Why is My Laptop Plugged in and Not Charging? Troubleshooting Tips & Solutions

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The issue of a laptop plugged in but not charging is not only a widespread but a highly frustrating one. Addressing this issue quickly is imperative to avoid potential damage or loss of productivity. This article aims to provide an overview of the potential causes of a laptop not charging and the possible solutions you can employ. By the end, you’ll be better equipped to identify the root cause, implement a fix, and avoid similar problems in the future.

Potential Causes of a Laptop Not Charging

1. Faulty AC Adapter

a. Checking for Visible Damage or Frayed Cords

One of the most common reasons a laptop is plugged in but not charging is a faulty AC adapter. Regularly inspect your adapter for visible damage, such as frayed cords, exposed wires, or broken connectors. If you notice any of these issues, it’s time to replace the adapter.

b. Testing the Adapter with a Voltmeter

To confirm your AC adapter is the source of the problem, you can use a voltmeter to test its output voltage. The adapter’s rated voltage should be listed on its label or in the laptop’s user manual. If the output voltage is significantly lower than the rated voltage, the adapter is likely dysfunctional and requires replacement.

2. Damaged Power Jack or Power Connector

a. Signs of Damage or Loose Connection

A damaged power jack or connector can also cause your laptop to be plugged in and not charging. Check for visible damage, such as bent or broken metal contacts, or any signs of the connection feeling loose or wobbly. If you find any such issues, you may need to repair or replace the part.

b. Repairing or Replacing the Part

If the power jack or connector is damaged, the best course of action is to take it to a qualified technician for repair or replacement. Attempting DIY repairs can cause further damage or void your laptop’s warranty.

3. Battery-Related Problems

a. Battery Wear and Tear

Over time, batteries degrade and lose their ability to hold a charge, causing your laptop to be plugged in but not charging. To check if this is the issue, remove the battery and connect the laptop directly to the AC adapter. If the laptop powers on, the battery is likely the culprit.

b. Calibrating the Battery

A battery calibration procedure can help restore a battery’s performance. To calibrate your laptop’s battery, completely drain it, then recharge it to 100%. After that, let the battery rest for a few hours before using it again. This process helps the battery gauge its capacity more accurately.

c. Replacing the Battery

If calibration doesn’t work or the battery is too degraded, it’s time to replace it. Purchase a new battery from a reliable source to ensure compatibility and performance.

4. Software and Settings Issues

a. Incorrect Power Settings

Sometimes, the issue of a laptop plugged in and not charging might be software-related. Check your power settings to ensure they’re correctly configured. Make sure your laptop isn’t set to disable charging when the battery reaches a certain level.

b. Updating System Drivers

Outdated system drivers might also be the cause of a laptop not charging while plugged in. Update your drivers to the latest version to ensure proper communication between your laptop and the battery.

c. Troubleshooting Through the Operating System

Most operating systems, such as Windows or macOS, come with built-in troubleshooting tools. Running these tools can help you identify the source of the charging issue.

Preventative Measures to Avoid Charging Issues

1. Proper Care for the AC Adapter

a. Avoiding Tight Bends or Wrapping the Cord

Taking proper care of your AC adapter can extend its lifespan and prevent any charging issues. Never tug the cable or allow it to bend excessively, as this can cause internal damage. When storing the adapter, avoid tightly wrapping the cord around it.

b. Use of a Surge Protector

To protect your laptop and AC adapter from power surges, always use a surge protector when plugging in your charger.

2. Safeguarding the Power Jack and Power Connector

a. Avoiding Yanking the Power Cord

Yanking or aggressively pulling the power cord from your laptop may damage the power jack or connector. Always remove the cord gently to avoid such problems.

b. Keeping the Laptop on a Stable Surface

To prevent placing undue stress on the power jack or connector, always use your laptop on a flat and stable surface.

3. Battery Maintenance and Care

a. Regular Calibration

Regularly calibrating your laptop’s battery ensures accurate capacity readings and prolongs its lifespan. Aim to perform a battery calibration every two to three months.

b. Proper Storage and Use

Extreme temperatures, such as excessive heat or cold, can damage your laptop’s battery. Always use and store your laptop in appropriate environmental conditions to extend the life of your battery.

4. Regular Software Updates and System Maintenance

a. Keeping Drivers Up to Date

Stay on top of system driver updates to maintain optimal performance and communication between your laptop and its battery.

b. Operating System Updates

Regularly updating your laptop’s operating system helps improve security, performance, and compatibility with third-party software, ultimately preventing potential charging issues from arising.


Understanding the potential causes and solutions for a laptop being plugged in but not charging is crucial not only for maintaining the overall health of your device but also for ensuring a seamless and productive work environment. With proper laptop care and maintenance, along with awareness of the issues mentioned above, you can keep your laptop working efficiently for years to come. As technology advances and new charging methods emerge, staying informed and adapting will further guarantee optimal performance and longevity of your laptop.


1. How can I tell if my AC adapter is faulty?

You can check for visible damage or frayed cords, and use a voltmeter to test its output voltage. If the output voltage is significantly different from the rated voltage, it’s likely time to replace the adapter.

2. Can an operating system update cause charging issues?

It’s possible, but unlikely. If charging issues coincide with an OS update, try rolling back to an older version or contacting the manufacturer for support.

3. How often should I calibrate my laptop battery?

Aim to calibrate your laptop battery every two to three months.

4. Can I fix a damaged power jack myself?

Fixing a damaged power jack requires technical expertise and attempting DIY repairs can cause further damage or void your laptop’s warranty. Always consult a qualified technician.

5. How can I avoid damaging my AC adapter?

Avoid tightly wrapping the cord or bending it unnecessarily, and use a surge protector when plugging in your charger.

6. Do all laptops allow for battery calibration?

No, not all laptops offer battery calibration. Check the user manual or contact the manufacturer for guidance on specific models.

7. Will a universal charger work with all laptops?

Universal chargers often come with interchangeable tips and adapters. While they can work with many laptops, it’s important to verify that they meet the voltage and current requirements specific to your device.