What to Do if Your Laptop Is Plugged In But Not Charging

How many times has something like this happened to you before? You’re working on your laptop, minding your own business, when the computer suddenly informs you that the battery is nearly dead. Then you have to find and plug in your charger before everything goes dark.

You should be good to go once the power is connected, but sometimes you plug in the AC adapter and nothing happens. There were no glowing lights, no brightened display, and no icon in the corner that said “battery charging.” What could possibly be wrong?

There are numerous ways to

take care of your battery

Some problems are simple to fix with a software tweak or a new battery, but others may necessitate a trip to the repair shop or even a complete system replacement. , but there are several things that can go wrong between the wall outlet and your computer.

Here’s how to get to the bottom of the problem. Knowing the difference between the two can save you hours of frustration and hundreds of dollars in repair costs. You can quickly narrow down where the problem originates and find the most cost-effective solution by taking an inside-out approach.

Are You Plugged In?

(Photo: Danicek/Shutterstock)

It may seem silly, but you should double-check that the laptop is actually plugged in. This is one of the main reasons why a computer exists.

may not even startA disconnected laptop cannot be magically powered on with a software tweak or hardware repair. Before you do anything else, double-check that the AC outlet and laptop plugs are securely in place. ..

Check the AC adapter brick for any removable cords and make sure they’re fully inserted. Next, double-check that the battery is properly seated in its compartment and that neither the battery nor the laptop contact points are damaged.

Finally, determine whether or not the issue is related to the laptop in any way. To see if you have a short or a blown fuse, try plugging the power cord into a different outlet. Remove it from any surge protectors or power strips and plug it directly into the wall.

There is a genuine problem with the laptop’s power supply; now it’s just a matter of identifying the source of the problem. If it still doesn’t work at this point, we’ve determined that the issue isn’t due to user error. We’ll start with the most common and straightforward problems. The first step is to figure out where it isn’t.

Lose the Battery

If your laptop has a removable battery, remove it and press and hold the power button for about 15 seconds to drain any remaining power. Then, while the battery is still removed, connect the power cable to the laptop and turn it on. Check the battery’s integrity first.

You can always reinstall the battery and try again—it’s possible that the battery was just not properly seated the first time. If the laptop turns on, it means the power adapter is in good working order, and the issue is most likely a bad battery.

If your laptop doesn’t have a visible battery compartment on the bottom, it’s possible that it’s built into the laptop (as most Macs are), and you’ll have to open it up yourself or take it to a repair shop to have the battery tested.

Make Sure You’re Connected to the Correct USB-C Port

USB-C The new standard allows for thinner devices, but it may also lead to some misunderstanding. Certain USB-C ports have been designated as data-only by some manufacturers, meaning they will not charge your device. is a widely used cross-platform standard for connecting peripherals, transferring data, and charging batteries.

You might come across a device with two USB-C ports: one that can be used for charging and data transfer, and one that is only for data transfer. You might even notice a small icon on the side indicating which port is intended for charging. If you’re having trouble charging your device, make sure you’re using the correct USB-C port.

Is Your Charger Powerful Enough?

Similarly, just because a power adapter fits into the charging port on your laptop doesn’t mean it’s powerful enough to charge it. This applies to any type of charger, but it’s especially common with laptops that charge via USB-C—you can technically plug in any type of charger. USB-PD Some chargers, however, may have insufficient wattage to charge properly.

Check the wattage of the charger that came with your laptop—if it came with a 45W charger, you should use a 45W (or higher) charger to power it, and so on. If you’re going to use a third-party USB-C charger, make sure it’s been thoroughly tested. If it succeeds in recharging your computer, it will do so at a much slower rate than usual. A lower-wattage charger may keep the battery from draining while you’re using it, but it won’t be enough to fully charge it. certified by the USB-IF.

I generally recommend using the manufacturer’s official charger for laptops that don’t charge via USB-C. Cheap, no-name chargers can be of poor quality or even dangerous. dangerousIf you have one of these, try charging it with the official charger that came with the laptop instead.

Breaks, Burnouts, and Shorts

Examine the ends for any broken connections, such as plugs that have come loose or areas that have been chewed by a pet or caught in a vacuum cleaner. Check for kinks or breaks along the length of the power cord, bending and flexing as you go.

If it smells like burnt plastic, that’s where the problem is most likely to be found. Examine the AC brick. It’s possible that the power connector needs to be replaced. Is it discolored in any way? Check with the manufacturer to see if a replacement is available under warranty. Are there any parts that have warped or expanded? (Or, if that’s not possible, if they’ll sell you one directly.)

