Why Won't My Laptop's Power LED Turn Off?

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Reader Shawn wrote in with this power pickle:

I have a Dell Studio Laptop. When I turn off my computer, the power-button light stays on and blinks. The only way I can stop it from blinking is to disconnect the battery and then connect it again. Please help.

I have a pretty good idea what's happening here, Shawn: You're using the Studio's power button to shut down, but it's actually putting the system into standby mode. That would explain the blinking LED.

There are two easy fixes for this. First, you can click the Start button, mouse over the arrow at the bottom-right corner of the Start menu, and then click Shut Down.

(What's that? You say you've been clicking that little power-button icon to the right of the search box? Nice try, but the default Windows setting for that icon is the same as for your physical power button: standby. Here's how to turn this "sleep button" into a power button.)

Second, you can change the function of your laptop's power button so that pushing it does indeed shut down Windows rather than putting it into standby.

What you should never do is yank the battery when the power LED is blinking. That's the equivalent of turning off your PC without letting Windows shut down properly, which can cause problems.

Oh, and in case you're smacking your forehead over this, don't worry: It's a mistake anyone could make. I mean, it seems only logical that a power button would turn off the power, right?

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