I have a new ThinkPad W500 laptop (w/ 9 cell battery) running Windows 7 RTM 64-bit. All drivers* and BIOS are the latest. Battery life appeared poor so I performed several tests under the following conditions:

  • Battery starts with 100% charge
  • Screen on minimum brightness
  • Screen saver running
  • Wifi n enabled and active
  • "Normal" set of programs running including Outlook 2007, FeedDemon, TweetDeck and antivirus
  • Laptop left untouched during tests

Under the above conditions, I clocked under 2 hours of battery life across 3 tests (1:49, 1:52, 1:47). If I actually use the computer, we're looking at 1:30.

Something is not right...

  • The smoking gun here is that Lenovo hasn't officially released Windows 7 drivers for this laptop. I haven't tried with Vista or XP yet.

What are others seeing?

Update: For W500 owners w/ the 9 cell battery, what value do you see for "Full charge capacity" when on the Battery tab of the Power Manager utility? I see 81.87 Wh.

  • If it is still under warranty, I would suggest you contact Lenovo and get it repaired. It may be just as simple as getting the battery replaced (or as dire as a new laptop).
    – Josh Hunt
    Oct 8, 2009 at 8:22

6 Answers 6


The problem was the switchable graphics driver (a feature of this ThinkPad) not working properly. If you look at the second instance of "**" in question How do I achieve a working switchable graphics install and config on a ThinkPad W500 running Windows 7 64-bit RTM? you'll see my switchable graphics driver problem. From the question:

...During the short period where I did manage to get switchable graphics working and had "Energy Saver" selected, the ThinkPad Power Manager showed 2 hours and 47 minutes of runtime (when fully charged) vs. the approx. 2 hours it showed before switchable graphics was running (I haven't yet done an actual run time test). I need to test this out more but it's an interesting correlation.

I redid the test stated in this question and got an unbelievable 7 hours and 46 minutes of run time at idle. I'll likely see less than half that during normal usage, but I'll update the answer after I test it.


When buying a laptop, remember this one, simple rule:

Manufacturers lie about battery life

Without knowing too much about that particular laptop, everything seems just about right. You seem to be running everything at their 'maximum' setting, so the only thing you could do to drain the batter quicker would be to start some heavy 3D gaming.

If you are after a longer battery life from your laptop, try turning Wi-Fi and Bluetooth off and the brightness down. Disabling Aero would also give you a few extra minutes.

It is possible that official Windows 7 drivers would extend the battery life a bit, but I wouldn't expect too much.

If you are still experiencing low battery life even after official Windows 7 drivers (or downgrading to XP or Vista), I would suggest you get it 'fixed' under warranty (assuming you have not voided it). After all, that's what it's there for!

My Macbook boasts a 5 hour battery life, but the only way to achieve this is to disable the backlight, bluetooth, wifi, sound. Also, it helps to not actually do anything.

  • I should have noted in my post that I'm not comparing my experience to Lenovo's spec sheet. However, I suspect that less than 2 hours for no activity is not representative of what other W500 users are seeing. Also, you said: << You seem to be running everything at their 'maximum' setting, so the only thing you could do to drain the batter quicker would be to start some heavy 3D gaming. >> It's the opposite - this is a minimal load. Screen is on minimum brightness and I don't touch the laptop during the entire time. This means limited disk i/o, limited network, etc.
    – Matthew
    Oct 8, 2009 at 8:00
  • I apologise indefinitely. I misread 'minimum' as 'maximum'.
    – Josh Hunt
    Oct 8, 2009 at 8:19
  • +1 for not doing anything.
    – Xavierjazz
    Oct 9, 2009 at 5:01
  • Ironically it wasn't the Windows 7 video driver per se, but the lack of a working video driver for the switchable graphics.
    – Matthew
    Oct 25, 2009 at 6:16

ThinkPad W500 laptop (w/ 9 cell battery)

I clocked under 2 hours of battery life across 3 tests (1:49, 1:52, 1:47). If I actually use the computer, we're looking at 1:30.

I would think that the battery's probably damaged, with respect to its Charge retaining capacity. Check the state of your battery's wear level using Notebook Hardware Control.

  • Thanks for this link. It doesn't work with 64-bit Windows but I'm going to boot another operating system and try.
    – Matthew
    Oct 9, 2009 at 1:30

According to this test on Review Update Lenovo Thinkpad W500 Notebook, carried out with a 6-cell battery, battery life is:

Idle (without WLAN, min brightness) - 3h 32min
Surfing with WLAN - 2h 40min
DVD - 2h 12min
Load (maximum brightness) - 1h 11min

You may compare these times with Lenovo's claim for 3.9 hours battery life ....

So it seems that your 9-cell battery is a bit weak. On the other hand, don't expect that the performance will be any like the specs given by Lenovo.


I'm definitely seeing more battery life on mine, and I have the 6-cell battery.

Did you disable switchable graphics in the BIOS? Try measuring with only the integrated card or the discreet one. The switchable graphics driver for the W/T500 is basically the only driver that doesn't exist yet for Windows&nbsp:7.


I wonder if any W500 users have used Windows 7 and Windows Vista on the same machine. On my Dell 1525, under Windows 7 the battery life (according to the meter) is about 20% lower than using Windows Vista. Many reports have said that Windows 7 will use less power, and it certainly is less resource hungry, but my experience (albeit on only one machine) doesn't agree.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.