Microsoft: Battery Issues Not Windows 7's Fault

battery life problems

In a Monday blog post, Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft's Windows division, said Microsoft has thoroughly investigated the issue and determined that it's not related to any sort of inherent defect in Windows 7.

"To the very best of the collective ecosystem knowledge, Windows 7 is correctly warning batteries that are in fact failing and Windows 7 is neither incorrectly reporting on battery status nor in any way whatsoever causing batteries to reach this state," Sinofsky wrote in the blog post.

"At this time we have no reason to believe there is any issue related to Windows 7 in this context," Sinofsky wrote.

After installing the Windows 7 upgrade on notebooks, some customers have reported seeing battery life plummet dramatically, in some cases going from a couple of hours to less than 30 minutes. Other users have reported inaccurate, continually fluctuating battery meter readings, as well as unexpected shutdowns and the warning message: "Consider replacing your battery. There is a problem with your battery, so your computer might shut down suddenly."

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Frustrated customers have been discussing the issue on Microsoft's TechNet forum since last June, with some claiming their batteries have been rendered useless after installing the Windows 7 upgrade. Recalibrating the battery and upgrading the BIOS also hasn't helped, and the same issue is being seen with brand new batteries.

After originally saying the problems may be related to system firmware (BIOS), Microsoft now appears to have zeroed in on faulty batteries as the root cause.

"We've gone through all the major online support and self-help forums and when appropriate have worked to follow up with any reports of this notification being presented in error," Sinofsky wrote in the blog post. "Through this we have identified no reproducible cases where the battery or PC was new and have only learned of batteries that were degraded in capacity."

It's hard to determine how many users are being affected, and several Microsoft solution providers told Monday that they haven't run into the issue during the course of their Windows 7 upgrades. Customers on the TechNet forum have been calling on Microsoft to address the issue for months, but Microsoft's explanation probably isn't going to win the company any fans.

Some angry TechNet forum posters are already rejecting Sinofsky's explanation. "This is a no brainer. There is a problem here with the new operating system and the way it interacts with various laptops and it must be fixed," wrote forum poster 'vectra10.'

"Once you install the battery within Windows 7, then it immediately says that it needs to be replaced How can you say the OEM is selling "bad" batteries to everyone?" wrote poster 'DanLee81.'

Could this end up being Windows 7's Waterloo? Given that the issue appears to be affecting a small number of users, probably not. However, now that Microsoft has gone on record with its battery explanation, the question now becomes: If faulty batteries are really what's behind this, why are OEMs selling them?