A school has several identical laptops bought 5 years ago: Fujistu Lifebook model A530

Since several weeks ago, around 50% of them randomly turn off after 1 to 5 minutes:

  • The shutdown is sudden: one second you work on the laptop, the next second it is completely powered off
  • Swapping the batteries of a working laptop and a broken laptop causes the working one to fail, and the failing one to work. So the problem follow the batteries
  • Only when on battery. Plugging the power cord in fixes the problem. Once unplugged, the laptop will shut down after 1 to 5 minutes again
  • Idle CPU, low memory usage. Happens even when no one is using the laptop
  • The battery charge state doesn't change anything
  • After a sudden shutdown, we can reboot the laptop without problem because the battery is still charged as before. But it will stop 1 to 5 minutes later
  • Only happens while in BIOS or running Windows 7 pro 64-bit. Everything is fine while running Linux booted from a USB key: it runs 1 hour without problem
  • The laptops worked several years without problem, and nothing as been done recently (and more: they are theoretically identical from a software point of view, so why only 50% of them?)
  • I don't see any strange programs or anything
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  • 3
    The battery is bad, replace them – Moab May 20 '16 at 21:48
  • I agree with Moab, the notebook is 4+ years old... The battery is defective or beyond it's useful life, replace it. – acejavelin May 20 '16 at 21:54
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    The laptops run more than one hour with Linux, so the batteries still have a good capacity. – Gregory MOUSSAT May 20 '16 at 22:24
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    It's a five year old computer with a problem. The solution is to replace it. For that matter, you should probably replace them all by now, as they were rather low-end when they were new. – HopelessN00b May 21 '16 at 2:42
  • Depending on what Linux distribution you downloaded Windows 7 could be drawing more power because it's using the graphics chip more for the pretty 3d desktop, while Linux is mostly using simple 2d stuff. I agree with the others who state your batteries are defective. Chances are that one or more of the cells have degraded and they simply cannot supply high current in a sustainable manner any more. Windows also has aggressive precaching on startup which could draw more power for a while, while Linux does not. – Mokubai May 21 '16 at 5:36

I flashed the BIOS et voilà, evrything is back to expected behaviour.
So I flashed each laptops. They can now use the laptops during more than 40 minutes (which is good for 5 years old batteries).
With Linux this changed nothing, so probably relying on a driver resetting the battery controler after boot.

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