How to boost your Laptop’s Battery Life

Bhanu Pratap May 16, 2012 1
How to boost your Laptop’s Battery Life

The emergence of Laptops gave rise to mobile computing, or computing on the move. That is simply because it is portable and frees you from being tied to an electric outlet, at least till the time the batteries on your system signals you to either shut down your system or connect to a power source. This is an important reason to take care of your batteries as its life depends on how well and judiciously you use and maintain it. Implementing some basic power saving strategies and taking care of some basic things can enhance the back up time over a single charge, as well as the over all life of your battery.

Taking care of your charge cycle

We start our discussion with this point, as it is widely misunderstood. It is believed that the battery of any mobile device must completely be discharged regularly and then charged fully to maintain its optimum back up and life. Well, though the way you charge your batter does affect how long it can hold a charge, but how you should actually do it depends on which type of battery you use. Older laptops used to come equipped with nickel-metal hydride, or NiMH battery packs. These type of batteries benefit from periodic discharge/recharge cycles. If you are using such type of batteries, then at-least once in every three months, you should run your system off its battery until it shuts down, then recharge the battery completely. However, the same strategy can seriously hurt the more modern lithium-ion batteries, which you should never discharge completely, so it is very important to verify which type of batteries you use.

Battery-use strategies also vary by battery type. NiMH batteries (or the older versions) fall prey to the memory effect, which can stop you from recharging them fully if you’ve drained them partially and recharged them. Avoid repeated short-charge cycles with NiMH cells. On the other hand, put your lithium-ion-powered system (found on most of the newer models) on electrical power as soon as you can, regardless of how much battery life is left. What used to work well for the older versions, actually is a negative for the newer versions of your battery packs.

 

Other important points to remember

Your Computer’s Backlight Levels

Everybody knows it but few people follow it. If you keep your computer screen brightly illuminated, it will drain your batteries very fast even while using simple office applications like ‘Word’ as it presents a light background. Always turn down the brightness to a level which is low but not inconvenient. Another popular misunderstanding is that screen savers will save power. Conversely, screen savers that use caomplex graphics, may end up using more energy than your optimally adjusted display.

 

Shut down unwanted Tools and Tasks

There is a small ‘Up’ arrow sign on the bottom right corner of your screen on the taskbar. When you click it, the resultant display shows the number of applications / tools running in the background. As you move your cursor arrow over individual icons, their names will be revealed. You will be surprised to see, how many applications are running in the background without your knowledge and thereby eating up precious battery power. Turn off anything that isn’t essential — especially utilities of questionable value that shipped with your system — and limit the numbers of scheduled tasks you run.

 

Your Computer’s Power Management

By activating your Computer’s power management features, you are able to choose when to dim or turn off your screen and/or put your computer in a sleep mode (which is naturally low power consuming) after it has been inactive for a certain period of time, say 5 or 10 minutes. You can walk away from your computer without worrying about the battery power, if you have activated the power management. Just remember that screen savers, active network and online processes or simple things like a finger tip contact on your Laptop’s touch pad also constitute activity and may prevent it from going to sleep mode.

 

Also check the Wi-Fi

If you are running your system on its batteries and not using its wireless capabilities, its better to turn them off as an active Wi-Fi connection will drain your batteries faster even if you are working offline.

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