Top 15 Ways to Extend Your Laptop’s Battery Life

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Laptops tend to lose their charm quickly when you’re constantly looking for the nearest power outlet to charge up.  How do you keep your battery going for as long as possible?  Here are 15 easy ways to do so.

1. Defrag regularly –  The faster your hard drive does its work – less demand you are going to put on the hard drive and your battery.  Make your hard drive as efficient as possible by defragging it regularly. (but not while it’s on battery of course!) Mac OSX is better built to handle fragmentation so it may not be very applicable for Apple systems.

2. Dim your screen – Most laptops come with the ability to dim your laptop screen.  Some even come with ways to modify CPU and cooling performance.  Cut them down to the lowest level you can tolerate to squeeze out some extra battery juice.

3. Cut down on programs running in the background.  Itunes, Desktop Search, etc.  All these add to the CPU load and cut down battery life.  Shut down everything that isn’t crucial when you’re on battery.

4. Cut down external devices – USB devices (including your mouse) & WiFi drain down your laptop battery.  Remove or shut them down when not in use.  It goes without saying that charging other devices (like your iPod) with your laptop when on battery is a surefire way of quickly wiping out the charge on your laptop battery.

5. Add more RAM – This will allow you to process more with the memory your laptop has, rather than relying on virtual memory.  Virtual memory results in hard drive use, and is much less power efficient. Note that adding more RAM will consume more energy, so this is most applicable if you do need to run memory intensive programs which actually require heavy usage of virtual memory.

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6. Run off a hard drive rather than CD/DVD – As power consuming as hard drives are, CD and DVD drives are worse.  Even having one in the drive can be power consuming.  They spin, taking power, even when they?re not actively being used.  Wherever possible, try to run on virtual drives using programs like Alcohol 120% rather than optical ones.

7.  Keep the battery contacts clean:  Clean your battery’s metal contacts every couple of months with a cloth moistened with rubbing alcohol.  This keeps the transfer of power from your battery more efficient.

8. Take care of your battery – Exercise the Battery.  Do not leave a charged battery dormant for long periods of time.  Once charged, you should at least use the battery at least once every two to three weeks. Also, do not let a Li-On battery completely discharge. (Discharing is only for older batteries with memory effects)

9. Hibernate not standby – Although placing a laptop in standby mode saves some power and you can instantly resume where you left off, it doesn’t save anywhere as much power as the hibernate function does.  Hibernating a PC will actually save your PC’s state as it is, and completely shut itself down.

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10. Keep operating temperature down – Your laptop operates more efficiently when it’s cooler.  Clean out your air vents with a cloth or keyboard cleaner, or refer to some extra tips by LapTopMag.com.

11. Set up and optimize your power options – Go to ‘Power Options’ in your windows control panel and set it up so that power usage is optimized (Select the ‘max battery’ for maximum effect).

12. Don’t multitask – Do one thing at a time when you’re on battery.  Rather than working on a spreadsheet, letting your email client run in the background and listening to your latest set of MP3’s, set your mind to one thing only.  If you don’t you’ll only drain out your batteries before anything gets completed!

13. Go easy on the PC demands – The more you demand from your PC.  Passive activities like email and word processing consume much less power than gaming or playing a DVD.  If you’ve got a single battery charge – pick your priorities wisely.

14. Get yourself a more efficient laptop –  Laptops are getting more and more efficient in nature to the point where some manufacturers are talking about all day long batteries.  Picking up a newer more efficient laptop to replace an aging one is usually a quick fix.

15. Prevent the Memory Effect – If you’re using a very old laptop, you’ll want to prevent the ‘memory effect’ – Keep the battery healthy by fully charging and then fully discharging it at least once every two to three weeks. Exceptions to the rule are Li-Ion batteries (which most laptops have) which do not suffer from the memory effect.

Bonus Tip #1: Turn off the autosave function.  MS-Word’s and Excel’s autosave functions are great but because they keep saving regular intervals, they work your hard driver harder than it may have to. If you plan to do this, you may want to turn it back on as the battery runs low. While it saves battery life in the beginning, you will want to make sure your work is saved when your battery dies.

