The life of a battery is a short thing. How many times have you been mid movie, mid article, mid essay when your battery dies a tragic death? You could, of course, lug around slice batteries, or simply remember your charger, but then you have to fight over the last outlet in the coffee shop. Who wants that? With that in mind, here are 10 tips to extend your battery’s life.
1. Turn Off the Lights!
Yeah, it sounds obvious, but your screen brightness is high as you read this article. Am I right? The screen backlight really drains the battery, so if you’re looking to increase your battery life, turn it down to the lowest level you can and still be able to read. You can change the brightness manually, using the correct key combination for your laptop, but it’s best if you change the brightness in your power profile. Doing so will ensure that the brightness automatically assumes a lower setting.
To lower the brightness level in your power profile:
Select Power Options from the control panel.
Click Change Plan Settings next to your current power plan.
Select “Change advanced power settings.”
Choose a brightness percentage for On Battery, then Click OK.
Experiment with different levels until you find your nirvana.
Also, if your laptop has a backlit keyboard, you can turn that off too. On most devices you can just hit the function key on the keyboard’s top row.
2. Change Your Mode to High Contrast
Most notebooks have LED-backlit screens that use less energy when they display black pixels than colors. Setting your computer to show white or yellow text on a black background can extend battery life and gives you the added bonus of easy to read text in the sun.
Here’s how to do it in Windows 7:
Hit the key combination Left Shift + Left Alt + Print Screen and click Yes when asked to confirm. You can turn off High-Contrast mode by hitting the same key combo.
High-Contrast mode works for most programs, but if you use the Chrome, you have to install the Change Colors extension, which is free on the Chrome Web Store. Once installed, it will show an icon in the right side of your address bar. Click the icon and select “Apply override on all pages”.
3. Unplug Any USB’s and Eject Disks
All USB’s and disks have to be recognized by your computer. Recognizing so many devices can tire your battery out. Eject and remove any external devices that are connected to your laptop.
4. Don’t Let Scheduled Tasks Run Off With Your Battery Power
Your computer’s got a lot going on that you don’t necessarily know about. Virus scanner and disk defragmenter, and auto updates from Apple and Google, are scheduled to run regularly and they certainly don’t ask your permission. Set these tasks to run only on AC power so they don’t extinguish your battery so fast when you’re unplugged.
Select Administrative Tools > Task Scheduler in the Control Panel.
Select Task Scheduler (Local) in the left window pane.
Go through each active task that has a future date in the Next Run Time column and do the following:
Double-click the task.
Select the Conditions tab.
Toggle on the first two power options:
“Start the task only if the computer is on AC power” and “Stop if the computer switches to battery power” if they are not already checked.
Click the back button to go back to the list.
5. Close Apps that are secretly Using the Internet
Messaging apps like Skype check the Internet constantly, to see if your contacts are online and to check for messages. Automatic updater apps from Adobe, Apple and Google might be checking on updates online as well. To prevent these apps from automatically updating, stop them from waking up when you boot up.
6. Be Like the Bear: Hibernate
In hibernate mode, your laptop saves the memory to the disk and completely powers off. Obviously, this will save you more battery than sleep mode which is constantly preserving your last session, sending power to the motherboard and RAM. Hibernate mode preserves your session also, so when you flip the lid open it resumes where you left off.
To go into hibernate mode, just click the arrow next to the Shutdown button and select Hibernate. If you don’t see it, it’s not available on your computer.
Here’s how to do it:
Type Lid into the Start menu
Click “Change what closing the lid does.”
Select Hibernate from the “When I close the lid” menu under On Battery.
Click Save Changes.
7. Not Using Wi-Fi? Turn it Off
If you’re not browsing the web and you really don’t need Wi-Fi, turn it off. Or, if you’re using ethernet instead, turning off your Wi-Fi will stop your computer from desperately searching for it. Many notebooks have a Function key on the top of the keyboard that turns Wi-Fi on or off. Others have a special button.
8. Give Your Hard Drive a Break
Your hard drive does a lot of work spinning around in there. You can lessen its burden if you defragment on a regular basis. When Windows 7’s Disk Defragmenter runs every other week, your drive has to spend less energy searching for data. Instead of a hard drive, you can get an SSD. SSD’s use much less power. It’s also a good idea to consider more RAM. More real memory, means less virtual memory and less searching around for it.
9. Who needs Bluetooth?
You probably don’t even use your Bluetooth, but it’s wasting energy too. So, turn it off!
Type Network Connections in the Start Menu.
Select View Network Connections.
Right-click on the Bluetooth Network Connection > Disable.
10. Leave the Visual Effects at the Movie Theater
Visual effects are really not important and just eat up battery.
Here’s how to disable them:
Type Advanced System Settings in the Start Menu
Select “View advanced system settings.”
Click Settings under Performance.
Select “Adjust for best performance.”