How Do I Replace the Battery In My Laptop Computer?

March 5, 2009

in computer hardware

by Tina Gasperson

Laptops seem to be most useful when the battery is fully charged and you know it will last a good two hours or more. After all, what good is a portable computer if you have to find a working electrical outlet to use it? OK, it’s still some good. However, it’s much better to have a powerful battery or two that you can rely on during those times when other people have claimed every outlet in the coffee shop, but you still need to get that report typed. Replacing your laptop battery is easy to do, and if you look around a bit you might find a great deal too.

The first thing to know is that your laptop battery is proprietary. That means that batteries are not interchangeable between different brands and models of equipment, like they are with flashlights. This means three things: you have to find exactly the right battery for your laptop, it’s not going to be as cheap as Eveready AA’s, and the procedure for removing and installing your battery is different for virtually every laptop model. If you don’t have your laptop model number written down somewhere, turn the laptop upside down and you’ll find the model and serial number there. Write it down and type it into Google along with the word “battery.” Click on shopping results, and from there you can sort by price and store.

As I mentioned already, removing and re-installing your battery is going to be different depending on your particular computer. Most batteries are underneath your computer, but sometimes it will slide out from the back or side. Most of the time you’ll need a screwdriver to get it out, but sometimes it’s just a matter of sliding a lockbar to the side. When in doubt, look up the owner’s manual for your laptop to find out how to remove the battery. But usually you can figure it out without the paperwork.

There are a few things to be aware of when you’re looking for a laptop battery. There is a difference between name brand and so-called aftermarket batteries, which are not made or sanctioned by your laptop manufacturer. Most of the time, aftermarket batteries are just fine, but sometimes they can be of inferior quality. Check the reputation of the seller and review any feedback they may have received (one of the benefits of shopping online is that it is easy to find out what others’ experiences with a company have been). If a battery price is extremely low compared to others, that could be a sign you’re headed for a shady deal. Still, don’t feel like you have to pay top dollar to get a decent battery. Going for the median price is a good place to start. Once you find a battery supplier you like, consider getting a backup battery for those times when you need extra long “unplugged” sessions.

Another option is an external battery that usually fits under the laptop and can sometimes provide 8 hours or more of battery life. These are pricey, though, which makes them impractical for all but the most serious laptop users. For the rest of us, two hours or so is just fine.

Tina Gasperson (, affectionately known as Computer Lady by her family, has been writing about IT, home computing, and the Internet for more than a decade.