Having your laptop run out of juice just when you’re in the middle of something important can be a bummer. Modern laptops are optimised to conserve as much power as they can, but running apps you don’t need or having redundant functions on puts a strain on the battery. There are some steps you can take to improving laptop battery life such that you can get more minutes off your device.
Simple Tips to Extend Laptop Battery Life
Here are 10 ways on how to prolong laptop battery lifespan.
1. Make Changes to the Power Settings
To begin with, get to know the power management features of your laptop, this will allow you to optimise the power consumption. Windows systems have ‘balanced’ as their default setting; however, based on whether the laptop is running on battery or mains, Windows uses different performance settings. When using other OS remember to customise the settings so your laptop doesn’t drain any battery as default settings aren’t always meant to save power.
2. Keep the Screen Brightness Low
The screen is the biggest power drain of batteries in laptops. Every laptop screen has a back light that enables you to see all the colours on the display. This light can be fluorescent as in older laptop models and sap too much power. More recent laptops use LEDs but they sap power as well, only a little lesser. You can add as much as 30 minutes on your battery life just by dimming the screen and keeping it as low as possible.
3. Disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth When Not in Use
Both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth work on radio frequencies and use up a fair amount of power when left on for no reason. When you’re not using either, disable them. Most laptops come with a switch or key to disable Wi-Fi, but Bluetooth takes a bit more effort. Bluetooth can be enabled or disabled from the start menu in some of the laptops. If that’s not an option, head to the Device Manager in Control Panel and directly disable Bluetooth.
4. Do Not Allow It to Overheat
One of the biggest enemies of lithium polymer batteries is heat. Not only is excess heat bad in the short term, but it also reduces the battery’s long term life. Laptops have great cooling systems to keep them cool, but if you have the habit of using it clumsily, say placing it on a pillow while you sit comfortably on a bean bag, it would block the airflow vents. Physical obstruction of the vents is bad both for the battery and the laptop. Dust is one of the contributing factors to it as well. Therefore, try and place the laptop on a flat surface or buy a cooling tray.
5. Kill Redundant Applications
Every application that runs on your device saps a small amount of power. The bigger the application and more resource hungry it, the more power hungry it would be as well. It often happens that you’re running your laptop without closing an app you previously used or you have two different browsers open with a dozen tabs running pages you don’t need at the moment. These can quickly drain the battery. Windows allows you to see the apps which are power and resource demanding but you seldom use, disable them from the task manager.
6. Remove Unnecessary Hardware
Unplug USB devices such as flash drives, hard drives or USB mouse when they are not in use. All of these devices consume a fair amount of power to run. Try and avoid using CD or DVDs when you’re on battery power; the drive hogs into battery life every time you run something from them. Copy the contents to your laptop and remove the disc. Leaving the disc inside is a bad habit as well, because every time you launch windows explorer, the DVD drive starts up.
7. Use a Battery Monitoring Tool
Some of the manufacturers include battery maintenance tools that give you most of the info you need on the state of your battery, the charge and discharge cycles and its power usage statistics. The tools also feature settings to conserve battery for longer performance. If your device doesn’t come with such a tool, you can always install a third party application which does that for you. Battery monitors give you a detailed insight into how your battery is being used so you can optimise your workstation to get the most out of it.
8. Sleep Less, Hibernate More
If you’re in the habit of putting your laptop to sleep when you’re not using it for a few hours, the better option is to put it into hibernation. Sleep uses a small but steady power to keep the memory on and the system loaded, ready to get back to work in a matter of seconds. Hibernation, on the other hand, uses almost no power when it saves the system state before powering off. Sleep is a good idea if you’re only going to be away from your system for a couple of minutes, hibernation is better if you’re away for hours. Hibernation option is disabled by default in Windows; therefore, it needs to be enabled.
9. Avoid Keeping the Laptop Plugged in All Day
Most battery managers avoid charging the battery to its full capacity; however, it’s best not to keep it plugged to the mains all the time when you’re at your work desk. Charge it up to 85 percent or so instead of 100 percent every time. The same goes for discharges as well; avoid using your laptop to the point of complete battery drain often. Ensure your battery hovers around 60 to 70 percent most of the time.
10. Manage the Memory
Shut down every program that you no longer need and turn on the battery saver. If you’re using only one program at a time such as the Adobe reader or playing a video file from the laptop and don’t need to use anything else, you could even put the laptop in airplane mode to conserve the battery.
1. How Do I Know If My Laptop Battery Is Good?
One of the first signs that your battery is getting weak is that you get fewer hours on it per charge. If you are using Windows 7 or later versions of OS on your laptop, there is a built-in warning that displays a red X on the battery icon when it’s time to replace the battery. If you need to know exactly how well your battery is doing, install a third party tool to get all the info you need on the battery at any time.
2. How Many Years Does a Laptop Battery Last?
Laptop batteries typically have a capacity of 1000 full charges. That is about a lifespan between two to four years.
Battery saving applications and device settings are helpful in conserving the battery. However, smarter use of your laptop can go a long way in plugging up all the leaks that drain your battery sooner.