Tim Mattison

Hardcore tech

How-To: Get a Warranty ID for a Flaky Battery on an HP Laptop

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Last week my fiancée’s brand new HP laptop started turning off after being unplugged for less than 3 minutes. The battery was in such bad shape that Windows didn’t shut down properly, it just completely turned off. I made sure the battery was fully charged and tested it again. Sure enough after 3 minutes it would just forcibly shut off.

We called tech support to get a replacement and we were put through over an hour worth of msconfig tweaks and all kinds of stuff. In the end we were told to run the ”HP Battery Check” utility. This utility said the battery was fine so we were out of luck as far as the warranty was concerned. However, after we got off of the phone we were able to get a battery “warranty ID” that we could use to get a replacement. If you are having similar battery problems here’s what you should do to save yourself some trouble.

Step 1: Run the “HP Battery Check” utility. If it gives you a warranty ID just call HP tech support and give that to them. They will take care of the rest. Otherwise, continue to step 2.

Step 2: Set your power plan to “HP Recommended” by clicking on the battery icon in the system tray and selecting it from the list.

Step 3: Verify that your battery really only lasts a few minutes and then forcibly powers off. If Windows shuts down properly then you probably have a battery that has a decreased capacity but that’s not actually defective. HP will not replace these kinds of batteries. If it appears defective but the battery check says it’s OK proceed to step 4.

Step 4: Restart Windows

Step 5: Charge the battery to 100%

Step 6: Start the “HP Battery Check” utility and get a pen and paper. You’ll need to be fast to get this information down.

Step 7: Unplug the power until you see the battery meter decrease by more than 2%. This should happen in just a few seconds if the battery is defective. Note that the battery status in the utility should read “Invalid”.

Step 8: Plug the power back in. After a few seconds you should see that the utility says “Replace”. Write down the warranty ID (a 27-digit number) as fast as possibly. If your battery is flaky in a few seconds the status will go back to “Good” and the ID will disappear. If it says “Good” again you can try a few times. It took two tries for me to get the number the first time but then it no longer showed the “Replace” message and warranty ID.

Step 9: Call HP, give them the warranty ID, and wait for your new battery to arrive

This won’t work for all HP battery problems but it’s worth a shot before you sink a lot of time into a tech support call that benefits neither you nor HP. This is a good, quick way to see if your battery is defective in a way that a normal tech support call to HP wouldn’t pick up. If you’ve already talked to HP and your battery is considered “Good” this is always worth a shot to get a free, legitimate replacement.