Tech, Tips, and Tutorials.
Reviews, News, and Rants.

10 Tips to get Extra Juice out of your Laptop’s Battery

Spending hours and hours in University everyday, time and again I find myself craving a plug to charge my laptop from near-death.

It’s a terribly frustrating thing to see you computer lose power in front of your very eyes, forced to return to the arcane method of taking notes, pen and paper. It’s all very much last century.

Over time I’ve developed a few tactics to help me limp through a full day on a single charge. They may help you too (note: I’m using Windows Vista, which has a couple of power-saving features over XP).

Switch Profile to Power Saver
Perhaps the most obvious switch would be to switch the power profile. To do this, click once on the button in the system tray and select Power Saver from the list that appears.

Lower Display Brightness
Another obvious one. A bright LCD, while nice-looking, costs dearly in terms of power drain. Most laptops have keyboard commands to reduce the brightness.

Sleep Instead of Shutdown (Vista-only)
This is an important one. Whatever you do, don’t shutdown your computer. The time it takes to start up, and the power it needs to do so means that you typically lose around 5-8% charge just from a single restart. Sleeping is much more efficient. You can get back to work instantly. Sure, you lose a tiny amount of charge over time, but it’s more worth it. This is a Vista-only feature. XP users can try standby to see how that works.

Turn Off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Other Wireless Connections
Unless you absolutely need it, I found that turning off the Wi-Fi receiver increased battery life considerably. I got an extra half hour just by turning it off. The same holds true for other wireless connections, like Bluetooth, just to a lesser extent. Once again, most laptops have switches somewhere on the casing to turn on/off the wireless receivers.

Remove USB Devices
USB devices, like pen-drives, and mice draw power. Remove them, simple as.

Lighten the Processor’s Workload
The processor takes up the most power, and so you’d want to ensure it isn’t working too hard. There are 2 ways to ensure you’re not straining your CPU too much and the benefits are huge.

Firstly, the obvious stuff. Avoid graphics-intensive programs like games, and keep as few apps open as possible. I typically keep just a word processor open in class.

Secondly, there is actually a software switch to restrict your CPU’s power usage. To access it, click on the battery indicator in the taskbar, and click More power options. Then, under Power Saver, click to Change plan settings. Finally, click to change the advanced options. Find Processor Power Management to alter the minimum and maximum processor states.

I typically keep it at a minimum of 40% and a max of 75%, but I’ve successfully taken the levels even lower. Be careful though, because setting it too low will cause the laptop to crash. Either way, prepare for a major slowdown in general computer use. Files will take longer to save, and applications will run sluggishly. It will also take longer to go to sleep and wake it back up. However, the benefits are worth it. I can squeeze an extra 50 minutes with this method.

Mute the Speakers
For some reason, I always seem to be able to get an extra 10 minutes by simply muting the speakers.

Look for Power Sockets
A tip that can never be under-estimated. Look around for power sockets so you can feed your laptop, even if it’s for just 10 minutes or so – it’s worth it.

I hope you enjoyed these tips. If you have any more to share, just leave it in the comments below.

photo credits: power cable and wifi switch

Possibly Related Articles (automatically generated)


Post a Comment