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Your laptop offers a lot more portability and convenience than a full tower and monitor. You can work or play on the go; simply pop it open, and it’s ready for your latest task.
However, laptops quickly lose their charm when you have to search for an outlet, or you see the “low-battery” warning flash across your screen and you have no way to charge it. Perhaps you’ve even lost hours of work because the laptop shut off due to lack of power.
So what can you do to extend the life of your laptop battery?
When you’re in a pinch and you need a fast solution to squeeze a few more minutes of use out of your laptop, try the following techniques.
Turn on Battery Saver or Eco Mode
Many laptop manufacturers understand that laptops need to run for extended times between charges, so they often include an economy mode setting. Simply click “Power Options” on the Control Panel if you have a PC, or “Energy Saver” under System Preferences if you run a MAC.
This setting will let you determine how long your computer will run before turning off the display or putting the computer to sleep.
Adjust Keyboard and Screen Settings
Power saver mode can help you not waste battery life when you’re not using your computer. But if you’re in the middle of a task, you’ll want to adjust additional settings to eke out as much juice as possible.
Start by adjusting the screen brightness, dimming it to just enough that you can still see your work. If you have a backlit keyboard, dim the keyboard brightness as well.
Disable Wireless, Bluetooth, and Unused Devices
Unless you absolutely need an internet connection, disable your wireless and Bluetooth settings. If these devices stay on, your wireless chip will constantly search and connect to an access point, putting your battery to work even if you don’t actively use the internet.
And while you turn off these unused devices, go ahead and disable any unused ports as well. Every component needs power to function, even if that component isn’t currently in use. Turning off those components will help conserve power.
But don’t just turn everything off. Do not turn off the hard drive that houses your operating system or the processor that runs your laptop. Only turn off devices you feel comfortable turning off, such as unused optical drives. To do so, go to your Device Manager in your system’s control panel.
If you worry about extending the total life of your laptop battery, these tips will help it last longer with fewer charges in between each session.
Defragment Your Drive
Many hard drives feature spinning platters which store data in different places around that platter. As your computer writes data to the drive, it does so in blocks placed sequentially from one side of the drive to the other.
Fragmentation occurs when files split between blocks that lie far away from each other. As a result, your hard drive has to visit multiple areas on the platter to read those files, making it work harder and drain more battery life.
Most modern computers defrag their drives automatically, but it doesn’t hurt to do it yourself every once in a while. Since the defragging process can drain battery life while in use, you’ll want to plug in your laptop while you do this.
Keep in mind that solid state drives do not require defragmentation because they do not use a spinning platter to store data, so it doesn’t take extra time to read from different parts of the drive.
Do Not Overcharge or Drain Your Battery
Many laptops today rely on lithium-ion batteries to hold their charge. These batteries can easily charge between 300 and 500 times before needing replacement. However, you can extend your battery’s lifespan by paying close attention to when you charge your battery.
For best results, charge your battery to about 80 percent then let it drain to about 40 percent. This minimizes the voltage level your battery needs to hold, and reduces strain on your battery.
Add More RAM and Upgrade Your Drive
RAM, or Random Access Memory, is a type of memory that your computer can access quickly. If your computer doesn’t find what it needs in RAM, it turns to your hard drive, which is slower than RAM and drains 30 times more power. The more RAM your computer has, the longer your battery will last.
If you want to invest more in your computer, consider upgrading your hard drive to a solid state drive. Solid state drives require less power than hard drives, and some even come with additional battery saving features.
Battery Not Charging Like It Used To?
If you’ve tried all these techniques and your battery still needs regular charging, it may be time to replace the battery. If you’re not sure how to do this, ask an IT technician to look at your computer.