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My Dell laptop has two little battery icons on its F2 and F3 keys, one with an electric bolt (F2), and one without (F3). It appears that these little battery Fn-keys enable and disable battery charging.

I found this out inadvertently when I tried pressing them both and got no UI feedback... then later I noticed my battery status icon was low, and the tooltip was reporting "Battery plugged in (not charging)".

So I pressed Fn-F2 (the one with the bolt) and the icon indicated it was charging once again.

This was totally trial-and-error, and there was little indication as to what I was supposed to do. In fact, there are dozens of "Plugged in, not charging" results on Google, and I wonder how many are due to this simple mistake.

Are these standard buttons, or are they Dell proprietary? Is there typically more UI feedback for the enabling/disabling of battery charging?

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Thats a nice feature for sure. –  Moab Jan 20 '11 at 22:09
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2 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I have the same buttons on my Lattitude, they are definitely proprietary buttons.

My laptop is fairly new and there is absolutely no UI notification that I pressed them. If you don't notice the battery not charging in the task bar I don't see any other way of getting this information.

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This is not an answer, it is a comment. –  Xavierjazz Jan 20 '11 at 21:01
    
Are these standard buttons, or are they Dell proprietary? Is there typically more UI feedback for the enabling/disabling of battery charging? I told him yes they are proprietary and no there is no UI feedback for the enabling or disabling of battery charging.... not sure what else there was to answer @xavierjazz. If you still think there is an issue I'll delete it, I really don't care, just trying to help the guy out... –  Kyle Jan 20 '11 at 21:05
    
@Kyle - I think this is an answer. –  Shinrai Jan 20 '11 at 22:42
    
I just noticed that there is a "battery charging" indicator light next to the Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and I/O activity lights. That indicator turns off and on when the battery is charging. I typically use my laptop docked, so I didn't notice that behavior until today. Mystery solved! –  mskfisher Jan 24 '11 at 15:48
    
@mskfisher I see what your saying, I didn't even notice that light there. Although I still wish there was a pop up on screen when that button is hit. –  Kyle Jan 24 '11 at 16:05
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Not sure if this is the purpose of your buttons, but I do know that certain battery technologies (namely the Nickel-metal varieties) sort of wear out the battery if you charged them before they were fully drained or only partially charge the battery. In this circumstance, you might want to prevent your laptop from charging the battery until it is fully drained and you are able to leave it to charge long enough to charge it to full.

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Good point. My Latitude has a Lithium Ion and still has the buttons, I guess they never got rid of them... –  Kyle Jan 20 '11 at 21:53
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