Increase Battery Life

How to Increase the Life of Your Laptop Battery

Unfortunately, solar panel laptops or everlasting batteries are probably a few decades away yet, but if you do use your laptop on the go, then there are a few things you can do which can improve its battery life.

Were not talking about days or weeks here, but you can certainly gain an extra hour or two by either using your laptop differently or changing a few settings.

The battery in a laptop is perhaps the most irritating part, because it doesn't last particularly long.

Many of these measures we bring to you in this guide also apply to other gadgets you might have, not just laptops.

Upgrade your hardware

If you're not strapped for cash, you could always purchase a brand-new laptop. Laptops are forever evolving and often come with better performing processes and other hardware that are less demanding power wise every year. If you're sticking with your current hardware you could are more physical memory and an SSD device instead of hard drive to save power.

Optimize Windows

Is your operating system optimised to use the least amount of power possible?

In this overview you will find a variety of programs that can be used to optimize Windows. What tends to be effective is to uninstall preinstalled software, such as programs you will never use. Many new PCs often come with lots of pre-installed applications, which can drag down performance.

Disabling devices that are not in use, will result in increased performance. You can disable devices via the Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Devices and Printers > Device Manager. You can right-click a device and select Disable, but you should take note of what you are disabling in case you want to activate the device at a later date.

What devices should you disable?

These are some of the devices you may want to disable, but be aware that you should not disable them if they are regularly used.

  • Bluetooth - right click on systemtray (bottom right of the Windows desktop) and select Shut Down.
  • Network - if you just use a wireless connection.
  • Wireless card.
  • Memory Card Reader.
  • Optical devices - CD / DVD / Blu-ray.
  • Webcam.
  • Embedded modem.

Avoid running heavy applications

Some programs can put a huge drain on the battery. For example, video editing software or games will demand a huge amount of power and should be avoided if your laptop is not plugged in. You should also always turn off programs when you do not need them, and do not let them run in the background. If they continue to run in the background, you can use Task Manager to terminate individual applications. Task Manager can be accessed by holding Control, Alt and Delete.

Replace the battery

Unfortunately, batteries have a very limited life. Though battery technology has dramatically improved over the last few years, you're still very unlikely to get more than two years out of your battery until it can only hold a small amount of power. If that is the case, you may want to replace the battery with a brand-new one. Websites that sell replacement batteries often give you the option to enter your computer model so you can be sure you are buying the correct replacement battery.

Only recharge the battery once it is fully drained

According to many sources, it's best to allow the battery to fully discharge itself before you recharge it.

Keep the battery cool

The battery is not fond of heat, so you should use your computer in a place with good ventilation. The computer should be place where air flow from fan can disperse freely. You should avoid laying your laptop on top of a cushion or pillow, because this will block airflow. You should also check and clean vents on your laptop regularly.

Remove the battery

If you can, you should remove the battery and use the power cable to provide power to your laptop. This will stop the charging and discharging process and keep your battery fresher. Obviously, it is not always possible to remove your battery, especially if you're not near an electrical socket.

The battery should be stored in a cool place, such as in a refrigerator. The battery should not be kept fully charged - it should be around 80 percent charged when taken out of the computer.

Use a power plan

Most laptops come with the option to use a power plan to save power. You'll find this option via Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Power Options. Or you can click on the battery icon at the bottom right-hand corner of Windows desktop. Power plan options consist of "Energy Star", High Performance" or "Power Saver". If you do not require the maximum performance from your laptop, then choose Power Saver or Energy Star.

Use hibernation mode

Use hibernate over standby or sleep mode. When the computer goes into hibernation mode after a set time, all data will be stored, and then the power is disconnected. This mode is very effective to save power.

In sleep mode, all data stored in the internal memory, and thus uses some power. You can find these settings through Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Power Options > Change plan settings > Change advanced power settings.

Adjust the screen brightness

You can save power by adjusting the screen brightness. If you don't require your screen to be at its maximum brightness, then set it to a lower setting. The keys for this will vary from laptop to laptop, but should be clearly marked with a sun icon.

Avoid using the CD/DVD drive

Avoid running programs or other content directly from the CD/DVD drive, as this can consume a lot of power and create noise. You can conveniently copy the contents to your hard drive before running it.

Turn off effects

Special effects can be great, but they will require extra battery power. If you have Windows 7, you can turn off Aero effects by right-clicking on the Windows desktop and choose Personalize, and then select Windows 7 Basic. In Windows 8, many of these effects are disabled by default, so you do not need to change anything.

Third Party Software

Use third-party software to optimize battery usage.

BatteryCare is a program that can be used to get better battery performance. The program starts scanning your computer, and make suggestions for improvements. Please note that you must have the battery in the computer before the program can be used for the first time, to get the most out of the program.

You will eventually get a chart that shows how much your PC will benefit from using the program, in terms of battery life.