The problem that plagues most laptops these days is the battery’s tendency to lose capacity over time. The age old nickel-cadmium and nickel-metal-hydride batteries are now replaced by lithium-ion batteries as these don’t require to be fully discharged at each charge cycle. In spite of this replacement, there are several measures you can take to make sure your battery duration and overall life extends to a maximum.
Here are some of the Tips:
1. SILENT KILLER: THE CD/DVD DRIVE
Leaving CD/DVDs as leftovers in the drives even when not in use will lead to an unnecessarily spinning drive and will suck battery power like a sponge. Wherever possible, try to run on virtual drives using programs like Alcohol120% or PowerISO rather than optical ones.
2. POWER SUCKING EXTERNAL DEVICES
Any device plugged in the USB port or other external devices like keyboard, headphones, or mouse will constantly draw battery power from your laptop. So if you’re not using it, better remove it and let your laptop ports breathe fresh air. All unneeded wireless capabilities such as built-in data modems, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios/switches should also be disabled. Depending on your laptop model, you can even disable these unnecessary devices and ports using Device Manager.
3. GO DEFRAG
Defragmentation is a process that physically organizes the contents of your hard drive into the smallest number of contiguous regions and creates larger regions of free space using compaction. Hence, it plays a major role in assisting the hard drive to access data easily. When the hard drive works quicker, it places a lesser load on the battery, making it last longer. In Windows, you can find the defrag option in the control panel while Mac OSX does not actually require defragging due to it’s inbuilt intelligent handling of fragmentation.
4. WIPE OUT ANYTHING UNNECESSARY
Errant software applications, unnecessary utilities running in the background or apps that continuously hang usually suck up immense processor cycles.
Web browsers are particularly prone to the problem due to the multiple plug-ins, rendering engines, and scripting engines embedded within them. With a combination of Ctrl-Alt-Delete, Windows task manager is our savior here by identifying processes that show unexplained high utilization.
Also, if you have unnecessary programs running as start-ups, you can weed em out by going to the ‘Start’ menu and typing ‘msconfig’ in the search box. This will launch the System Configuration window, where you can select the Startup tab and uncheck the programs you don’t require at startup.
6. MINIMIZE VISUAL EFFECTS
To maximize battery life by a little, the following visual effects can be cut down upon:
Switch off the Screensaver
Today’s OS’s like Vista come with features like ‘Aero Glass’ which are resource guzzlers. One can turn it off and go for the ‘Classic’ appearance which consumes less power.
You can lower the graphic use by changing the screen resolution and shutting off fancy graphic drivers.
You can actually save 6% battery by installing apps like AdBlock, which eliminates advertisements and allows you to manually configure elimination of other elements on the web page to get additional battery life. To put this application into use, you can right click on the element you want to block and select ‘AdBlock’>>’Block this Ad’ in the pop up menu. Now you can adjust the slider and select the appropriate level to hide unwanted elements like tickers, animations, videos, slide shows or other social media widgets.
8. SCREEN BRIGHTNESS
Of course, the most renowned tip to prolong battery: KEEP BRIGHTNESS AT MINIMUM REQUIRED LEVEL. It is true that screen and keyboard back lighting are the most intensive power suckers of all time. The graph above shows how the power consumption varies at different brightness settings.
Although the power consumption seems to alter evenly with respect to screen brightness, it actually increases very rapidly as the brightness goes up. For example, for brightness level 0 to 40, the difference in power consumption is only 0.5 watt. However, for level 60 to 100, the difference is a whopping 2 Watt!
This implies that if your brightness setting is high, decreasing brightness will increase your battery life significantly. However, you might not get desired power saving results on further lowering the brightness if it is already set at a low level.
Also, for those running heavy workload, where your laptop is consuming around 50W power, there won’t be much point in saving that 2 Watts by reducing brightness. However, if you are running light programs like word processing (consuming only 10W), saving 2 Watts will actually increase battery life by 20%.
Under the “Dim the display’ and ‘Turn off the display’ options, it is best to select an aggressive timeout of 1 to 3 minutes. When the laptop is in dimmed state, it is advised to configure it at absolute minimum brightness level.
9. RESPECT WATTAGE
It might seem hassle-free to run your laptop solely on AC power without battery, but it isn’t such a great idea when you consider the unforeseen voltage fluctuations that could damage your laptop altogether. Also, ensure that the adapter you use to charge the battery is an original one or one with the correct specifications because a mismatch could cause an overload thus damaging the laptop and the battery.
10. Keep Your System Cool
Heat causes the laptop battery cells to expand and bubble. Overheating leads the internal fans to run faster, which in turn consumes more battery. Apart from being the most well-known reason for laptop degradation, it is also the easiest to prevent, given you put into practice the following tips:
I know it’s called a laptop, but don’t keep it on your lap (or any other soft surface like a blanket or cushion) while in use. This will block the release of hot air from it’s vents and you will be visiting your nearest store to buy a laptop cooler sooner than you know it. The ideal practice would be to use it on a hard surface like a table to subject the fan and battery to minimum pressure.
Avoid leaving the laptop under direct sunlight or inside a closed car.
A laptop with blocked air vents will generate more heat,so the air vents should be cleaned regularly and the area around the laptop should be kept clean to avoid entry of dust.