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Yes, most likely you may need to replace the battery. Try to get a different cell capacity this time (I do not know if you currently have a 6 cell or 9 cell battery). Once it's not keeping a charge it most likely has a problem.
Hope this helps...
Try taking out battery and plug in power. If it works, battery is faulty. If not, Try taking out your hard disk plug in power, if it works, hard disk is faulty. If not, Try taking out memory card, if there's a sound, memory card faulty. If no sound, it's your motherboard that is causing the error.
Note: If machine is under warranty no need to pay for the repairs.
Unfortunately, I have seen this many times. One of the major problems with the C400 model was the USB port failing. I have had many of them replaced under warranty, and I have repaired some. The USB port breaks loose from the mother board and stops working. It is possible to SOMETIMES disassemble the laptop enough to get to the port and re-solder the USB port connections. But is is a slow process for experienced people. And it does not work all of the time. i know that this is not the answer that you wanted.
First check the sound settings, it could just need adjusting. If the settings are correct, then you have a driver glitch, uninstall the sound drivers from the device manager, then reboot. The machine will find the sound card and reinstall the drivers automatically. Then check Dell's support site for updated sound drivers.
Go into the battery properties and check if the battery is charging. If it says it is, then test it, use the battery to see if it really is charging, they will sometimes give a false reading. If it's not charging, then check the power supply with an ohm meter for the proper output. If this all checks good, but the battery isn't charging, then I'm afraid you have a failed power management system on the motherboard. The power management system controls the charging along with other power related aspects of the machine. If the power management system has failed, then unfortunately, you will have to replace the motherboard in order to fix it.