How to Swap Batteries on a Laptop - dummies

By Dan Gookin

Laptops don’t share a common battery size and shape. So, although you cannot swap batteries with another laptop user (unless they have exactly the same kind of battery), you can buy your laptop a second battery and use the battery to prolong battery life.

Whether your laptop came with two batteries or you purchased one after the fact, swapping batteries works simply:

  1. Charge the spare battery.

    No point in swapping in a dead battery.

  2. Save all your stuff before the swap.

  3. Have the spare battery at hand.

  4. Eject the laptop’s battery.

  5. Insert the spare.

  6. Continue working.

Your laptop has the ability to keep itself alive while the batteries are being swapped. As long as you do so immediately, you should be able to remove the battery and replace it with no interruption in computing (though the screen may go blank).

  • Use a Sharpie to label batteries. Name them A and B or Fred and Ethel. That way, you don’t mistakenly swap in the same battery. Avoid using tape or any sticky substance to label a battery, because the sticky stuff is adversely affected by the battery’s heat.

  • If you discover that your laptop cannot survive swapping, shut down or hibernate the laptop first. After swapping batteries, turn the laptop on again.

  • Laptop batteries are charged in the laptop. After charging the first battery in the laptop, remove it and charge the second.

  • Store your battery so it is protected from moisture and extremes of temperature. A clear plastic bag inside the house works well.

  • Some laptops come with external battery chargers. If your laptop has one, use it. Some companies may have a rack charger for a whole host of batteries. If you’re obsessive, you can buy one for your house. Put it in the “sewing room” that no one uses.

  • Keep in mind that you aren’t allowed to pack spare laptop batteries in your checked luggage, only in your carry-on baggage. Furthermore, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) prefers that you cover the spare battery’s terminals with electrical tape and store the battery in a clear plastic bag.