Take Charge: Nine Ways to Extend Your Laptop’s Battery Life

December 15th, 2017 by admin

Picture this: You’ve got an important email to send so you hop on your laptop. With each word you type, it seems your battery dips lower and lower. 15%...10%...7%...2%...it’s a race against the clock! If this feels more like déjà vu than a distant nightmare, here are some helpful things you can do extend and preserve your battery. Whether you're looking for long-term battery preservation, or saving the last bit of juice when you are in a pinch, we have some tips for you!

Short-term Solutions:

1. Dim your screen

The biggest power drain to your laptop is the backlit screen. Just by turning down the brightness, you can add 30 minutes to your battery life.

2. Check your power settings

Set your screen to turn off after a couple of minutes to preserve battery. Set your laptop to sleep if there’s no activity after 5 to 10 minutes. Many laptops also have some sort of battery saving mode you can activate that will reduce your computer’s performance when you want to extend your battery.

3. Turn off Bluetooth and WiFi if they’re not in use

Simple things like this actually cause more drain on your battery than you would think. If they’re not in use, disable these settings to keep your charge.

4. Disconnect unused devices

Any peripherals you may have connected to your laptop such as a USB drive, mouse, webcam or even a disk in your DVD drive can run out your battery. Disconnect from anything not in use.

5. Manage your memory

Having too many tabs open in your browser, or too many applications running at once can not only slow down your computer, but can consume your battery life. Run task manager to see if there are any applications running in the background you may have forgotten to close.

6. Don’t use a screensaver

Screensavers were invented to prevent burn-in on old CRT monitors; with old monitors, any image that was displayed on the image for a long time could become burnt into the screen, leaving a ghost image. Today, this is no longer a concern due to the use of new LCD displays. Screensavers are no longer “saving” anything. Instead, they are stealing your battery.  

Long-term Solutions:

7. Get a new battery

Batteries are not designed, nor intended, to last the lifetime of your laptop. It’s natural to see battery life significantly decrease over time. To see a big improvement, get a new battery. Many, if not most laptops have use-replaceable batteries. They can be purchased through your laptop manufacturer, or through a third party for considerably cheaper.

8. Get a second battery

Some batteries can be installed internally, oftentimes in place of the CD-Drive. Or, you can use an external battery to charge your internal battery.

9. Avoid overheating

Heat is your battery’s worst enemy. To avoid your laptop getting too hot, keep the laptop on a hard and flat surface. Most laptops suck in air to cool down from the bottom of the device. If it’s on an uneven surface like a pillow or even your lap (counter-intuitive, I know), the cooling is impaired. Invest in a laptop cooling pad to help avoid overheating. It’s also important to make sure your laptop’s vents are clean; dust buildup in the ventilation ports can reduce cooling and lead to overheating.   Hannah Webb

Posted in: Tech Tips, Productivity