Tips to Optimize Laptop Battery Life

Laptop batteries… Ugh! Need I say more? We all know how annoying and unpleasant your laptop experience becomes when you find yourself rushing around for the nearest power source to keep those precious emails and spreadsheets alive.

It seems like the battery life on laptops lasts for only a couple hours, and if you’re doing some heavy work that time can drastically decrease.

So I’m going to share some tips and tricks to keeping the life of your laptop batteries as strong, and long lasting as possible.

Defragment your hard drive

Believe it or not, keeping your computer’s hard drive defragged on a regular basis is one of the key things you can do to improve your battery life.

The more efficient your hard drive works, the less power and time it needs to do its processing, which ultimately decreases the amount of power required to process.

Minimize multitasking

Keep the number of programs you have open and running down to a minimum.

For example, time and time again I see users that have a dozen or more programs running at the same time, when they are only using one or two of them.

Keeping programs that are not needed running increases the load on the CPU and wears the battery down. Try to keep only programs you are working with up, and eliminate anything extra.

Clean the battery

Keeping the battery contacts clean is another key point, and I’m amazed as to how many laptop owners have told me they’ve never once cleaned the terminal posts that connect the battery to the laptop, nor even thought about doing so.

Just like any other electronic device, or piece of equipment, laptops needs regular cleaning and maintenance. Every couple of months or so, you can take a damp cloth with rubbing alcohol and wipe down the posts on the laptop, as well as the battery to keep a clean connection and keep the power transfer more efficient.

Make sure the power is off to the laptop, and that it isn’t plugged into the AC power before you start cleaning.

Add more RAM

This may sound misleading, but having more RAM can actually help reduce the power consumption of the laptop by reducing the amount of virtual memory you are using.

Virtual memory writes to the hard drive, which does require more power than writing to the RAM. If you see your hard drive blinking constantly, you could benefit from more memory in your laptop.

Use Windows Power Options

Utilize the features of Windows Power Options. Simply go into Windows Control Panel, choose Power Options, and set your laptop to use the predefined power plan of “max battery.”

This will ensure your laptop is getting the maximum optimization of power usage, while the computer is on or idle.

Turn off unneeded devices

Lastly, you can cut down on the use of external devices with your laptop. For example, if you’re simply doing some photo editing, word processing, or just working in a program that requires no Internet connectivity, shut off the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth adapters. If your laptop screen has a backlight, you can turn the brightness down to save power. These types of adapters and devices consume a lot of power, even if you’re not using them.

Another biggie is the fact that people love to charge all their gizmos and gadgets with their USB ports (iPods, phones, etc.) and this greatly affects the battery, and often can drain it in less than an hour.

These tips, along with a regular charging schedule will do wonders for the life of your battery. Remember, it is a best practice to keep your batteries on a regular charging schedule, and you should routinely completely charge and discharge your laptop batteries.