Battery: Frequently asked questions

Here are answers to some common questions about your battery, the battery icon, and the battery meter. If you're looking for ways to extend your battery life, you'll find more info in Tips to save battery life.

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Why don't I see a battery icon in the notification area?

The battery icon won't appear if you're using a desktop PC without an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), or you're using a UPS that's connected to your PC by a serial cable.

It's also possible that the icon might be hidden. Here's how to show the battery icon:

  1. Press and hold or right-click an empty area on the taskbar, and then tap or click Properties.

  2. Next to Notification area, tap or click Customize.

  3. Tap or click Turn system icons on or off.

  4. On the Turn system icons on or off page, under Behaviors, tap or click On in the drop-down list next to Power, and then tap or click OK.

If you can't change the power setting, your PC might not have a battery installed (for example, a desktop PC) or you might need to sign in to the PC as an administrator. If your PC is part of a network at an organization, your system admin might have removed certain settings so you'll need to contact them.

Note

  • If you're using a UPS with a USB connection and you don't see a battery icon in the notification area, make sure that the USB cable from the UPS is connected to a USB port on your PC. If you still don't see the battery icon, check the info that came with the UPS, or update the UPS device driver.

What are the different battery icons and what do they mean?

The following table shows the different battery icons you might see, what they mean, and why they change.

Icon Explanation
Icon
Battery icon when charging
Explanation

Your PC is plugged in and your battery is charging. If the battery level remains low, this might be because it's an older battery or because of a problem with your PC’s hardware.

Icon
Full-battery icon with a universal plug next to it
Explanation

Your PC is plugged in and the battery is fully charged.

Icon
Battery icon with decreasing charge
Explanation

Your PC is running on battery power and the battery is discharging.

Icon
Battery icon when it reaches the low-battery level
Explanation

Your battery charge has reached the low-battery level—this usually means you have 10 percent charge left. It’s a good idea to plug in your PC at this point.

To change the low-battery level, see the "How can I change when Windows tells me about a low battery?" question in this topic.

Icon
Battery icon when the charge reaches the critical-battery level
Explanation

The battery charge has reached the critical battery level and you should save your work and plug in your PC immediately.

To change the critical-battery level, see the " How can I change when Windows tell me about a low battery?" question in this topic.

Icon
Battery icon when the charge remaining can't be determined
Explanation

Windows can’t determine the percentage of battery charge remaining.

Icon
No battery detected or bad battery icon
Explanation

Your PC is plugged in but Windows can’t detect a battery. There might be a few different reasons for this—the battery wasn't installed properly or there's a problem with the battery or PC hardware. To learn more, check the documentation that came with your battery, or go to the manufacturer's website.

Why does the time remaining on the battery meter change drastically sometimes?

The rate at which your PC uses battery power changes constantly, depending on what you're doing and how long you spend doing it. For example, watching a DVD uses much more power than reading and writing email. For these reasons, the battery meter often lags in showing the charge and the estimated time remaining.

Why can't I see the battery meter?

You can't see the battery meter on PCs that support InstantGo. With InstantGo, your PC wakes up instantly from sleep with your apps and data up to date.

How can I choose which power plans appear on the battery meter?

Windows chooses the two power plans that appear on the battery meter, but you can change them.

Battery meter showing power plans
Battery meter showing power plans

To change the power plans that appear on the battery meter

  1. Open Power Options by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering Power options in the search box, and tapping or clicking Power options.

  2. Do one of the following:

    By default, the power plan that you select or create becomes the active plan and it then appears on the battery meter.

When doesWindows warn me about a low battery and how can I change that?

Windows warns you twice—once when your battery charge is low (usually 10 percent) and again when it's at a reserve level (usually 7 percent). If you don't have enough time to finish your work after seeing these warnings, you can increase the battery level at which you’ll be notified. This can be especially useful for older batteries, which might not have as much storage capacity. When your battery is almost out of power, (critical battery level), your laptop or tablet will turn off.

To change battery levels at which you're notified

  1. Open Power Options by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering Power options in the search box, and tapping or clicking Power options.

  2. On the Choose or customize a power plan page, tap or click Change plan settings next to the plan you want to change.

  3. On the Change settings for the plan page, tap or click Change advanced power settings.

  4. On the Advanced settings tab, expand Battery, and then depending on what you want to change, expand the Low battery level, Reserve battery level, or Critical battery level.

  5. Tap or click Apply and then OK when you’re done.

Notes

  • You can't set the critical battery level below the minimum level set by your PC manufacturer.

  • You can also change the shutdown actions (Sleep, Hibernate, Shut down, or Do nothing) associated with the low and critical battery levels.

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