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Should I leave my battery in my laptop all the time?

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I am emailing you about a subject matter that seems to be unclear to all I make an inquiry to. Whether I ask these questions to people at Fry's Electronics, Circuit City, or other so called "guru's" of the computer field, there is never a complete unanimous answer.

David, is there any positive or negative result to leaving the battery "in" the laptop when the laptop is plugged into the wall outlet(via surge protector) almost most of the time?

Should you only put the battery in the laptop when you are going to be using the laptop when going mobile and away from outlet sources or does in not really matter or harmful to the laptop or battery if you leave the battery in all the time even when the laptop is running off the house outlet power most of the time?

If the battery is better to be left "out" of the laptop when using the home outlet source, will the battery lose its charge or power just placed in a desk drawer waiting to be used whenever I am going to go mobile? I suppose all I want to know is "does it matter or have an effect whether positive or negative, to leave a battery in your laptop at all times? The other question is...Is there any positive or negatives to the computer, to leaving your desktop or laptop on all the time instead of shutting it down after each use? Thank you David for any factual truthful information you can provide me.

Best Regards,



I'm amazed at how fairly simple technology like batteries are so controversial. Like you said, talk to five different people, and you'll get five different answers.

The fact is, it depends upon a lot of things: the type of battery in your laptop, the recharging characteristics of the type of battery you have, the age of the battery, how often you let that battery discharge by either unplugging the power cord or by going mobile with your machine and more.

But, for the most part, laptop manufacturers know how most people use their computers, leaving them on almost all the time, or sleeping them by closing the lid, or using them on the road on a fairly regular basis. And because they know those profiles, they've tailored their systems to extend the life of the battery.

This is a big help to the manufacturer, because one of the biggest discriminators in buying a laptop, other than weight and screen size, is battery life.

So, let's answer your questions one at a time.

Read on... (more ahead)

Your laptop is designed for you to leave the battery in ALL the time. The circuitry inside the machine, the power supply, even the battery itself. It should be left in whether you've got it plugged in to a power conditioner or not.

And you should know that the battery acts as a power conditioner itself - all the power from the power supply goes through the battery, if it's in place.

Actually, a power conditioner, or UPS, is nothing more than a big battery with an alarm on it.

So. leave the battery in. Discharge it all the way once a month (pull the plug a few hours before you have to go to bed, let it completely die and then plug it back in). And use the computer manufacturer's recommended conditioning software every so often to keep your battery fresh.

As to whether a battery will discharge over time if not in the machine, yes, it will. Left for months or years, it will discharge. So, it's a good idea to bicycle your batteries if you have more than one, rotating them every few weeks.

Finally, it's fine to keep your laptop on all the time. I do, and my screen is fine. If you're using a plasma screen for a second screen, make sure your screen saver kicks in there, or you may burn the desktop pattern into your big screen.

Thanks for asking!

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