How to break in a new laptop battery

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If you use a laptop, there is one thing you can just about count on: eventually, the battery will need to be replaced.  Even if you run the computer on regular electricity, a laptop battery will wear out over time.  However, there are some things you can do to get the longest life out of your new laptop battery.


When you get a new battery for your laptop, there is a temptation to just put it in and forget about it – problem solved.  But that’s not the best way to get your money’s worth.  Taking a little bit of time with a new laptop battery will pay off in the long run.

Here is the recommended procedure for breaking in a new laptop battery:

1. With the computer turned off and unplugged, insert the new battery into its proper slot.

2. Plug the power adapter in to the laptop and to a wall outlet, but do not turn on the power to the laptop.

3. Let the battery charge up overnight with the laptop turned off.

4. Once the battery is fully charged, leave the laptop powered on under battery power only until the battery runs down completely.  The quickest way to do this is to make sure the screen saver and “hibernate” modes are turned off.  You can also play a music CD or a DVD movie in order to use up the battery more quickly.

5. When the battery runs out the computer will shut off.  Let the battery cool down for 20 to 30 minutes.

6. Recharge the battery again as in steps 1-3.

There are some techs that recommend going through 3 charge/discharge cycles as listed above for any new laptop battery.  However, being practical, I know most people will not go to that much trouble.  But just doing the process at least once will really help your battery to have a longer usable lifespan.

A couple of other tips:

  • If for some reason you won’t be using the laptop at all for 30 days or longer, you should take the battery out of the laptop and store it in a cool, dry location.  When you are ready to use it again, go through the charge/discharge cycle as described above.
  • These may seem obvious, but…don’t drop the battery, don’t try to open the battery case, don’t expose it to extreme temperatures, and don’t set it on fire.

And finally: If your laptop and/or battery come with specific instructions from the manufacturer on how to break in the battery or use it, those are probably more appropriate than my general guidelines.

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November 1st, 2010

A few years ago, NASA published a study on rechargeable batteries that proved battery memory is a myth. Part of the study, which I can’t seem to locate again, proved that running the power completely down to zero before recharging had no impact on the resulting recharge level or life expectancy of the battery.

Scott Johnson
November 1st, 2010

Karl – if you can find that study, I would be interested in seeing it. The steps I posted are standard practice among most techs.

November 1st, 2010

I would also like to see that study, as I’ve used that technique for cell phones and other rechargeable batteries for years.

John James
August 23rd, 2011

@Scott Johnson

Not sure if it is still relevant to you but i think that i have found the study that Karl found