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Every motherboard that runs a computer has a backup battery to run the circuit while turned off. This battery runs the real-time clock (RTC) and is referred to as the CMOS battery. By keeping the clock active and running even when the computer is switched off, power up/down cycles can be logged and before the internet, your computer could keep dates accurately. It also serves to maintain the system configuration settings in BIOS memory based on RAM or FLASH RAM.
Possible power cable fault, hard to tell really, especially if you ran the laptop battery flat, but it may be a flat cmos (bios) motherboard battery, also check that the hibernate switch where you close your laptop lid is not stuck down as this will dissable power up.