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Does a notebook computer use power when shut off?

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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December 1, 2012 2:00:58 PM

Toshiba says it does and that is why my Portege battery loses charge when in the computer is not used for a few days but stays fully charged when I remove the batter for the same length of time. For instance, the battery was completely dead (computer wouldn’t turn on) when not used for 9 days but after 3 1/2 days with the battery out of the computer, it showed 99% after booting. Both times the battery had a full charge at the beginning.
a b D Laptop
December 1, 2012 3:45:49 PM

And you don't trust the manufacturer? Even tough you experienced what he says? Yes, it uses some power!
December 1, 2012 3:49:35 PM

Yes, its in sleep mode pretty much. They do it that way for quicker boot-times.
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December 1, 2012 8:05:44 PM

Thank you both for this information. Unfortunately this negates a lot of the usefulness of a notebook computer if you have to plug it in most of the time. Interestingly enough, the manual says to NOT leave it plugged in all of the time.

This brings up the question, is there any to disable this feature? I have had many notebook computers for about two decades and never had this problem (at least to this extent: it must be using a lot of power to completely discharge in less than nine days) before.

It’s not that I don’t trust the manufacturer, but certainly don’t trust tech support. Can you remember the last time you called tech support and got somebody that knows more than you do? And another note on Toshiba tech support, they have replaced two batteries (cost near $300.00) under warranty and neither time did they mention this.
a b D Laptop
December 1, 2012 8:17:50 PM

Are you selecting "start and then shutdown" or just walking away from the computer and have to turn it on later?

Basically, the advice from the manufacturer is that constantly charging the battery wears out the battery, which is true.
a b D Laptop
December 1, 2012 8:19:12 PM

Most things have a drained battery after 9 days of not being charged, including phones, cell phones, etc.
December 2, 2012 12:43:18 AM

danny2000 said:
Are you selecting "start and then shutdown" or just walking away from the computer and have to turn it on later?

Basically, the advice from the manufacturer is that constantly charging the battery wears out the battery, which is true.


I am shutting down the computer. Other than a car battery (cars can use a lot of power when shut off, BMW’s were notorious for this), I can’t think of anything I have that uses battery power that will discharge the battery completely in a short time when shut off. I have a five year old Motorola flip telephone has the original battery that we only use for a stopwatch. Sometimes it will be weeks between use. I have a digital voice recorder that may go months without use. I do have rechargeable NiMH batteries that loose charge just sitting, but this computer battery retains its charge when it is out of the computer. I would like to know what this computer is doing to use so much power when it is shut off. And as to Toshiba’s recommendation, I guess I can leave the computer plugged in (at least when near an outlet) and shorten the battery life, or unplug it and not be able to use it.
a b D Laptop
December 2, 2012 12:58:27 AM

This has to depend on the laptop.

I mean my old compaq can be off and unplugged for months on end.

Lots of the new systems seem to leave USB ports active to change devices and stuff(some leave some things semi powered for faster booting).
December 2, 2012 3:42:00 AM

I think the idea behind charging the battery only when it needs it and not when convenient may be what they're telling you to do, I know with some batteries you should let them go down before charging them again, but I don't remember which ones or why. Wear conditioning or something like that. Maybe you have a virus and when you shut down your computer it's doing unspeakable things in the corner by itself. Maybe it's just standard power to the power button and minimal power to the rest of it so it'll start right. The newer it is, probably the more it has to do to keep busy while you're away. I know my 3 year old tracfone lasts a couple weeks on a charge, but my little brother has to charge his smartfone all the time.
a b D Laptop
December 2, 2012 1:26:47 PM

jossrik said:
I know with some batteries you should let them go down before charging them again, but I don't remember which ones or why. Wear conditioning or something like that.

Ni-CAD - kill em dead to avoid the memory effect. Or else they start not wanting to take a full charge.
NI-MH - Mixed views on them. Killing them dead at least now and then is good.
Li-Ion - Supposed to be un-effected by the "memory effect", but it is considered good to leave them long term at a lower charge level. In general many small charges or fewer deep charges are the same for this battery type.
Li-Poly - I think they are the same for charging as Li-ion
a c 248 D Laptop
December 2, 2012 1:30:25 PM

Hi :) 

I own a laptop repair company and computer shops that sell laptops....

ROUGHLY speaking a "NEW" FULLY charged lappy will lose 1 to 2% of its charge DAILY .... an older lappy (2 years plus) will lose 5 to 10% of its charge DAILY...