Check the Connector

Cleaning the jack with a toothpick and plugging it in again may help. If the jack is clogged with dust or other debris, it may not be able to make a secure connection. The connection between the laptop’s power connector and the wall should be fairly solid.

In more severe cases, the jack may be wobbly or loose, or it may give when it should stay firm. This could indicate that the power jack inside the chassis has broken, requiring you to take your computer to a repair shop (or, if you’re comfortable opening it up, performing some at-home repairs).

Beat the Heat

Your system may even shut down to prevent a battery from overheating and catching fire. Because batteries are sensitive to heat, if your laptop overheats, it may cause a problem. The battery sensor may misfire as the temperature rises, telling the system that the battery is either fully charged or completely missing, resulting in charging issues.

When dealing with older laptops, which have lower-quality cooling than more modern devices—or if you use your laptop on the couch or in bed, these issues become far more likely. which can block the cooling ventsTurn off the system, give it a few minutes to cool down, and double-check that the air vents are clear of dust and blankets. ..

Check Your Settings in Windows or macOS

Open the Start menu in Windows 10 and type “Power & Sleep Settings,” then click it. Additional power settings (On older versions of Windows, search for “Power Options” in the Control Panel.) Please click here to learn more. a link Change Plan Settings and visually check that all are properly set.

If you set the computer to shut down when the battery level drops too low or set the low battery level at too high a percentage, for example, your battery settings could cause problems. Keep an eye out for battery, display, and sleep options that have been set incorrectly.

When your computer is idle, you can assign actions like sleep and shut down. lid is closedRestoring the power profile to default settings is the simplest way to ensure that your settings aren’t causing issues. Alternatively, the power button may be pressed. Even if there is no physical problem with the battery or charging cable, it’s easy to suspect a power malfunction if these settings have been changed.

Mac users can open System Preferences > Energy SaverA slider in the Mac settings allows you to select the amount of time the computer can sit idle before going to sleep. If the interval is too short, you may mistakenly believe the problem is with the battery when the problem is with the settings. , and then go over your preferences again.

To see if a change in settings is causing the problem, you might want to go back to the default settings. Remember to double-check these settings for both battery and wall power.

Update Your Drivers

Search for “Device Manager” in the Start menu. In the case of BatteriesSelect each item with a right-click. , you should see a few items, including a charger and a Microsoft ACPI Compliant Control Method Battery (though there may be others). Update Driver.

Reboot the laptop and plug it in again once all of the drivers have been updated. If this doesn’t solve the issue, you might want to try download the latest driversfrom the website of the manufacturer You can also try completely uninstalling Microsoft ACPI Compliant Control Method Battery and rebooting, which will force Windows to reinstall the driver from the beginning.

If you’re using a Mac, try resetting the clock. System Management ControllerReplace the battery, reconnect the power, and turn on the computer. (SMC.) Shutting down power, removing the battery, disconnecting power, and pressing the power button for five seconds is all that is required for laptops with removable batteries.

Press and hold the power button while pressing and holding the power button while pressing and holding the power button while pressing and holding the power button while pressing and holding the power Shut down the computer but leave the power adapter connected for newer Macs with batteries sealed into the chassis. Shift + Control + OptionOn the left-hand side of the keyboard, on the left-hand side of the keyboard, on the left-hand side of Release the keys and the power button at the same time, then try to turn on the laptop.

Swap Out the Cord and Battery

If the above software tricks don’t work and you can’t fix the problem with the parts you have, you may need to purchase a new battery or power adapter (which one depends on what you were able to narrow down with the above troubleshooting steps).

On Amazon, you might be able to find a replacement power cable or battery, but make sure it’s a genuine part from the manufacturer. It’s never a good idea to substitute third-party products for the real thing, especially when it comes to power.

If at all possible, contact the manufacturer directly and order a replacement part. You’ll pay a little more, but you’ll know you’re getting a high-quality component.

Problems Inside

It’s probably a good idea to contact tech support at this point. When you’ve exhausted all other possibilities—you’ve tried different power cables and batteries, double-checked and triple-checked your settings, and fixed any potential software issues—the problem is most likely to be found inside the machine.

When internal parts malfunction or fail, they can cause problems. Your laptop’s specific make and model will almost certainly have its own set of problems, which a seasoned tech support representative will have seen before. A faulty motherboard, damaged charging circuits, and malfunctioning battery sensors are all common causes.

The person you speak with will most likely walk you through many of the steps outlined above, but they will also be aware of any software or hardware issues unique to your setup, such as which parts of hardware frequently fail.

Call a local computer repair shop or inquire with your manufacturer about what repair options are covered under your warranty. Internal problems, like a sick person consulting a doctor, necessitate the assistance of a specialist.