Tips for Extending the Life of Your Laptop Battery

Tracey Dowdy

It happens to the best of us. You arrive for your meeting, open your laptop and realize your battery is nearly dead. While your first reaction may be a silent scream or a quick panic attack, there are better options.

These tips won’t increase the amount of power left on the battery, but they will make that remaining power last as long as possible.

  • Switch to eco-saver or battery saver mode to immediately switch processes and programs into their low-power state. This automatically reduces the drain on your battery.
  • Exit apps and processes you don’t currently need. Look at it as “single-tasking”. For example, if you’re typing a document, close your internet browser if you don’t need to refer to web content. PC Magazine has some great tips on how to go one step further and close processes running in the background for both PC’s and MacBook’s.
  • Dim your screen. Just like on your phone, that brightness level is a battery hog. Don’t forget the backlighting on your keyboard. Turn it off unless it’s necessary to do your work.
  • Disable unused ports and devices. Are you charging your phone off your laptop? Have a USB plugged in? External hard drive? Unless they’re necessary for the task at hand, disable them.

These strategies can extend your battery’s life over the long-term and make sure it’s working at peak efficiency.

  • Install those updates. Failing to keep up with updates not only exposes you to risk of viruses and hacking, it means software glitches you may not even be aware of are an unnecessary problem. When you get an update message, be sure to install and update as soon as possible.
  • Keep up with maintenance. Just like your car needs regular oil changes to keep the engine running at peak performance, your PC needs to be defragged on a regular basis. For your PC, go to “Defragment”, and then “Optimize Drive”. You can also run a Disk Cleanup to clear out bloatware, programs you no longer use and clear out your browser cache.
  • Invest in a second battery or external battery pack. If your laptop uses a removable battery, you can order a spare directly from the manufacturer. Be wary of off-brand batteries or chargers – some are safe but others are not and you run the risk of serious damage to the hardware and software.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

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