Friday, June 24, 2011

6 Simple Ways to Extend your Laptop Battery Life

Power consumption is an important criterion for every laptop user to measure the performance of a laptop. A laptop is designed to work on battery power, and so, laptop users expect consistency in performance even if the laptop is running solely on the power of its batteries. However, this cannot be guaranteed, as laptop batteries can only provide ample power if they are charged accordingly. 

However, by keeping to the power saving tips given below, you can work for longer hours on your laptop even when it is running on batteries.  Here are some simple ways to extend your laptop battery life:

  1. Dim screen brightness:
The display is one of the biggest power consuming components in a laptop. You can save a good amount of battery power by just lowering the screen brightness. Every laptop has software tools or function keys to lower screen brightness. To save, power you need to reduce the brightness of your screen to a comfortable level where you can read the text on screen without straining your eyes. Dimming screen brightness is a win-win situation for you as your eyes are not strained due to a brighter screen and you also save power in the long run. You can also save power by setting the screen to switch off automatically after a specific period of inactivity.

  1. Switch off the Wi-Fi:
Today, every laptop is equipped with a Wi-Fi feature. This feature is switched on by default when you log onto the system. The Wi-Fi remains active even if you are not using it. It is one of the biggest power guzzlers and can drain your battery power rapidly without you knowing about it. In fact, Wi-Fi draws more power from the battery when you are not using it.

You need to manually change the settings and switch the Wi-Fi off if you don’t plan to use it or if there are no Wi-Fi networks in the vicinity. Some laptops have buttons that allow you switch off Wi-Fi. If your laptop doesn’t have a button to switch off Wi-Fi, navigate to Network Connections in the Control Panel menu and disable Wi-Fi.

  1. Run simple applications:
Applications that run on your system also consume power indirectly. Every application or background process uses hardware resources such as the processor, RAM, graphics cards, and hard drive. If you use graphics heavy applications or memory hungry applications on your laptop, your battery power will drain quickly. You should avoid using graphics heavy applications when the laptop is running on battery power. For example, you can use Notepad to draft letters instead of Microsoft Word. Microsoft Word uses more computing power and RAM than simple applications like Notepad.

  1. Disable unwanted programs at system startup:
If you take a look at the background processes in Task Manger, you will find many programs unnecessarily running in the background. Your system will start each program while booting up. Laptop manufacturers generally provide many utilities that are not required on a daily basis. You will find many programs on your system that you hardly use but are present in the system tray (which indicates that they are active). Some programs are automatically started by your system because they have startup entries even if you don’t use them. For example, if Windows Live Messenger has a startup entry, it will start up every time you log onto your system. 

Such programs unnecessarily run in the background even when you are not connected to the internet.  Although these processes consume low CPU resources, if the number of such unwanted programs increase, it will unnecessarily add to the CPU workload. You need to disable these programs from starting up or close the background processes that are not in use.

  1. Use the Hibernate option instead of Stand-by:
Your laptop goes into Stand-by or Sleep mode if there is no activity for a specific period. In Stand-by or Sleep mode, the computer switches off the display and hard drive, but the RAM and processor are active (thus consuming battery power). If you intend to take a short break from work, you can instead choose the Hibernate mode, where the system saves the current session, turns itself off, and then restores the saved session the next time you switch on your computer. In this way, you don’t lose any unsaved work and also save up on battery power.

  1. Defrag your hard drive regularly:
The hard drive uses a significant amount of power. Whenever you open a file, the read-write heads spring into action and locate the file stored in the hard drive. If the data is heavily defragmented, the read-write heads of the hard drive have to do extra work looking for bits of files scattered in different sectors of the hard drive. Your system will take more time in opening the file if your data is defragmented. By defragging the hard drive, you can ensure the read-write components of the hard drive work less, which also means you consume less power.

If you follow all the above tips, you will notice that you can work for longer hours without having to keep recharging the laptop batteries. Additionally, you must also follow the right procedures of charging and maintaining the batteries so that they have a longer life.


  1. Yeah, really cool! I always decide to hibernate while Im taking a break from work! It's much better and the consume becomes about zero, rsrs. Anyways, that is some tecnology the must be changed. Batteries. Maybe in the future they'll create something better than those large and heavy batteries, that has power to work only for a couple hours...

  2. Thanks for this nice and informative post,.
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