How to get the most from your laptop battery

While laptops have got faster, thinner, and smarter, batteries remain inadequate – here’s how to compensate

Low battery on your laptop, minus a charging option, is annoying at the least – so what can you do to make it last longer? There are quite a few simple steps to save battery and even make your laptop last longer. Here’s how.

Getting off

Turn the lights off, has been a staple power saving statement for years, and it applies to laptops too. The screen is a huge power drain and by turning down the brightness you not only conserve battery but add life to your screen by avoiding burnout. And while we’re on the subject of turning off, background applications are a big no-no. If you’re not listening to iTunes, shut it down. All open programs use up precious processing power even if you can’t see them working.

Speed cleaner

One juice-saving method, which most people don’t employ, is to keep the battery connectors clean. That’s right, a bit of spit shine can save battery. Alright not spit shine, unless you’re a drunk, you’ll need some rubbing alcohol and a cloth. Keeping the connectors clean, by rubbing them once every few months, can make power transmission more efficient saving you in the long run.

Drive smooth

Your hard drive, especially if it’s not solid state, uses lots of power while being accessed – so cutting that to a minimum is a big help. The first way to do this is by defragging your hard dive regularly so there’s less search time when accessing files. Another method is to add more RAM. This speeds up your computer, plus adds storage by minimising the use of virtual memory on the hard drive. That means it’s accessed less giving longer battery life.

Less wireless

An obvious tip is to turn off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and disconnect USB juice suckers, but that’s not always possible. If you can’t then be sure to turn off devices connected when not in use like a wireless mouse, external hard drive, mobile, or printer.

Know your juice

The old fallacy that a battery needs to be totally discharged before recharging is just that, irrelevant. Batteries that aren’t Lithium-ion need to be totally discharged to avoid battery memory but modern Li-ion batteries are actually best not fully discharged. They also work better when used more. Never leave a charged battery without use for more than a week. Also make sure to let a battery run down, being sure to disconnect the charger once it’s full.

Cool runnings

Last but not least, keep you laptop cool. The right temperature means more efficient operation and less battery consumption. And if all else fails buy a spare battery, or solar charger, to keep you going until super batteries land.

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