Does power go through the battery on a Dell Laptop (XPS M1710)when plugged-in or does the battery charge from the computer? The reason for the question is that I seem to be having a "power" issue. I know my battery is very old and very weak and will only last at best 1 hr without heavy use.
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Usually when plugged in, power will go to both the computer and battery, i.e. it's why you can still turn it on when the battery is dead. Try taking the battery out and plugging it in to test this (just don't electrocute yourself).