How Do I Check the Battery in a Desktop PC?

By Bonnie Conrad

Your computer battery is important
i computer image by Ewe Degiampietro from

While there are many sophisticated electronic components in the typical desktop computer, one of the most important pieces of hardware is a simple battery. Desktop computers use a battery that is similar in shape to a watch battery, except that it is slightly larger. The purpose of this battery is to hold the settings for the computer, including the amount of memory installed in the system and the current time and date. Checking the condition of that battery, and knowing the signs of a battery failure, can help you head avoid potential problems.

Start your computer and watch for any messages. If you see a message saying "time and date not set" it is an indication that the battery either has failed or is starting to fail.

Log on to your computer and look at the right hand corner of the screen. This is where the date and time are displayed. Make sure the time is correct, then monitor the time displayed on your computer. If you notice that the clock is losing time the battery should be replaced.

Restart your computer and look for a message that says "press X to enter setup." Different computer manufacturers will use different function keys to enter the setup program, so it is important to pay attention to this message. For instance, HP computers will typically use the F10 key to enter setup, while many Dells use the F2 or F12 key.

Enter the setup program and look for the diagnostic menu. Run diagnostics on all the hardware components. If there is a problem with any of the hardware, including the battery, you will see a failure notification or a warning message.