This applies to ALL makes...and this is even when TOTALLY TURNED OFF...

All the best Brett :) 
a b D Laptop
December 2, 2012 5:19:02 PM

Stand-by times for devices are often listed in the specs of battery-powered devices.
a b D Laptop
December 2, 2012 5:20:09 PM

As Brett stated above, the older the battery, the faster it will tend to lose it's charge, even in stand-by or off-mode.
December 3, 2012 1:52:17 PM

Brett928S2 said:
Hi :) 

I own a laptop repair company and computer shops that sell laptops....

ROUGHLY speaking a "NEW" FULLY charged lappy will lose 1 to 2% of its charge DAILY .... an older lappy (2 years plus) will lose 5 to 10% of its charge DAILY...

This applies to ALL makes...and this is even when TOTALLY TURNED OFF...

All the best Brett :) 


Thanks for this useful information. Toshiba replaced the battery less than two months ago under warranty so that would qualify as new. Using your figures, it should have discharged 9 -18% on my most recent trip. As you have probably read, it discharged 100%.
December 3, 2012 1:59:22 PM

I called Toshiba again today just to see if there was any hope of getting an answer to my question. You are going to love this! The technician first told me that the battery would completely discharge in one day. I asked him numerous times what the computer is doing when shut off that uses so much power. This is what the he FINALLY told me: The battery discharges when it is in the computer because if it held a charge it would be hazardous. I guess sort of like smoking when you are holding a five gallon can of gasoline on your lap. This, of course, would apply any time that I am using the computer because the battery at that point has electrical charge. I suspect I will never buy a dangerous Toshiba again. I did like my previous Toshiba but did not realize I was holding such a dangerous device. He didn’t like that I gave him a 3 rating but actually that was about 3 too high in my opinion. But I gave him the benefit of the doubt as he probably got this answer from the “Lies to Tell a Customer to Get Rid of Them” file. Back to Dell or HP the next time.
a c 248 D Laptop
December 3, 2012 4:22:14 PM

kspeed55 said:
I called Toshiba again today just to see if there was any hope of getting an answer to my question. You are going to love this! The technician first told me that the battery would completely discharge in one day. I asked him numerous times what the computer is doing when shut off that uses so much power. This is what the he FINALLY told me: The battery discharges when it is in the computer because if it held a charge it would be hazardous. I guess sort of like smoking when you are holding a five gallon can of gasoline on your lap. This, of course, would apply any time that I am using the computer because the battery at that point has electrical charge. I suspect I will never buy a dangerous Toshiba again. I did like my previous Toshiba but did not realize I was holding such a dangerous device. He didn’t like that I gave him a 3 rating but actually that was about 3 too high in my opinion. But I gave him the benefit of the doubt as he probably got this answer from the “Lies to Tell a Customer to Get Rid of Them” file. Back to Dell or HP the next time.



Hi :) 

Thats a classic lolllllllllllllllllllllllllllll

Bit like petrol draining out of your car overnight because its dangerous...

You should have asked him HOW it discharged and WHERE it went lol...

All the best Brett :) 
a b D Laptop
December 3, 2012 4:30:48 PM

Small bank of resistors :) 

That does have to be the WORST lie EVER.
a c 248 D Laptop
December 3, 2012 5:37:55 PM

nukemaster said:
Small bank of resistors :) 

That does have to be the WORST lie EVER.



Hi :) 

You think that guy could even spell resistor, much less know what they do ? lol

All the best Brett :) 
February 8, 2013 7:29:51 PM

This probably will be my final post on this subject. I want to thank everyone for their input and update what has happened since my last post. I was away in January and the computer was unplugged for eight days. On return I found the battery to be completely dead confirming that there hasn’t been an instance of miraculous healing. I wrote to Toshiba on December 4, 2012, explaining the whole problem and my experience with their tech support. This is what I heard from them: “”. I assume that implicit in their non-reply is “Buy Dell!”.
About a week and a half ago, I got an email linking to questionnaire on my most recent order, the replacement battery (on warranty). I gave them the lowest rating and once again explained the problem in the remarks area. I can barely sleep at night awaiting their comment on this. My opinion is that Toshiba knows that they have a problem and just tried to keep me happy until the warranty ran out, which it now has. The fact that they replaced two $150.00 batteries with almost no questions asked supports this. If I ever hear any more from Toshiba I will try to add another comment. It is too bad as the computer is exactly what I need and my previous Toshiba was trouble free.
!