There are times when we are caught up somewhere without a wall socket nearby. So, what do we do in such situations to get the maximum juice off your laptop battery? Read on.
This is a common mistake many tend to commit - leaving Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on even when not in use. These two wireless modules (especially Wi-Fi) can eat up your battery life pretty fast, as they keep searching for new networks and devices to connect.
If you're not going to use internet over Wi-Fi, it's ideal to simply turn it off. How? Look for a Wireless symbol button on your laptop. It could either be on one of the Function keys (F1 to F12). Or it could be a physical button on the laptop itself.
Still can't find one? No sweat - type "View network connections" in the Start Menu search bar in Windows Vista/7. Right-click the "Wireless Network Connection" icon and click disable. However, don't forget to enable it when you want to use Wi-Fi again. For Windows XP users, the same thing can be done in "Network Connections" in the Control panel.
A considerable chunk of power is used to illuminate your laptop's display. By having a conservative approach towards screen brightness, one can shoot those battery life figures upwards. For the uninitiated, brightness controls are typically on the Function (F1-F10) keys. Lower it down to a level where you can view the screen comfortably without any hindrance. Not only will it save battery life but also protect your eyes from the otherwise bright rays from the screen.
Today's laptops by default have automatic power management when you unplug your charger. Some manufacturers, like Asus and Lenovo, even make their own set of software to optimize power. But it's always better to know how to choose the appropriate power scheme in your OS.
In Windows Vista/7, right-click the battery icon and click "Power options". Generally there are two to three states; "High Performance", "Balanced" and "Power saver". When you're using your laptop on battery, and are not going to be multi-tasking a lot, keep it on "Power saver" since it will give the most mileage, but slightly reduced performance. Only if you feel that the laptop is behaving too sluggishly, change it back to "Balanced". Click "Change plan settings -> Change advanced power settings" in order to manually tweak power optimization for every component in your laptop. Review those advanced settings and change what you feel is appropriate.
Windows XP unfortunately does not have such a high-level of power optimization. Nonetheless, right-click the desktop, click properties. Then Click Screensaver, followed by the "Power options" button below. Under Power schemes, select "Max battery" to boost battery life.
Now that you've selected the right kind of settings in your power profile, it's time to make good use of them. For example, when you're walking away from the laptop, close the lid, so that the laptop goes to "Sleep" mode (in Vista/7) or "Stand-by" (in XP). This is a state in which the laptop consumes the least amount of battery, and comes back to life in a few seconds when you turn it on again.
Second, disconnect any peripheral storage devices like portable hard disks, pen-drives or wireless modems after use, since they will draw power from the laptop battery in order to function. Third, make use of earphones or headphones instead of playing music off the loudspeakers, since the former should consume a little less power. Don't keep CDs in the drive when not in use, to avoid occasional spins when you open Windows Explorer.
Laptop batteries, like cell-phone batteries, lose their capacity to hold power as years pass by. That's why you may see that your new laptop back then used to give you two to three hours of life, but after a few years struggles to run for even one hour. But that doesn't necessarily mean its time to change your laptop. You can simply get a replacement battery to get it back to the way it used to be.
First, check with your laptop service center. Alternatively, search for "Laptop Battery" on Google.co.in and select "Pages from India". You'll find dealers who provide OEM replacement batteries for a decent price. A typical 6-cell Lithium-ion battery will be priced in the range of Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 5,000.
These are the basic guidelines to boost your laptop's battery life. Do you have any advanced techniques that you use to suck every little drop out of those cells? Share it with us in the comments section below.