Laptop battery care tips: optimizing your laptop battery life

There can be a number of situations that you’ll find yourself running low on your laptop’s battery power. If you think you won’t be able to charge soon and the battery juice on your machine may not allow you to last the day, worry not. Below are some of the things that you can do extend your battery longer. We also toss in some tidbits on how to optimize the life of the battery to make it last longer than expected.

  1. Lower display brightness
  2. Turn off unnecessary peripherals
  3. Use OEM-provided battery maintenance tools
  4. Minimize running apps and turn off unnecessary background processes
  5. Avoid heat
  6. Run regular maintenance tasks

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Trick #1: Lower display brightness

One of the things that you should do right away if you want to save battery power is to lower the brightness settings of your screen. Not only is this a very helpful tip but it’s within your ability to do easily. We don’t recommend bringing it to the lowest level that you can barely make out whatever’s on the screen. Just try to lower it to the lowest comfortable setting that you can tolerate as you obviously need to have a working screen. The thing is, you don’t need to have the screen running at maximum brightness all the time. While most laptops have a physical button to allow a user to dim the screen, you can also manually change screen brightness via Windows control panel. Try to bring down screen brightness to 50% and you’ll notice a significant difference when it comes to extending your laptop’s battery.

Some sites would also recommend changing the display resolution at a lower level but unless you’re constantly doing graphics-heavy tasks, this tip can offer little advantage. If you’re expecting a long day ahead without a chance of topping up your laptop, any trick can be helpful so it’s up to you.

Also, make sure to turn the display off if you don’t need to use your laptop for several minutes. The extra juice you can save from this common sense tip may give you just enough power to last the day.

Many recent generation laptops are now equipped with sensors that detect ambient lighting so the operating system can adjust screen brightness on the fly. The thing is, this feature is not yet perfect and most of the time, it does more harm than good as far as power management is concerned. Try checking your laptop’s settings and see if adaptive brightness is enabled. If it is, just turn it off. Here’s how:

  1. Go to Control Panel
  2. Click Hardware and Sound.
  3. Click Power Options
  4. Click on “Change plan settings” next to your active power plan.
  5. Click on “Change advanced power settings.”
  6. Scroll down to Display, then under Enable adaptive brightness, switch it off for both the battery and plugged in modes.

Adaptive brightness setting is a Windows feature but also depends whether or not your hardware supports it. If you can’t find the setting anywhere on your machine, that’s an indication that your laptop does not support it.

Trick #2: Turn off unnecessary peripherals

Like a regular desktop computer, your laptop also comes with a number of peripherals and ports that regularly suck battery power even when you’re not actively using them. Turning these peripherals off should allow your machine to save more battery power.

If you’re running low on power, the easiest way to conserve battery is to disconnect external peripherals like a USB mouse or an external drive. You can also turn off other devices like the GPU (if your laptop supports doing it), Bluetooth and wifi functionalities, and ports.

Trick #3: Use OEM-provided battery maintenance tools

Some laptop manufacturers anticipate battery-related issues so they have built-in apps or programs installed so a user can check the overall health of the battery. Some tools may have a feature that can tell a user what to do concretely to lengthen battery power. Try to go over your list of installed programs and see if there’s one that can help you maintain your battery effectively. The names of such programs vary so if you aren’t sure, try to consult the documentation that comes with your machine or do a simple Google search and visit the manufacturer’s website.

Some OEMs may label their battery utility tools to reflect something that saves energy or helps the environment (Eco modes). If your laptop has such tool or setting, make sure to use it as they are usually validated and effective methods in saving battery power.

Trick #4: Minimize running apps and turn off unnecessary background processes

Keep in mind that the more programs and processes are running, the more processing power your laptops requires. The more processing power is needed in turn, the more your laptop loses battery power. So, the general rule in this case is to lower the number of running apps  and processes. You can do so by checking Task Manager.

In order to pull up Task Manager, press Ctrl+Shift+Esc and click on Task Manager from the menu. Task Manager will then show you a number of tabs. You want to check the Processes tab so you can start turning off apps and background processes that you don’t need. Under the Processes tab items will be grouped into Apps, Background processes, and Windows processes. You can turn off an item by highlighting it and clicking on “End task” button at the bottom. We recommend that you leave Windows processes alone, unless you know exactly what you’re doing.

Also, try to simplify your activities by using one program at a time. If you are used to switching programs all the time, now is not the right time to continue doing it. If, for example, you’re only working on a Word document, try to avoid opening your email client unless you need to use it right away. The rule is to close any programs you’re not using like music players or apps that regularly connects to cloud services.

Trick #5: Avoid heat

If there’s one thing that can kill any battery fast, it’s heat. Try to avoid leaving your laptop inside a car that’s in the middle of a hot parking lot. Doing so would almost always damage the lithium-based battery on your machine sooner or later.

Also, make sure to let your machine cool off if you’ve been using it intensively for long stretches to avoid overheating. Unlike a desktop, internal ventilation in a laptop is very limited and too much heat from the processor and motherboard can affect the battery as well. Make sure that the bottom part of the machine is well ventilated and that the sides have gaps.

Trick #6: Run regular maintenance tasks

Your overall aim is to have a well-working system so part of battery care is doing basic Windows maintenance. The faster your system is, the more efficient it becomes, thus helping extend your battery to last longer.

You can start by defragmenting your drive. A fragmented drive makes data retrieval slower as it takes a more time for the operating system to read and write on the drive. Removing the clutter that can slow down the system is done by defragmenting your hard drive regularly. Drives are expected to become fragmented over time so countering it regularly is a must. Try to defragment your drive once every few months to minimize clutter. Windows 7, 8, and 10 machines are set to defragment regularly but you can also manually do it if you like.

If you’re using a solid state drive instead of a regular disc drive, make sure that you don’t defragment it to avoid shortening it’s life expectancy.


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