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My parents were on vacation last weekend and franticly called me saying that they couldn't get their Inspiron 1501 to boot anymore without the BIOS whining about the battery. Before this happened, they said the "battery went dead with negligible pre-warning".

On bootup, the computer says:

WARNING: The battery cannot be identified.
This system will be unable to charge this battery.

With options to enter the BIOS or continue booting.

I got to look at the machine last night. The battery still holds a charge, and will recharge. Windows detects it as a DellPY9617 battery manufactured by "DynaPack". I didn't get the BIOS revision, but the machine's ship date was 7/21/2007.

The recommendations I could find on the internet varied from "discharge the battery completely" to "your computer is too old" to "update the BIOS", and wanted a more specific answer before doing something drastic.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Well, the battery is out of warranty, due to the lovely 1-year warranty they put on them.

Some batteries have a test button on them, which you can hold in to see if the battery thinks it is good internally. (hold the button for a few seconds, the lights should flash). Generally, some or all of the lights should come on. If they flash rapidly, there is a problem. If they don't light up at all, there is a problem. If it skips some of them, there is a REAL problem (I had one like that).

If you can find a spare battery to verify machine / battery, that would be good. You could also double check contacts on the battery and laptop to make sure they are clean. If you end up needing a new battery, Pacific Battery Systems generally has good deals and 18month warranties.

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NOTE: Apparently some batteries do not provide additional feedback when you HOLD the test button in. So, if you hold it in and the lights go out, that may not be an indication of a dead (eol) battery. – user10373 Sep 8 '09 at 13:19

I've seen a Dell Vostro with the same problem. Looking on the Dell support site, I found a Bios update that fixed that exact same problem.

I would recommend checking the Dell support site for a Bios update.

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I downloaded the Dell BIOS upgrade and tried serveral times running it unsuccessfully. I then removed the battery, running on AC power and right clicked and Ran as Adminitrator.

DOS screen came up and after a while it was a success!

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