four years.
5. Treat Your Phone’s Battery Similarly
As smartphones use the same battery technology as laptops, you should treat them the same way.
Keep the battery level between 25 and 80 percent all the time.
However, if you want to keep your phone for a few years, you should go further.
That’s because discharging your battery also ages it.
So, keep a fast charger around to recharge the battery once it drops below 40 percent.
And charge it back to 65 percent.
Although that sounds like a hassle, you’ll get used to it and see significant improvement in your battery’s health and longevity.
Can You Repair A Dead Laptop Battery?
Rechargeable lithium batteries count as consumables.
Their capacity degrades over time and approaches zero after a few years of regular use.
Although you can repair an old laptop battery, we recommend replacing it.
Depending on the model, you may be able to swap the battery yourself, or you may need to ask a professional to do it for you.
Replacing The Cells
Experienced technicians and electrical engineers can replace the cell pack in the battery.
Still, no one should ever attempt to replace the individual cells in a pack as it creates the risk of explosion during use.
Plus, different cells have different charging behavior.
So, you can expect malfunctions and suboptimal performance.
If you’re interested in learning the reasons, read the following section.
Components Of A Lithium Battery
Lithium-based batteries consist of three components:
- Multiple battery cells.
- Battery Management System (BMS)
- An enclosure to house the battery cells.
In addition to lithium, the cells consist of copper, aluminum, graphite, and a few other layers of different materials.
The chemical reactions in the cell generate a waste gas that builds up inside the pack.
Without a way to dissipate, the gas buildup causes bulges and expansion—a widespread problem in older phones and laptops.
The BMS controls the charge and discharge rates of the cells.
It also has several safety features to prevent overcharges, overcurrents, and short circuits.
Manufacturers Prevent Battery Repairs
Many battery manufacturers make it hard or impossible for users to repair their laptop batteries.
They create mechanical obstructions and software kill switches to make repairing their products impractical.
For example, manufacturers used to rely on BMS that would turn off permanently after a set number of recharge cycles.
This type of BMS has become less popular in recent years.
Instead, companies now use software to detect cell disconnections or changes in cell capacity.
If you attempt to replace the cells in your battery, the BMS will stop working.
If you’re persistent, you can replace the BMS in your battery with a generic one to get it to work again.
However, you may lose some proprietary functionalities, such as indicator lights or charge balancing.
Why Manufacturers Prevent Battery Repairs
The primary reason is a phenomenon called “planned obsolescence,” building products with a predetermined lifespan that can only be replaced once they reach their end of life.
However, they often justify their actions by claiming that repairing a product reduces user safety.
That claim is somewhat true since safely assembling a battery pack requires special equipment and expertise.
However, that doesn’t justify creating e-waste.
In most cases, the BMS and other components in a dead battery are perfectly fine.
Therefore, designing battery packs to be replaceable is the perfect middle ground between user safety and e-waste.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is Running A Laptop Without A Battery Safe?
Using your laptop without a battery is perfectly safe as the power adapter works independently of the battery.
Plus, the power circuit treats the battery as a removable component.
So, taking the battery out won’t affect the circuits.
Even if your battery completely dies, you can continue using your laptop as long as the power adapter is plugged into the wall.
2. Should I Remove My Laptop Battery If It’s Always Plugged In?
You should remove your battery laptop if you prefer to use it as a desktop.
Leaving your battery at 100 percent capacity causes pressure buildup in the cells and reduces the battery’s lifespan in the long run.
It may even cut the lifespan in half!
However, given the current design trends with non-removable laptop batteries, you may not be able to do this.
As explained in this article, your next best option is to disable the battery drive via Device Manager.
Your manufacturer may also offer an application that limits your battery’s charge.
3. How Do I Make My Laptop Run On AC Power?
The most effective way to run your laptop using only AC power is to physically remove the battery.
Depending on your laptop model, that may not be an option though.
In this case, check to see if your manufacturer offers a battery management application.
Dell, Asus, Lenovo, and many other reputable manufacturers have feature-rich apps that let you customize your laptop performance settings and turn off battery charging.
4. Does A Laptop Run On AC Power Once Fully Charged?
Many manufacturers claim they cut off the power supply to the battery once it reaches 100 percent.
From there, the battery stays fully charged while the laptop runs on AC power.
However, the claim might not always be accurate.
Once the battery level drops to 99 percent, it receives a current to bump it back to 100.
This constant switching from 99 to 100 percent reduces your battery’s health and longevity.
Moreover, keeping your battery charged above 80 percent causes pressure buildup in the cells, which can have detrimental effects.