Dell Latitude Battery Draining Fast

Dell Latitude Battery Draining Fast

Jordan Coburn and 2 contributors
Last updated on

These first few steps may seem trivial; however, it is easy to forget the troubleshooting basics during times of frustration. Before you start any significant repairs to your device, please check the following:

  • Restart your computer. It's Troubleshooting 101 for good reason. Restarting your laptop correctly (rather than by crash or hard shutdown) finalizes any pending repairs and restarts all systems services. Use the restart option in the Start Menu.
  • Check your laptop's power mode by clicking the battery icon in the system tray. Adjust the slider for "better battery." This may noticeably impact the performance of your laptop, but it might be worth it to squeeze out some extra minutes.
  • Adjust Screen Brightness: Lower the screen brightness to conserve battery power.
  • Check for and Remove any Battery-Draining Peripherals: Disconnect any external devices drawing power from your laptop.
  • Do a hard shutdown. This is as close to pulling the battery you'll get in most models without a screwdriver. Shutdown your laptop. Once it's off, press and hold the power button for 15-30 seconds. Wait a moment, then try to power on again.
  • Run a battery diagnostic. Dell includes this function in its SupportAssist software. Alternatively, run a power report on your battery. This will rule it out as a cause early. Or, if issues are reported, skip past all the software fixes to battery failure.

Causes

1

Advertised battery life and battery life in practice often vary wildly. The specs page on your brand new Dell XPS may boast up to 12 hours—you're not likely to see that in typical use. These numbers are acquired in precisely controlled and idealized scenarios. They're trying to sell you a computer. They want you to see best case scenario numbers.

Minimize Laptop Energy Consumption

  • Check what is using your battery. Navigate to Settings > System > Battery. This gives a breakdown of what is sucking down power. Limit use of apps that consume lots of energy, or come to terms with their impact on battery life.
  • Decrease your screen lock time out. Or be sure to lock your screen when you’re done using it. These settings are located in System > Power & Sleep.
  • Close Unnecessary Applications and quit any background processes. Even closing some of the extra tabs in your browser can help. To quit background processes:
    • Open Task Manager by right-clicking on the Windows start menu. You can get more information by clicking More details
    • Select any programs to close and click End task in the bottom right.
  • If you need to buy some extra time, click the battery icon in the system tray and change the slider to the desired level. Keep in mind "best energy savings" settings will limit performance of some aspects of your laptop.
2

Are you charging devices from your laptop? Are you powering devices like an external webcam, keyboard, speaker, etc?

  • Try using your laptop without any external accessories plugged in to establish a baseline power usage. This lets you know how much battery life you can expect out of normal use.

Sometimes, multiple devices, accessories, and settings could be affecting the battery performance. Rule out variables to focus your efforts on the real issue.

3

Your laptop might be running too many programs and background services. Lower the amount of services and programs running at once.

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  1. Open Task Manager by right-clicking on the Windows start menu.
  2. Select a program you wish to close and click End task in the bottom right.
  3. You can get more information by click More details. The Startup tab shows what programs start with the computer, usually in the background. Disable any unnecessary startup programs.
4

Your laptop’s software settings may be pulling too much power. Adjust these settings to be more energy conscious. Settings like screen brightness, sleep settings, and CPU usage are all things to tweak.

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  • There are general power plans available to pick from (BalancedHigh performance, and Power saver). You can select one by opening Control Panel from the Start menu and navigating to Hardware and Sound > Power Options. Switching to the Power saver plan helps to reduce the overall power consumption. Of course, you can always manually adjust these settings once in the Power Options section of Control Panel.
  • The Dell Command utility is also used to alter power settings. You'll need to search your Service Tag or Serial Number using Dell's website to find a download link for Dell Command.

Starting with Windows 10, battery saver mode that automatically adjusts several of these energy-mindful settings at once. These instructions are for Windows 11 but should be similar for Windows 10.

