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What is the USB PowerShare Feature on Dell Laptops

Summary: This article describes the PowerShare (Power Share) feature on Dell laptops that allows you to charge USB devices when the laptop is on battery power. (For example: Cellular phones, CD players, DVD players, MP3 players, and so on.) ...

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NOTE: You can easily identify laptops with this feature. Look for either the lightning bolt or battery USB symbol beside the USB port on the chassis of the laptop.  

On many of the new laptops, the default setting in the Basic Input Output System (BIOS) for the USB PowerShare option is: Disabled

Only those USB ports with either a lightning bolt icon or a battery icon as seen in the following images can be used for this purpose.

USB PowerShare lightning bolt Icon

(Figure.1 USB PowerShare lightning bolt Icon)

USB PowerShare battery Icon

(Figure.2 USB PowerShare battery Icon)

NOTE: To enter the BIOS, press the F2 function key on the keyboard at the Dell logo screen after turning the laptop on.

USB PowerShare BIOS setting

You can enable PowerShare on the laptop and set it up under the On-Board Devices heading. You can select the amount of the battery's charge that can be used for sharing. (See the following picture.) If you set it to 25%, then the USB device can charge until the laptop battery reaches 25% of its full capacity.

(For example: Until the laptop has consumed 75% of its battery charge.)

NOTE: You setting menu may vary depending on your laptops BIOS revision. Look for Onboard Devices or System Configuration in the BIOS settings. The following screenshots show some of the differing menu layouts and wording for the USB PowerShare options. Look for either USB PowerShare or USB Configuration options.

USB PowerShare BIOS Screen

(Figure.3 USB PowerShare BIOS Screen)

The USB PowerShare feature is turned off and any devices attached to the USB PowerShare port do not charge when this option is set to Disabled. You can enable the feature by selecting any other setting. (You must specify the amount of the laptop battery's capacity where it stops charging a USB device attached to one of the USB PowerShare ports.)

NOTE: PowerShare can be set to power devices while the laptop is in a low-power state (Standby) mode or turned off (Powered Down). This depends on the BIOS settings that you select in newer BIOS revisions. This can drain your battery if the AC adapter is not connected.
  • S1: USB power is on by default with either AC or battery only (powered on)
  • S3: Battery or AC (Standby)
  • S4 and S5: AC only (Hibernate and Powered down)
NOTE: The laptop may allow the battery to discharge down to 50% before the PowerShare feature is disabled. This depends on the model of laptop and the revision of the BIOS.

Ensure that the USB configuration options are enabled and ticked. (The options you see depends on the model of your laptop and the revision of your BIOS. The following screenshot is only an example.)

BIOS USB Configuration screen image

(Figure.4 BIOS USB Configuration screen image)

NOTE: Some older laptops do not support the USB PowerShare feature. (For example: The Latitude E6510.) 

Newer Dell laptops use the Dell AgS BIOS. (Current Dell BIOS includes touch screen and touchpad capability outside of the operating system in use on the laptop.) You must enable the USB PowerShare or Enable USB PowerShare setting under the Power settings menu for this type of BIOS. (See Figure 5):

Enable USB PowerShare setting

Figure 5: Enable USB PowerShare setting in BIOS

Run the Diagnostic Tests

Browse to the Dell Quick test Diagnostics page and follow the prompts, to help if you have any issues with USB ports.

Additional Information

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Article Properties

Affected Product

Alienware, Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Mobile Workstations

Last Published Date

10 Apr 2024



Article Type

How To