What Does It Mean When It Says "Battery Voltage Is Low" on a Dell Computer?

By Benny Taylor

Updated September 28, 2017

The CMOS battery contains important system settings.
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Dell computers use a small, button-size battery to help to store the system hardware settings contained within a CMOS chip while the computer is off. If you receive a message saying that your system battery voltage is low when powering up your computer, your computer is indicating a problem with the installation of the battery or with the battery itself, which probably needs to be replaced.


The CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) chip, found in all modern computers, stores a range of hardware related settings including information about your system memory and the hard drive(s) attached to your computer. The chip also contains security settings including passwords and it maintains the system date and time.


Dell’s documentation states that a “battery voltage is low” message appears when the system detects insufficient voltage coming from the battery. When this occurs, your computer may lose date, time and hardware information while powered off, and require you to provide this information via the system set up screens before your operating system will start to load.


Dell’s manuals suggest that, in the first instance, you attempt to reseat the battery. Consult the system documentation for your specific Dell computer model to establish the location of the battery. Reseating the battery requires you to open up your computer, remove the battery and reinstall it in the battery slot. Ensure you take precautions to discharge static from your body to avoid damage to your computer—use a grounding strap or ensure you touch the metal casing of the machine before touching any components.


Dell states that batteries can explode if incorrectly installed. For this reason, you may prefer to employ a computer expert rather than undertaking the battery reseating procedure yourself.


If the error continues to occur after you reseat the battery, it is likely that the battery needs replacing. Ensure you purchase the correct battery model for your computer—check the specifications, and contact Dell technical support if you are in any doubt.