Why don’t Laptops come with Full Instructions?

The other day my laptop stopped working.

Without advance notification. While I was in the middle of a client’s huge Website redesign project.

Nooooooooooooooooo, I thought. Not now.

I’d been working on it all morning, before putting it into Hibernation mode over the lunch hour. When I returned, it refused start back up.

Oh, I could hear its fan whoosh for a second. Then promptly go quiet.

I unplugged everything and re-plugged. I waited.


In frustration, I called the Geek Squad at Best Buy, hoping some techy person could help. The tech had me turn on this, unplug that, remove the battery. He had me describe in detail the sounds my machine was making. In the end, he said he couldn’t do any more and recommended I haul it back to the store and let them run a full diagnostics to see what the problem was.

Hmmm. I just didn’t want to do that. I’m up to my ears in work right now, and the store is a good hour’s drive away. That means a minimum of two hours drive time, plus who-knows-how-long waiting time.

Fortunately, my machine is still in warranty, so I called toll-free to the company that made it.

After explaining the problem again and detailing the steps I’d already performed for the Geek Squad, this representative asked me which lights were lit. To which I responded, ‘None of them. I’ve unplugged everything in preparation for taking it back to the store.’

He had me plug it back in and Voila! It worked!

Now before you think I’m another computer illiterate, I have to remind you I’ve been running my own Web Design company for eleven years now. I’ve lost count of how many computers — PCs and laptops — I’ve owned, how many lines of computer code I’ve written or corrected, how many computer issues I’ve helped others with.

And while none of us ever knows all there is to know about anything, I rather assumed I knew something about computers.

But I was wrong.

Turns out, leaving a fully charged laptop plugged in and charging makes the battery OVER-charge. It gets hot and bothered, so to speak, and just shuts down.

No bells. No whistles. No red flag. No popup warning.

Nothing. It never started smoking, never felt hot.

Why hadn’t I heard that before? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t in the manual that came with my laptop.

Oh, who am I kidding? Maybe it was. I certainly don’t read those things!

So there you have it. Learn from my mistake.

If you usually work on your laptop while it’s plugged in, at least unplug it at night to give the battery a chance to drain (or whatever it is batteries do at night!)

Did you already know this? (And if so, why didn’t you tell me?!?)

24 thoughts on “Why don’t Laptops come with Full Instructions?

  1. How inconvenient! I hate it when things like that happen to me! That is probably why my batteries go from giving me four hours to one in a matter of six months!

    • I feel your pain! I thought I’d be saving my battery by keeping it plugged in — little did I realize I wasn’t helping but hurting the situation!

  2. Debbie, thanks for informing us of this! I keep my laptop charging while I use it and rarely do I use it until the battery has drained. I do unplug it at night though. I’m so glad there was nothing seriously wrong and that your laptop is up and runnin! Why do these things always happen when we’re in the middle of special projects? Argh! I’m glad you’re “back in business”! 🙂

    • Thanks for your kind words, Bella. You’re smart to at least unplug at night — that’s what the Domer does and he doesn’t have any problems with his. Wish he’d told me that, haha!

  3. How frustrating! Computers seem to be in tune with the plumbing before house guests arrive and the oven before Thanksgiving dinner!
    Lunch hour? You plan a lunch hour for yourself? With a nourishing something? You are my hero! I’m not too busy–and I have always wanted a lunch hour, I’m just poorly organized around eating! Wow you have a lunch hour–who cares about code. 😀

    • Ah, you know I’ve just got to take a break every now and then! One’s eyes tend to cross when one is staring at code too long. Nothing like sending your house guests to the outside bathroom when the plumbing fizzles out of service!

    • Glad to hear I’m not the only one, Lynne. You’d think that would be so basic they’d remind you of it when you purchase a new machine. Or at least put an all-caps reminder in the manual!

  4. I’ve never heard of this – and I do a lot of work with computers. I leave mine plugged in almost all the time and luckily, have never encountered that problem. I’m glad you got it resolved without making a day trip out of it 🙂

  5. I don’t have a laptop, so I’m not aware of the in’s and out’s of using them. I do have an iPad, so maybe I should let the battery on it drain instead of charging it every night. Thanks for the info!

    • I think the guy at the Verizon store said something to that effect regarding my phone — that periodically, it should be allowed to drain to next-to-nothing, then charged back up again. You’ve got to love technology!!

    • Hi Charlie and Welcome! Yes, it’s so much easier for them to instruct you to haul your laptop into the store, rather than really trying to find out if they can help you over the phone. That way, perhaps you might be tempted to buy something else!

    • Glad to be of help, Terri! I guess it’s true that you learn something new every day because I didn’t know it, either. Now I’m real careful to at least unplug overnight!

    • Glad to be of help, Kathy! I certainly didn’t know this, and obviously the “geek” at Best Buy didn’t think of it either. Guess they expect all of us by now to have this technology down pat — little do they know, huh?! Thanks for your comments.

  6. I love my technology but it can drive me crazy sometime. Once I couldn’t get my wireless to work and it took my IT guy 2 days to figure out I or the teen has mistakenly flipped the switch to off on the wireless! Glad your compooper is okay!

    • My Sheltie has a sweet/annoying habit of lying down beside my desk while I work. I try to keep the surge protector way out of his path, but I just know one of these days he’s going to short-circuit everything!

    • Good point — how would a person know? Guess they expect us to muddle along clueless until our machines give us trouble, then go out and buy a new one! I don’t imagine many people want to go through all the agony of transferring of files, as well as the expense of buying new, every time there’s a battery issue!

  7. Yup I knew that! Why? Because my Son is the manager of a computer store and He does all of me and my husbands computer stuff. He told me not to leave my computer plugged it all the time for the reason you stated. I have it computer easy and I’m so thankful for my son. He just bought me a new lap top for mothers day bcause mine broke. I have 6 kids and they each have there specialties. Deb…the key here is to have a lot of kids. I wish I had an auto machinic though. Oh well this 59 year woman is done so I will shell out money and get ripped of as usual. But at least I have the computer stuff otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this reply LOL!

    • Bless you, Tanya, AND your son! I’m glad you confirmed what I was told over the phone. One never knows who one can trust these days, but hearing that your son said the same thing — well, that’s good enough for me!

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