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Windows 7 Battery Issue: Much Ado About Notification

Last week we reported on a lengthy Microsoft TechNet thread indicating that Windows 7 was misreporting laptop battery levels, if not outright causing premature battery failures.

Microsoft's response this week: Relax, it's just Windows 7 doing its job. You see, the new OS can determine when a battery has outlived its usefulness and needs to be replaced. But XP and Vista don't offer any such reporting, so the message might indeed seem surprising to Windows 7 users.

And let's face facts: Laptop batteries start to lose some capacity around the 18-month mark -- sooner if you leave your system plugged in most of the time. (In that scenario, the battery never gets the opportunity to discharge and recharge, resulting in poor performance when you eventually do pull the plug.)

You can read more about the controversy -- including Microsoft's response -- at PC World's Business Center. At the risk of sounding like a Monday-morning quarterback, I kind of suspected this was the case. Most laptop users aren't too educated when it comes to battery longevity and performance (and why would they be?), and I think we've all fallen into the habit of blaming Microsoft whenever anything goes wrong with our PCs.

What do you think? Do you think Microsoft's just ducking the issue, or are they right in saying this whole battery-reporting thing is a feature, not a bug? Image via PC World.