Dell Inc. announced Monday it would voluntarily recall 4.1 million notebook computer batteries worldwide that risk overheating and catching fire.

The batteries in question, made by Sony Corp., are in notebooks shipped between April 1, 2004, and July 18 of this year.

"In rare cases, a short-circuit could cause the battery to overheat, causing a risk of smoke and [or] fire," said Ira Williams, aDell spokesman. "It happens in rare cases, but we opted to take this broad action immediately."

The company said in a statement released Tuesday that the recall would affect approximately 95,000 battery packs sold to customers in Canada.

The recalled batteries were sold with the following Dell notebook computers: Dell Latitude(TM) D410, D500, D505, D510, D520, D600, D610, D620, D800, D810; Inspiron(TM) 6000, 8500, 8600, 9100, 9200, 9300, 500m, 510m, 600m, 6400, E1505, 700m, 710m, 9400, E1705; and Dell Precision(TM) M20, M60, M70 and M90 mobile workstations; and XPS(TM), XPS Gen2, XPS M170 and XPS M1710.

The recalled batteries were used in 2.7 million Dell computers sold in the U.S. and1.4 million sold overseas, according to Dell. It is not yet known how many computers sold in Canada might be affected.

Customers are advised to contact Dell immediately to determine if their notebook computer battery is part of this recall, at www.dellbatteryprogram.comor toll-free at 1-866-342-0011.

Customers may continue to use the notebook computers safely by turning the system off, ejecting the battery, and using the AC adapter and power cord to power the system until the replacement battery is received.

The company confirmed that one of its laptops caught fire in Illinois. There have been reports elsewhere in the U.S. and in Japan.

Dell officials declined to say how much the recall campaign would cost or what portion, if any, Sony would pay. Sony officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Dell recalled 22,000 notebook computer batteries last December after symptoms that were similar to those that prompted Monday's recall. The company also recalled 284,000 batteries in 2001.

With files from the Associated Press