How to Fix a Laptop That Won't Charge
What would your digital world look like without your laptop? Your ultra-portable PC is the key to keeping you connected whether you’re in the office, at home, in the car, or 30,000 feet in the air. You depend on your laptop’s battery to keep you productive all day and night, but what happens when your battery stops charging?
When you plug your laptop into a power source, you’re usually greeted by a chirpy ding or a tiny LED light that reassures you that all is well in the battery department. However, if you’ve found that connecting your laptop’s AC adapter brings no such animation, something may be seriously wrong.
Dealing with a laptop that has suddenly stopped charging is a definite cause for headache, but don’t let your frustration bubble over just yet. You may immediately assume that your chargeless laptop battery translates to a costly visit to a PC repair shop, but that’s not always the case. Using this guide, we’ll help you understand why your laptop battery won’t charge and give you 8 helpful tips to fix it.
Why did my laptop battery stop charging?
Before you’re able to begin fixing your laptop that won’t charge, you need to have a primary understanding of why it began malfunctioning in the first place. Computers require hundreds of working pieces to properly function, so when one thing goes wrong, you’re likely left scratching your head wondering why.
While there are plenty of variables that could play into your laptop battery losing its charge, we’ve narrowed down the most popular causes into three key culprits: power cord issues, software malfunction, and declining battery health.
Power cord issues
Taking your laptop from place to place means taking your laptop charger along with you, too. Between wrapping it up for easy packability and setting it down in strange ways to accommodate a far-away outlet, your cord can be bent out of shape in its earliest days.
Key components work together to successfully power your laptop. Many PC chargers have a two-in-one-piece AC adapter; one piece that connects to the wall and another that connects to your computer. If both are securely connected and your PC’s charging light doesn’t illuminate, you may be dealing with a faulty or damaged cord.
Windows 10 has proven to be one of the most self-sufficient operating systems in PC history. It’s able to diagnose itself when internal problems arise and it can initiate important updates to ensure all of your software is up to date. It can, however, miss things.
It is possible that your computer’s settings configuration is set to shut down at a low level, or slip into sleep mode after minutes of inactivity. Though these settings aren’t quite “malfunctions,” per say, they can appear to be.
Software malfunctions arise when your computer’s drivers age out. An outdated driver can force your computer to reject your AC adapter’s power. Reinstalling the battery driver is a quick and easy fix for this kind of problem.
Declining battery health
Just like any other piece of technology, laptop batteries don’t live forever. One of the most common reasons for a laptop battery to stop charging is its declining health. The same way an old laptop computer has a hard time holding a charge, an old laptop battery struggles too.
Prior to battery failure, did you notice your laptop started to:
- Overheat while charging?
- Lose charge quickly?
- Take longer to fully charge?
If so, each of these issues are surefire signs that your battery is aging out. Unsure of your battery’s health? Click here to use our step-by-step guide on how to run a battery report in Windows 10.
How to fix a laptop that won’t charge
It’s finally time to take the troubleshooting into your own hands. With these 8 tips, you may be able to save yourself a trip to the repair shop or a phone call to your PC manufacturer.
1. Check to see if you’re plugged in
It may sound ridiculous, but it pays to check if your laptop and charger are actually plugged in. There’s no hope in charging a laptop that is disconnected from a power source, so be sure to double-check that everything is hooked up as it should be.
Look at each contact point, from the outlet to the AC adapter, the adapter to your laptop port. Everything should be tightly plugged with minimal wiggle room. Don’t forget to check the bottom side of your laptop to make sure the battery is firmly seated into the PC frame.
You’ll want to make sure that the problem isn’t the outlet itself. Blown fuses are common, so be sure to test out another outlet or reset the surge protector after confirming all contact points are intact.
2. Confirm you’re using the correct port
Modern computers are changing more rapidly today than ever before. The birth of the USB-C port has been a pivotal one that is now featured on the vast majority of the latest laptop computers. These ultra-thin ports are great for ultra-thin computers, though newcomers to the port may be confused on their multi-purpose functionality.
Computers that come with two USB-C ports likely have particular functionality designations that you may not know about. Generally speaking, one USB-C port is meant for charging, the other is meant for data-transfer. If your laptop charger is plugged into the data-transfer port rather than the charging port, no charging will occur.
Be sure your cords are living in their designated spots before blaming the hardware.
3. Remove the battery
If your laptop comes with a removable battery, follow these steps:
Step 1. Remove any bolts or screws and take out the battery
Step 2. Hold the power button down for 10-15 seconds
Step 3. Plug the charger in
Step 4. Power the PC on
If your laptop turns on without a problem, you can safely assume that it is not your charger at fault, but a damaged battery that is causing your PC headache. To confirm this theory, you can always re-install the battery and try booting up again.
If your laptop does not have a removable battery, you may need to see a professional specialist who can open up your hardware and run a diagnosis.
4. Examine your power cords for any breaks or unusual bending
Power cords are tiny, flimsy, and incredibly sensitive PC tools that very well may be the cause behind your laptop not charging while it’s plugged in. Examine your power cords by feeling along the length of the cord for any atypical bends, breaks, or warped flexing that may indicate physical damage.
If you discover that your cord has been bent out of shape from a hungry pet or a ferocious vacuum cleaner, replacing the affected end of the power cord will be your easiest fix.
5. Update your drivers
Sometimes all your PC needs is a swift re-up on driver updates to be restored back to its original health. Follow these steps to update your Windows 10 laptop’s battery drivers.
Step 1. Right-click the Start menu to open the Quick Access menu and select Device Manager
Step 2. Under Batteries, open the drop-down menu and right-click Microsoft ACPI Compliant Control Method Battery
Step 3. Within the new selection window, press Update Driver
Windows will ask you, “How do you want to search for drivers?” and you’ll have the option to let Windows search automatically or browse your PC manually for the appropriate software.
Once updated, reboot your PC and try charging again.
6. Survey the health of your charging port
Plugging your AC adapter into the laptop’s power connector should be a straightforward and snug experience. Should you face any difficulty, be it dust build-up or a wobbly fit, your problem likely lies in the fact that you’re unable to make a secure connection from your adapter to your computer.
If your PC jack is dirtied with dust and debris, try cleaning out your AC power port with a toothpick or with compressed air. If your connector points are wobbly, your problem may be a bit more serious. This could be in an indicator that your power jack has been broken from the inside of the chassis. To fix this, head to a computer repair shop for a cheap, easy solution.
7. Let your PC cool down
Batteries generate heat while working hard to power your laptop, but when it works too hard, overheating can cause a serious slew of problems. Rising battery temperatures may lead to sensor misfires which ultimately communicate to your system that the battery is either fully charged or missing.
If your laptop feels more like a furnace while plugged in, place it on a cool, open surface with nothing blocking the fans and let it cool down. Once it’s completely settled and cool to the touch, try charging it up again.
8. Seek professional assistance
When you’ve exhausted all of your options and you’ve tried every troubleshooting tip and trick, your next best bet will be seeking professional assistance. At the end of the day, computers are incredibly complex pieces of machinery and sometimes require a professional touch when it comes to fixing and configuring.
Reach out to your PC’s manufacturer to get in contact with a knowledgeable professional who may know how to treat your exact make and model. If you’re in need of immediate in-person help, schedule an appointment with a seasoned tech repairman who can diagnose and repair on site.