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My sister's MacBook Pro often shuts down at ~20% battery. It won't turn on again until it has been plugged in for about 10 minutes.

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What's your battery health? You can check that in System Profiler. – Gerry Apr 21 '12 at 20:28
Those two issues are separate and you'll probably find what you need with these questions: Battery on white MacBook shuts off abruptly after 30% charge is left and Why does my MacBook Pro die without warning?. For the sluggish issue, try Mac book pro is very slow – Adam Davis Apr 21 '12 at 21:25
You had two questions in here. This site works better when there is only one question per question. That way, it's easier for other people to find solutions if they have the same problem. I've edited out your second question, but feel free to ask it separately. – Daniel Apr 21 '12 at 21:42
@Gerry: System Profiler says the battery condition is "Check Battery". – titaniumdecoy Apr 21 '12 at 23:20
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Your battery is in very bad condition. In those cases it's not uncommon that the remaining time is not calculated properly, and your computer will turn off (ungracefully) as soon as the battery can't provide the necessary power levels.

You should have your battery looked at and replaced. Depending on the battery age and reason of defect, this might be replaced under warranty. However, if the battery died of age, it likely isn't.

Check the battery replacement conditions here:

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