How To Get More Life Out Of Your Laptop Battery

Laptops are brilliant for portability, yet can be great betrayers. I’m out in Kenya for a month, and relying on my laptop battery more than ever – you just don’t know when you’ll next get reliable access to a mains supply for recharging the laptop!

As part of the natural ageing process or due to active use, batteries eventually get worn down – sometimes even when not in use. Do you use a laptop? Here’s how you can get more life out of your laptop battery:

  1. Be Screen Smart: Lower the use of graphics by changing the screen resolution, shutting off fancy graphics drivers, and dimming your screen – this will all save battery juice.
  2. Turn Off All Unused Devices: If you’re not using connected USB devices, WiFi, or Bluetooth, disconnect them or turn them off. Also, minimise CD/DVD use, because optical drives are one of the worst at consuming power – they spin, taking power, even when not actively being used.
  3. Unplug When Charged: When the battery is fully charged, unplug it from the mains and let the laptop use it’s own battery, until all the juice runs out. The more you overcharge your battery, the smaller the amount of charge it will hold the next time.
  4. Add More RAM: Having more RAM allows you to process more, whereas relying on virtual memory which means hard drive use – hard drives tend to use much more power than your RAM sticks.
  5. Keep It Clean: Watch how your laptop operates more efficiently while it’s cooler! Your air vents can be cleaned out with a cloth or keyboard cleaner. Your battery’s metal contacts can be cleaned with a cloth moistened with alcohol – do this every few months and it’ll keep the transfer of power from your battery more efficient.
  6. Focus On One Thing At A Time: All the programs that run on your computer concurrently will add to the central processing unit load, which cuts down battery life. Aim to do one thing at a time while you’re on battery, rather than working on a spreadsheet, listening to an online radio show and letting your email client run in the background. Adopt this for your work in general – you’ll quickly recognise the power of focus!
  7. Defragment Regularly: Defragmenting takes all the various parts of a file on your computer and puts them next to each other, which means less work for your disk drive when locating files, and therefore less battery power used.
  8. Go Into Hibernation: Rather than putting your computer in standby mode, hibernating a PC will actually save it’s state as it is, and complete shut itself down. When you want to continue working, simply turn your computer on, and you can continue working where you left off.

So there you go – the power of portability, blended with battery smarts!

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