Bonus Tip #2: Lower the graphics use. You can do this by changing the screen resolution and shutting off fancy graphic drivers. Graphics cards (video cards) use as much or more power today as hard disks – Thanks Andrew

Update 7/7/07: Bonus Tip #1 to give caution about turning off autosave, tip #8 to change information about discharging batteries – thanks to all who pointed it out. Added Bonus tip #2, Tip #1 to add in clause in regards to Mac OSX, Tip #1 about the spinning of hard drives – thanks to all who pointed it out

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What are your experiences with laptop batteries?  Share them with us in the comments!

[tags] laptop battery, battery life, notebook battery [/tags]

3,909 Replies to “Top 15 Ways to Extend Your Laptop’s Battery Life”

  1. Fantastic! This is what I’m waiting. I couldn’t imagine this time that I could prolong now the battery of my laptop. Because my laptop is my buddy for my online job especially in an interview. Thanks to this.

  2. This is the right weblog for anyone who wants to seek out out about this topic. You realize a lot its almost laborious to argue with you . You positively put a brand new spin on a subject thats been written about for years. Great stuff, just great!

  3. i have a hp g56 series laptop i got told to use it through the main without the batery connected and when i want to use my battery to let it run to about 10% and then put it on charged and once fully charged to remove either the charger (to use battery life) or remove the battery (run of the mains) if i want to carry on using my laptop. it seems to be working for me but i just want to check if this is okay as i use my laptop all day every day without fail the most i wont use it is when im asleep or when im  out otherwise im o it all the time sum times i will be on it for more than 24hrs at a time so i really need to know if what i have been told is acctually the right thing to do???

  4. I use ‘hibernate’ most of the time because I have tasks to do most of the time and it would consume much more time if I shut down my laptop and then find my files and re-open it again. Before, I used to put my PC on ‘sleep’ mode but then I learned that it still consumes battery life. It is indeed important to take care of your battery because it’s hard to replace it. http://www.msecuredatalabs.com

  5. i’m using toshiba laptop . i bought it on before 1 and half year . now my battery life only 1 hour.i’m daily using it for my college use. so  how i can increase it????

  6. Putting the battery on ‘Power Saver’ is more preferable if you really want to use it longer. Your laptop will be more focused on saving the battery life and less on the performance, though. So you cannot use so much when you’re on multi-tasking. When I am at home, I remove the battery from my laptop and it is kept plugged in the rest of the day when I use it. I use the battery whenever I’m outside. Thanks for sharing this!

  7. Nice blog here! You can make your laptop run longer on its battery by turning off or reduce all the things that expend power in your computer. If you are going on a long trip, or just taking your laptop to a local coffee shop, use these tips to help your laptop’s battery power last longer. Mobile computing has got better with lighter components, better chips and faster processors. But the Achilles heel of a laptop has remained its battery. Modern graphic intensive operating systems and resource hungry applications are cutting down the life of your laptop’s battery every day. The average battery life per continuous use still stands at a maximum of three to four hours. So, a fast depleting battery could very swiftly put the crutches on your ‘mobile’ road trip. Thank you.
     

  8. Here’s An another trick to save your battery. (Windows 7)
    Right Click on Computer -> Properties -> Windows Experience Index (Probably Find it in Rating) -> Adjust Visual Effects (In The Left Pane) Now comes a pop-up box, Here, Click the Visual Effects tab and check “Adjust for best performance”. Click ok. Now, Your Windows will turn to Windows Classic. This doesn’t look good but saves battery a lot. For a A day or Two you’ll feel uncomfortable with “classic” look, then you’ll feel great.P.S. Keeping your windows style to classic  become a trend now. Lol!

  9. i just got a new hp dv7 laptop about two months ago. initially, i could run normally on a full charge for up to 7hrs. at the moment, a full battery charge doesnt last up to 3hrs. i consider this drop too soon and the rate too high. i wander what could cause such a problem and if there are any fixes, what they could be.

  10. my battary was 4200 mah. but now it became 3700 mah(maximum charge) is my battery getting week? what can i do to make my battary back to 4200 mah? will battery boosting work?

  11. ??If storing your laptop battery in the fridge, you need to make sure the refrigerator light truly goes off when you shut the door.  Exposure to light while the battery is cold will negate the benefit of putting it in your fridge.

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