11 Steps to Solve Laptop Is Plugged In But Not Charging

Laptops are handy and, as the name suggests, you can fit them over your lap and carry them around. Since this is a portable device, you will need to charge it, frequently. Laptops can put you in a very annoying situation when they refuse to charge even when you have connected the charger to it. Though this might seem like something you might need professional help with, you can fix it on your own with the help of this article. 

Factors that can prevent your laptop from charging

There are four factors that can stop your laptop from being charged. They are as follows –

  1. Damaged power adapter
  2. Broken charger cord
  3. Old laptop batteries
  4. Outdated battery driver software

What can I do when my laptop is plugged in but not charging?

240V Chicony charger with adapter brick for MSI laptops

The biggest symptom you’ll see when your charger is connected and the laptop does not charge is that the charger plugged in LED light does not glow. If your laptop is being charged, you’ll see a glowing light and the battery icon near your task tray will have a small plug icon near it.

These are the methods that you can take before you hand the laptop over to a professional for expert repair if you are a laptop user who is facing a non-charging power problem. Make sure the switch to the socket that contains the plug is on. This is a hilarious mistake that everyone makes. If the switch is on and you are not able to charge your laptop, here’s what you have to do.

Windows Laptops

  • Take a look at your Power Cord and Charging Adapter
  • Check your laptop’s charging port
  • Take the battery out and charge it
  • Make Sure You’re Using the Right Charger and Port
  • Limit the CPU Resources
  • Check the Windows Power Options
  • Update the Battery Drivers
  • Uninstall and Reinstall the Laptop battery drivers
  • Use a different charger
  • Get a new battery

macOS exclusive methods

  • Test the hardware manually 
  • Reset the System Management Controller (SMC)

Solving the laptop plugged-in but not charging issue

The methods, to get your laptop battery charging again, that follow are split into two categories – Windows and macOS exclusives. Some of the methods in the Windows section can also be applied to Macbooks also, while the macOS exclusives can be used only on Macbooks with the SMC feature.


Take a look at your Power Cord and AC Adapter

The Charger for a laptop, generally, consists of the laptop’s power connector, adapter, and a power cable with a charging pin. Your first step should be to check if these components are properly connected. 

Any part of this charger can become damaged because of an incorrect power supply or animal bites. Dogs and rats nibbling wires are not rare news. This damage is visible without having to open any part. 

Damaged MacBook Pro charger cable

Also, Too much power wattage can blow the circuit inside the adapter. It is recommended to test your socket before plugging the charger into your surge protector or wall outlet and switching it on. You will be able to smell the burnt adapter if your AC adapter brick had burned out.

If the charger kit is damaged, you will have to get a new charger to power up your laptop. You can buy a new charger from the brand store or an online shop. Make sure you purchase a charger of the correct voltage for your laptop since your laptop might need more or less power depending on its performance and utility.

Check your laptop’s charging port

The charger slot on your laptop could be damaged or loose, due to blunt force or accumulation of rust or dust. This does not make it easy to charge your device. You can try cleaning it with a dry cotton bud and then, plugging in the charger properly. 

Charger port on the left side of an MSI GF63 laptop

Try charging the device and if it still doesn’t, take your laptop to a service center or carefully wrap it and send it to the seller to fix it or give the laptop a new charging port. Handle your laptop with extreme care. 

Take the battery out and charge it

Recent laptops have in-built batteries that cannot be removed without opening the panel under them. Older laptop models allow users to disconnect the oblong batteries, after removing a little latch. 

HP Laptop battery being removed

Perform a power cycle, by pressing the power button for about 15 seconds and then, disconnect the removable battery from the bottom of your laptop, and then, plug the charger into the port. Check if the charging process begins. 

Under normal circumstances, your laptop should be able to function normally when the charger is connected but the charge will not be retained without a battery. Once you pull the charger out, your laptop will shut down, instantly. 

This issue can also be caused when the laptop has a bum battery or if the laptop is not connected properly. It is recommended to have a replacement battery with you always.

Note: A Power Cycle is the process of draining the residual power of the battery by turning the device off and back on again. 

Make Sure You’re Using the Right Charger and Port

This is a confusing factor that doesn’t let you charge your laptop. If you have more than one laptop, it can be really confusing which charger belongs to which laptop, unless they are properly organized. You also need to be using the charger of the correct voltage or slightly higher but a lesser power supply will not charge your laptop fast enough.

