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My laptop's battery started performing badly after switching to Ubuntu and unfortunately I was no longer within the warranty period so I figured I had to buy a new battery at some point. I switched back to Windows for school later on. The battery would last about 3.5/4 hours at this point, and worked like that for almost a year.

I wanted to use Ubuntu again about a week ago and after installing it my battery performed even worse, only lasting about 1 to 1.5 hours. I wondered if using Windows would at least reverse the condition but after doing that my laptop now exclusively works plugged in. Windows says "plugged in, not charging" but the charger itself isn't damaged at all. Seeing how to battery acted before it makes more sense anyway that it is in fact defect.

It seems I've undergone battery issues three times after changing OS. I've never heard anything regarding this so I was wondering if you guys might have. Could this have been the reason my battery died?

The laptop is "only" 2.5 years old and it was an expensive one at that. It seems very odd behavior. It's a Samsung Ativ Book 9 if anyone is wondering.

Thanks for reading and thanks in advance.

Regards,

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What you're seeing seems more like a change in power management than a case of the OS damaging the battery. It might be that your power management settings in Windows were/are much more aggressive than what you are/were using in Ubuntu. It only takes a longer screen sleep delay, not turning off the HDD during sleep, etc. to make the difference in battery life you're seeing.

Meanwhile, simple age is depleting your battery's capacity over time, so after running Ubuntu for a few months (many dozens of charge cycles, most likely) you'd see somewhat reduced life on switching back in Windows, compared to previously, even with identical power management settings to the previous Windows usage.

In general, however, no, changing OS won't damage your battery -- but just using the machine over a period of years will wear out the battery, slowly.

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  • Thanks for the reply. I suppose I'll just have to buy a new battery and hope for the best :) – Penalapa Dec 23 '15 at 22:30
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In short - damage? No. Use and report its usage differently? Yes.

There are various threads reporting behaviour somewhat like what you describe.

Ubuntu 12.04 Battery problem

Is there ongoing work in the kernel team to improve battery life under linux?

The main cause may be that it's not very straightforward for a generic multi-platform and multi-archicture operating system (Ubuntu) to match the native drivers provided by the vendor to optimize for the most efficient power usage.

Additionally, a genuine battery straight from the vendor at 2.5 years of age should be performing quite well, at this age it's conceivable that it already started to deteriorate.

Your usage under Linux might be very different as well. It's very well possible for any user to handle different workloads under Linux than under Windows. It's not as common to run, under Windows, web servers, multiple language backends, multiple databases, and long running infrastructure services on a laptop.

It can also make a big difference to ongoing battery life when you charge, and how do you charge your batteries. It doesn't do too much good to keep a device on charger for example. Also, you may be doing it differently when you use your laptop with different programs.

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  • Thanks for the reply. I left my laptop in the charger a lot so that perhaps helped it's accelerated deterioration. – Penalapa Dec 23 '15 at 22:29

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