Squeeze More Life Out of Your Battery
Before You Buy
- Check the specs for battery life but also read actual user reviews for a reality check. Specs often read something like “up to X – X hours.” The “up to” covers a lot of ground. “Up to” is standard advertising lingo. They lie.
- Make sure your battery is fresh—that is buy your laptop from a reputable source with high turnover. Lithium Ion batteries lose approximately 20% of their capacity every year – even just sitting on a shelf.
- Buy a decent amount of RAM; 2 GBs at least. The less the laptop has to use virtual memory, the less juice is wasted on writing stuff out to disk.
Once You Have Your Laptop
- If you don’t plan to use the battery for a while, charge it to about 40 percent , remove it and put it in a cool dry place. Do not put it in the fridge or you family will question your drug habits.
- Don’t completely discharge your battery – it’s not good for lithium ion batteries.
- Use Power Options in the Control Panel to adjust your power management scheme. Select the Power Savings setting for best battery performance.
- Use the correct power adapter for your laptop. A mismatch in wattage could cause an overload and damage both your laptop and battery.
- Reduce the number of external devices you use – USB devices (including your mouse) use up energy.
- Disable Wifi if you are not using it. Wifi uses energy simply searching for signal. Many laptops have a manual method (a switch, sometimes function keys, normally labeled with an icon that looks like a radioactive tower).
- Dim your screen. Brighter screens use more energy. Usually you will find screen dimmer keys on your function keys, the top row of your keyboard.
- Single-task. Multi-tasking uses more energy.
- Skip the CD/DVD drive. Transfer your movies and stuff to the internal hard drive and run them from there.
- Keep the temperature cool and keep your laptop well-ventilated (look for air vents on your laptop and make sure they aren’t blocked – or dirty).
- Keep your work area and laptop clean. Dirt and dust in the vents or in the guts of the machine makes your laptop heat up and work harder.
- Keep the battery contacts clean. Note the metal contacts on your battery and clean them with rubbing alcohol on a soft cloth.
- Hibernate rather than standby. Standby does save power but Hibernate saves more and will also preserve your PC’s state.