February 2, 2010 report
Microsoft investigates laptop battery drain with Windows 7
(PhysOrg.com) -- One of the Windows Vista problems that Windows 7 was supposed to solve was the drain on laptop battery life, but while Windows 7 has made a number of significant improvements, Microsoft is now investigating reports its new operating system reduces battery life even more dramatically when installed on some laptops.
Users have reported on Microsoft's TechNet forum reductions in battery life from two hours down to 30 minutes or less, with batteries failing to recharge fully. The battery life appears to decline over a short period, with another forum poster reporting the battery life dropped from 45 minutes to 15 or less over a couple of weeks.
Some Windows 7 users claim their laptop batteries have been permanently damaged by drainage problems occurring after they installed the new operating system. Other users report the appearance of error messages suggesting they replace their laptop battery, even though it had been working well before the installation.
Microsoft said it was investigating the issue in collaboration with their hardware partners. A spokesman said the problem of the error message appears to be related to the firmware (BIOS), since Windows 7 uses data derived from firmware to determine if the battery needs to be replaced.
Battery problems were noted by some users during the Windows 7 beta testing period, especially by those using Netbooks, but the complaints began to pour in after the official release of Windows 7 for general consumers in October last year.
Microsoft announced last Thursday it has so far sold about 60 million Windows 7 licenses, but it is unclear at present what proportion of users is affected by the battery drainage problems. Microsoft said it would update its TechNet forum as soon as the root cause has been identified, and will post information and guidance when it is available. The Microsoft TechNet forum and community is intended to support IT users of Microsoft products.
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