For about a month now, my Dell laptop ( XPS M1210, purchased August 2006 ) has displayed the following message whenever I boot up the computer or switch to the battery mode:
Your battery is able to charge normally. However it is reaching the end of its usable life.
When I look at more details about the problem, I read this:
Your battery is able to charge normally. However it is reaching the end of its usable life. You can experience a longer operating time with a new battery. You might want to consider purchasing a replacement battery now.
A normal characteristic of a rechargable battery is that its operating duration decreases over time. The battery may eventually need to be replaced. Based on this characteristic, consumed batteries may not be covered under warranty.
I have also noticed that my usable battery time (which used to be 3-4 hours when I purchased the laptop 5 months ago) was now down to about 1 hour. In addition, the cooling fan revs up when I launch firefox! The loud cooling fan used to only come on when I launched a graphics-intense video game. Perhaps the battery is overheating and so the cooling fan is kicking on more often...
Regardless of what the problem is, a battery should not be reaching the end of its usable life after less than 6 months!