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How to Conserve Battery Life on a Laptop

Posted by David  •  May 3rd, 2006 10:50:16 am - Subscribe | Mood: Tired | Music: Tara Lowe - Be With You

How to Conserve Battery Life on a Laptop

LaptopNo matter how long your laptop runs on battery power now, you’d probably like to extend that runtime. We turned to two of our favorite notebook gurus—Tony Salinas, senior systems engineer and consultant at Dell, and Herman De Hoop, technical marketing manager at HP—to find out exactly what you can do to get the absolute longest endurance possible. Here are the five key tips we gleaned from them.

Power down the display
"You can often yield up to ten minutes of battery life per level of brightness lowered," said Salinas. DeHoop added that lowering the brightness "may give you as much as an extra hour of runtime." In addition, lowering the screen resolution and color depth decreases the workload on the GPU, thus extending the battery runtime. You can change these by going to Start/Settings/Control Panel/Display and clicking the Settings tab. Disabling extra features like ClearType fonts and fade effects will cut down on the CPU’s power consumption. You can find these in the Control Panel under System/Advanced/Performance Settings/Visual Effects.

Turn off unused devices
Both of our gurus mentioned disabling unused devices. Many new notebooks provide a hard-wired On/Off switch for the Wi-Fi radio for this reason. Beyond that, you should go to the Control Panel, select System/Hardware/Device Manager, and disable the Ethernet adapter, infrared transceiver, and Bluetooth radio (if your notebook has one). It was designed for mobile devices, but having Bluetooth enabled actually consumes quite a bit of power.

Decrease hard drive activity
To minimize the frequency with which your hard disk has to spin up to access data, Salinas recommended defragmenting your hard drive regularly. This optimizes the placement of data on the drive so that it can be found more quickly. You can find the Disk Degfragmenter in the Start/Programs/Accessories/System Tools menu. Beyond that, he advised optimizing Windows’ paging file, which is an area of the hard drive that serves as virtual memory whenever your RAM is full. To change it, go to the Control Panel and click through System/Advanced/Performance Settings/Advanced/Virtual Memory Change and set both the initial and maximum paging file size to 1.5 times the capacity of the installed memory.

Disable startup items
Startup items load into memory every time Windows boots up, which causes other open applications to spill over into virtual memory and adds to the CPU load. You can disable the startup options by opening the associated programs and going to the Options or Preferences menu. You can also remove them from the Start/Programs/Startup folder or by clicking Start/Run, entering C:MSCONFIG, and clicking OK. Select the Startup tab and clear the checkbox beside any unnecessary background items, like qttask (QuickTime).

Condition the battery
When you purchase your notebook, charge the battery to 100 percent, discharge it completely, and then fully charge it to 100 percent again to help the battery remember exactly how much electrical charge it can hold. From then on, you’ll never need to completely discharge the battery again, but always make sure when charging it that you let it reach 100 percent. DeHoop told us to "remember to plug in the AC adapter (or dock/port replicator) whenever you get a chance. Most notebooks will recharge quickly." Salinas had another tip for your batteries: "Keep them cool. Exposure to high temperatures can be a battery’s worst enemy," he said.

Tips For Better Notebook Battery Life

Comments 3  •  May 3rd, 2006 10:50:16 am - Subscribe  •  Tweet this entry | Post a comment


anonymous Says:
June 01st, 2006

These are the exact answers I was looking for... since I'm not a tech girl at all. Thanx

anonymous Says:
August 03rd, 2010

thnx! my notebook's battery used to last for 3 hours, but now it only lasts around 1 hour.. it all started wen the built-in exhaust fan didn't function anymore.. my notebook gets real hot fast now, and mybe that's what caused the problem with my battery sad.gif

anonymous Says:
July 21st, 2017

Hi, nice article..

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