I turned off the power management setting that makes the laptop shut down and/or hibernate when the battery gets low (because I think this was causing it to not fully discharge). Since then, I've noticed that even though I get the critical battery warning, it still sometimes runs for 15-30 more minutes before shutting down.
I've tried booting to system set-up and letting the battery fully discharge from there, but after a couple of minutes of inactivity, the thing automatically boots to Windows. I think booting from a start-up disk would serve the same purpose, but I don't have the first clue as to how to do that (both how to create a start-up disk and then how to boot from it). I also don't have a floppy drive, but have a CD/RW drive as well as a flash drive (but can you boot from a flash drive?).
Is any of this worth trying? If I can figure out how to completely discharge the battery and then recharge it a few times, will I see any significant improvement or is it totally fried?
I really don't have $100 to sink into a new battery. Any ideas?