How to Increase laptop battery life

Every year laptops are getting faster, better and lighter. But one thing that is far behind is the battery life, which has stayed roughly the same for the last couple of years, but the battery is not ot blame for this, it is the laptop. Even though companies such as Intel release new processors that use less power, that saved power gets used up by faster hard drives, bigger screens and power hungry graphics cards.

All I am going to show you is a few tips on how to increase the life of your notebooks battery.

1. The first thing to do is lower the brightness of the screen. The screen draws most of the power in a laptop, a fully bright screen would flatten the battery in under 3 hours.

2. Next you could cut down on the amount of programs running in the background such as iTunes and MSN Messenger. All background programs add to the CPU usage and lower the battery life, so turn off the ones you don’t need.

3. Defragment your hard drive. Windows Vista and XP have a bilt in disk defragmenter in the control panel. All this will do is improve the efficiancy of the hard drive, so it will work faster and improve battery life. Depending on the usage of the laptop this should be done once a week to once a month (but obviously not when you are using the battery!)

4. Disconnect all USB devices such as iPods, memory sticks and mice from the laptop while on battery as these significaltly reduce the battery life. Also, if you are not using the Wi-Fi be sure to turn it off.

5. Run off the Hard Drive rather than the CD/DVD drive. These use more power than the hard disk. They still use power even when the disk is inactive, so where possible use programs such as Alcohol 120% rather than the CD drive.

6. If possible, add more RAM (Random Access Memory), this will take the strain off the hard drive because when you run out of RAM, the operating system used virtual memory, which is on the hard drive. This slows down the laptop greatly, as the hard drive is 40 times slower than RAM. This not only will increase battery life, but it will make your laptop run more smoothly.

7. Another way is to exercise the battery. Instead of leaving the battery fully charged use the battery once a week but do not let Li-ion batteries completly discharge. Only discharge for older batteries that have the memory effect.

8. When you are going to leave your laptop alone for a couple of hours but want to keep you work open you have three choices. One, you could leave the laptop running, which is a waste and should never be done unless it is doing something in the background e.g. virus scan. Two, you could put the computer on standby, so all the work left open gets stored in the RAM and you can quickly resume when you get back, but the computer uses some power. Three, hibernate so all the documents left open get stored on the hard disk, but the computer completly shuts down. It really depends on how long you are going to leave it for, but i would recommend to hibernate all the time so no power is wasted, and only takes a couple more seconds to wake up than standby.

9. Keep the temperature down. Laptop batteries discharge quicker when they are hot, so never leave them in hot cars and clean out the airvents every so often.

10. Use the operating system’s power options to optimise the power usage. The best profile is Max Battery for Windows XP and power saver for Vista.

11. This one is for more advanced users. Rightmark CPU clock utility enables users to undervolt their CPU, but without loosing much, if any performance. It also reduces the need for a fan, as less heat is produced. Look it up in Google to findo out more info.
12. Go easy on the usage. Try to focus on one thing at a time and manage your priorities. Word Processing and reading e-mails use less power than gaming or watching DVD’s.

13. If you really want to save power, get rid of Windows. If you use Linux or buy an Apple Laptop with Mac OS X, you can expect to increase the life by over an hour. Apple’s Macbook has a six hour battery life, Windows laptops barely get half that.

14. If you are going to leave the battery and not use it for a while, make sure that you leave the battery at 40% and never leave a Li-ion battery completely discharged otherwise it will ruin the battery and probably won’t work.

15. Get a more efficiant laptop. Modern laptops get more efficiant every year. A Lenovo laptop, for example, with a 9-cell battery seems to last forever.

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