  • Right-click the Start menu and choose Settings. From there, head to System > Power & battery > Battery saver. This is also available in the bottom right Quick Settings area.
5

Sometimes your battery management system can drift from reality and report an empty battery when it has plenty of charge. To calibrate the battery on your Dell Latitude:

  1. Charge it to 100%, and keep charging it for at least two more hours.
  2. Unplug your laptop and use it normally to drain the battery.
  3. Save your work when you see the low battery warning.
  4. Keep your laptop on until it goes to sleep due to low battery.
  5. Wait at least five hours, then charge your laptop uninterrupted to 100%.
6

Certain BIOS settings will have an affect on your laptop’s performance and energy consumption. The BIOS is software installed on a chip on the motherboard. This chip and its software initialize hardware related settings. This menu exists before the operating system, so you will need to boot into the BIOS before the operating system loads to change settings.

  1. Power off your laptop completely.
  2. Press the power and repeatedly press the F2 key. It will boot into the BIOS menu where you can adjust various power-related settings.
  3. When finished, save and restart. Your laptop will boot into your operating system.
7

It isn't just the apps you intend to run sucking up system resources. So does any nefarious software you may have picked up on your internet travels. In certain cases, this usage can become significant, to the point that your computer starts burning through noticeable amounts of battery even when you don't seem to be doing anything.

  • Open Task Manager, to check system utilization.This can be accessed by right clicking the Windows Start Menu. Or by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Esc on your keyboard.
    • Check. the processes to see if anything here is consuming a large amount of system resources. Some critical thinking and internet research may be needed to figure out what's what.
  • Download a free, reputable anti-malware program or use the software built into your Windows OS. These tools can scan your machine for malware and alert you to any programs or files that may have found their way onto your machine without your knowledge.
  • Beware that some supposed anti-malware programs are malware themselves. using additional system resources, further drain your battery. Do some research on good free options, or use the program preinstalled on your system (look for Windows Defender if you're on Windows 8 or later).

Moving forward, follow best practices for internet safety. This will prevent you from accumulating more malware in the future:

  • Use ad blocking software like uBlock Origin to prevent ads from loading in your browser.
  • Don't allow third party websites to download software on your computer.
  • Avoid pirating games or software. Sorry internet BlackBeards, these are huge vectors for infection.
  • Avoid scam emails and be extremely suspicious of any attachments on all emails.
  • Keep software up to date.
  • Recognize .exe files and NEVER open unknown .exe files. If you find this file type on your computer and don't recognize it, you should delete it immediately.

Bloatware

Even the applications you can tell are installed may drain more battery than you realize. How many applications on your computer don't ever get users? Or came installed on your machine, but you never removed them? It's time to do some housekeeping.

  • Open Task Manager (press Ctrl + Alt + Esc). Use the Startup tab to disable any unnecessary startup programs. If you're not sure if it's necessary, right click on the process and select "search online," to get some added details.
  • Open your Start Menu and run down the list of applications. Remove anything you don't use. Right click and select uninstall to get the appropriate menu to appear, (or to remove the app if it was one installed from the Microsoft Store).
  • People are often tempted to keep the software loaded by Dell, most is unneeded. Display or audio tweakers are usually not needed, but support software can come in handy.
8

Batteries are a consumable device, and if you've been using your laptop for many years—or are just a bit unlucky—your battery might be worn out.

  • Reseat the battery (or the battery connector )—some Dell Latitude Laptops make it easier than others.
  • Run a battery diagnostic if you haven't already. Dell includes this function in its SupportAssist software. Alternatively, run a power report on your battery. This will give you some hard data about your battery.
  • Check for visual signs of battery age, swelling, or leak. Swollen batteries may manifest as difficulty in using the trackpad or the keyboard. As the battery expands, it exerts upward pressure on the underside of these components.
  • If your laptop has been in the trenches, you expose your stuff to extreme climates, or if you're just a power user who grinds through batteries, a replacement might be your best bet.

If you can't find a replacement guide for your model of Dell, don't fear—opening the laptop, unplugging the battery connector, and removing the screws holding in the battery is all it takes for most models.

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