Laptop Plugged in but Not Charging? Here’s How To Fix

A laptop isn’t much good if it won’t charge. Rather than being the portable powerhouse of productivity that it is supposed to be, the laptop is either an expensive paperweight or underpowered desktop replacement.

Laptop Plugged in but Not Charging? Here’s How To Fix

If your laptop is plugged in but not charging, there are a couple of ways to fix it. In this article, you’ll read about all three solutions to help you narrow down and fix the problem. Just keep in mind that basic troubleshooting generally requires different methods until you find the reason behind your laptop charging problem.

1. Check for Faulty Power Adapter or Charging Cable

Considering how expensive the average laptop is, the quality of its power adapter is usually relatively low. If your laptop is plugged in and not charging, the power cord and adapter should be your first port of call.

Confirm that both ends appear securely positioned. If your AC adapter has a status light, ensure it is on while plugged into the power outlet.

Look for movement where the charger meets the laptop. Connectors often wear out over time. After much use, you may experience a socket that fits loosely and wiggles around. Occasionally, if you exert any variation of force on the power cable where it meets the laptop, it can bend, leading to damaged pins or breaks in the wires. This scenario not only applies to coaxial plugs but also to USB and Lightning.

If you know someone else with the same model laptop, borrow their charger to see if it works and fits better.

Of course, before rushing out to buy another power adapter, it’s also a good idea to try a different wall outlet. The power coming out of the outlet may seem like common sense, but many users overthink the troubleshooting process and assume the issue is with their computer rather than the wall outlet.

2. Check for an OS Power Issue

Windows Virtual Driver

If you use a Windows laptop, there is a common problem with the Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery driver. This issue has been around since Windows 7 and can impact the charging process. Here’s what to do.

  1. Type ‘Device Control Manager’ into the Cortana/Search Windows box and open Windows Device Manager.
  2. Select Batteries and open up the menu.
  3. Select Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery driver.
  4. Right click and select Uninstall.
  5. Select Scan for hardware changes in the top menu of Device Manager.
  6. Allow Windows to scan and install the driver once more.

Replacing the virtual driver “Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery” solves many issues with a laptop plugged in and not charging.

If the driver doesn’t solve the problem, try fully draining the laptop’s residual power. This process forces the laptop to discharge any residual voltage. It is like a hard reset and can sometimes shake the battery back into life.

  1. Remove the laptop battery and power cord.
  2. Hold down the power button on the laptop for 20 – 30 seconds.
  3. Replace the battery and boot up the laptop.
  4. Once powered on, plug the power cord into the laptop and see if it charges.

If this process doesn’t work, you may have a faulty laptop battery. You can run a few tests to find out, which you’ll read about later.

Reset SMC on a MacBook

For those using a MacBook, “Resetting SMC” is a helpful tool not available on Windows. SMC is the System Management Controller, which influences battery and power management, so it is an extra step you can take if your MacBook battery won’t charge. Resetting SMC will reset some customizations, so you will need to configure them again, but aside from that, this process is harmless.

  1. Switch off your MacBook and connect the power adapter.
  2. Hold down the Shift + Control + Option keys and the Power button at the same time.
  3. Let go of all the keys and you should see the light on your adapter change color briefly.
  4. Boot your MacBook and retest.

3. Check for a Faulty Laptop Battery

A faulty battery is more likely in older laptops rather than new ones, but it is possible on any device. There are two tests you can try.

Check your laptop manual for the hardware test process. On a Dell laptop, switch it off, then turn it on again. After seeing the Dell logo, hit “F12” to launch the boot list. Select “Diagnostics,” then choose the “battery test” feature.

On a Macbook Pro, you need to run the Apple Hardware Test. Turn the laptop off and then on again. Hold the “D” key on the keyboard until you see Apple Hardware Test. Navigate past the language choice and then select the “standard” test.

If you’re using a MacBook, you can easily see if there’s a problem with the battery by holding the “control” button and clicking the “Apple logo” in the upper left-hand corner. Choose “System Information.” A new window opens. Click on “Power.” Check to see the status of your battery. The battery is listed as “normal” under the “Condition” section in the screenshot below.

Other laptops have similar test features. Check your manual to see how to access yours.

You can also run your laptop without a battery, although it doesn’t prove much. Plug the power charger in and turn on the laptop. If it runs, you know the laptop works fine. However, the test does not tell whether the battery or the charging board is the issue.

If you know someone with the same laptop, swap batteries to see if it works. This solution is the only real test for the battery aside from buying a new one.

Laptop Not Charging FAQs

What can I do if my cord isn’t working?

Laptop users have several options to get back up and running if they’re having a cord issue. If your laptop cord is chewed or frayed, you can try splicing the inner wires together and sealing it with electrical tape. Be careful as this could be a fire hazard if not done correctly, and don’t mess with the cord while it’s plugged in. If the power line seems damaged beyond repair, you can order one from the manufacturer or Amazon. In the case of Mac users, Apple will supply another OEM charger for your MacBook for a cost.

Should I leave my laptop plugged in all the time?

If your laptop is your main computer, it may be easier just to keep it plugged in at your desk. But, it is usually not healthy for battery life. Most manufacturers do not recommend leaving the charging/power cord plugged in. Laptop users worldwide agree based on their experiences. It generally kills the lifespan of the battery over time. You go from 3-4 hours per charge to 0.5-2 hours. Ultimately, check with your laptop’s users guide to understand better how to care for your battery correctly. If you’re using a third-party charger, it’s probably a good idea to unplug your computer once charging is complete.

7 thoughts on “Laptop Plugged in but Not Charging? Here’s How To Fix”

Debbie says:
Windows has a built-in safety feature for the battery. It will not charge until it drops to 94%. Unplug your power. It is not good to keep your power plugged in all the time.

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