HP Spectre x360 battery not charging

I have an HP Spectre x360 laptop. It’s a model 13-4009na from 2015. Normally it’s wonderful but very occasionally the battery won’t charge when plugged into the charger.

One symptom is that the mouseover on the battery icon in the Windows system tray shows as “plugged in, not charging” even though the charger is plugged in and regardless of the battery level:

Picture of the Windows system tray battery icon with mouseover text reading “88% available (plugged in, not charging)”.

The other symptom is that the charging light next to the charger socket flashes white once a second:

Animation of the light next to the charger input flashing white once a second

The usual tricks of unplugging the charger or shutting down Windows don’t work. With the charger unplugged the charger light goes solid white instead of turning off.

Having run a battery diagnostic (repeatedly, including the BIOS version) to rule out a battery problem, I was eventually able to work out a way to fix this and get the battery charging.

NOTE: I take no responsibility for this technique, it’s not been approved by HP. You must run a battery diagnostic first.

Having said that, nothing in this technique is anything that you might not do occasionally in normal operation when using the device.

The steps are as follows:

  1. Shut down Windows fully.
    • This is primarily to ensure there’s no state in RAM that we’ll lose if we do the later steps incorrectly.
  2. Unplug the charger.
  3. Turn the laptop on and enter the BIOS by pressing F2 (repeatedly, to ensure the system detects the button press).
    • We don’t need the BIOS, we just don’t want Windows to be doing anything in the later steps.
    • This might be a good time to run the battery diagnostic if you haven’t already done so.
  4. Press and hold the power button on the side of the laptop keeping it held down for ten seconds until the laptop does a hard power-off.
    • This is the critical step. All the other steps were to ensure we wouldn’t lose any information when we did this.
  5. Plug the charger back in and restart the laptop. The charger should now be working.

The signs that the charger is now working are that the battery system tray icon mouseover text now shows that the battery is charging:

Picture of the Windows system tray battery icon with mouseover text reading “88% available (plugged in, charging)”.

And the light next to the charger socket is the usual orange indicating the battery is charging normally:

Picture of a solid orange light next to the charger

The first time I did this, the problem reappeared after a few days. So, the second time I ran the battery down to a low level (below 20%, I think) before performing the reset. That seemed to fix the problem. At least, it’s now months between recurrences. Hence, I can’t remember the exact details as I’ve had to do it only once.

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