Connected charger and Batter charging light on the side of an MSI laptop

If the pin at the end of your charging cable is thin enough, you could push it into the headphone or microphone slot by mistake and this will neither charge your laptop nor help you listen to sounds from the laptop. 

If you have a thin laptop, you could be using the USB-C port and charger. Some laptops permit the type C slot only for data transfer, and this will not charge your device. Certain models have two USB-C ports, making them convenient for, both, charging and data-transferring. 

Check if you are using the correct charger and where you are inserting the pin. 

Limit the CPU Resources

More active programs mean more heat for the laptop. Since some laptops do not have cooling systems as efficient as those for desktop PCs, overheating is a common issue and can chip away at your battery life. You will have to end some programs in the Windows Task Manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc).

Windows Task Manager main page

You can also check how much memory is being used by the processes.

Check the Windows Power Options

The Power Plan settings and your laptop’s battery go hand in hand. You will have to set these settings to the default for optimal battery usage and these are the steps. 

  1. Open the Windows Settings by pressing the Windows key and I key together or by opening the Start menu and clicking on the gear icon on your left panel.
System tile in the Settings main menu
  1. Go into the System tile > Power & Sleep tab > Additional power settings option. This will open the Power Plan settings page in the Control Panel.
Plan Settings page in the Windows Control Panel
  1. Click on the Restore default settings for this plan link at the bottom of the options.

These are general settings for every Windows laptop. If you have a Lenovo laptop, you can use the Lenovo Settings or Lenovo Vantage app to change the battery settings. 

Lenovo Vantage application home page

For users with Dell laptops, you can run the exclusive hardware diagnostic test to fix the Dell battery. 

Update the Battery Drivers

Since the battery is a powerful component of the computer, they have certain drivers. Update them and maybe this will fix the not charging issue. Here’s how you can update them.

  1. Right-click on the Start button and select Device Manager from the Quick Link menu. 
  2. Expand the Batteries section by clicking on it. You’ll see your battery and battery-related devices listed here. 
  3. Right-click on the Microsoft AC Adapter device and select Update driver from the context menu.
Microsoft AC Adapter's context menu in the Device Manager
  1. From here, make choices as per your needs. The chances of you finding updates are less, but this step is worth a try. 

Uninstall and Reinstall the Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery driver software

  1. Open the Device Manager through the Quick Link menu (Windows + X) or through the search bar on the taskbar. 
  2. Open up the Batteries section and right-click on the Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery.
  3. Choose Uninstall device from the pop-up menu and then, confirm it in the prompt window by clicking on Uninstall.
Microsoft AC Adapter's context menu in the Device Manager
  1. Then, right-click on the Batteries section and select Scan for Hardware changes to get a replacement for this driver. 

Use a different charger

Check your wall socket and the charger as the problem might lie with the charger. Try charging your laptop with a different charger and if your laptop starts charging, this means that the problem lies with the charger, charger cable, or power jack. You can get a new charger for your laptop if this is your case.

Get a new battery

The last thing you can do about a laptop that isn’t charging is to get a new battery for your laptop. You will need professional help for this so you will have to take your laptop to a computer repair shop for this operation. If the same laptop is available, try swapping batteries and check if this workaround helps you.

These are the methods that can help you make your laptop charge again. There are some forums suggesting updating the system BIOS/UEFI, and you can try it if you wish. But there are no guarantees that this will fix your charging issue. 

macOS exclusive methods

2019 16 inch  Space Gray MacBook Pro

Test the hardware manually

Users with a MacBook can check the battery power by checking the battery’s status. This is what you have to do to check battery health.

  1. Press the Control key and while you are still holding it, click on the Apple icon.
  2. In the window that appears on your screen, select the Power tab from the left panel of the menus. 
  3. Check the health information section and the condition should be normal.

This is just a verification to check if the laptop battery is working fine. 

Reset the System Management Controller (SMC)

The SMC has the ability to fix battery-related issues for Mac users. If this is reset, your Mac may be able to get charged again. These are the steps to reset the Mac SMC.

  1. Turn the MacBook off and plug the AC adapter into the device.
  2. Without turning the MacBook back on, press the Shift, Control, and Option keys on the keyboard, simultaneously. The LED light on your AC adapter will change its color, for a few seconds. 
  3. Now, reboot your device and check if the MacBook is charging.