The main advantage of a laptop is its convenience or flexibility. Unfortunately, it has been plagued with the laptop’s battery issue that hold the main advantage back. It’s not cool that the laptop battery is running low when you are in the middle of something important or at somewhere you couldn’t find any electrical supply.
You might wonder why the manufacturers don’t want to provide a better battery that will last longer? This is not the manufacture fault nor any commercial decision. And yet, this is due to the limitation of the current technology that our science community could afford, and no doubt this is one of the biggest human’s technology challenge. In other words, the only way to increase a laptop’s battery life is through the laptop user’s behaviour or the way of using it.
We’ve listed 15+ ways to increase laptop’s battery at the following, and some tips might require other compensation in exchange for longer battery life. It’s not necessary to follow all the tips completely, and you should choose whichever fit you the most. Besides, we’d like to hear your own experience at the comment section.
1. Take Care of the Depth of Discharge
Depth of discharge (DOD) is the percentage of battery left during usage. Just imagine a mechanical device will also wear faster when it is subjected to heavy load, and this applies to battery either. It’s fact that the smaller the depth of discharge (more battery percentage), the longer the battery will last. Hence, try to avoid complete discharge and increase the charging frequency between usage is good for battery life.
2. Partial Discharge is OK
You might have heard some people said that you need to do a full discharge cycles for the battery at a certain period. Well, this is true when you are using Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) battery due to the memory effect. The NiCd battery tends to remember the amount of discharge was required on previous discharges, and will reduce its capacity accordingly. So, it needs the periodic full discharge cycle to erase the memory and restore the capacity. (Improved technology may resolve this drawback)
However, this doesn’t apply to Lithium-ion battery. Li-Ion battery doesn’t have memory effect and not require periodic full discharge cycle. Just bear in mind that partial discharge is fine, and avoiding complete discharge is the best way to extend laptop(Li-lon) life.
3. Keep the Laptop Cool
Image credit to: Jenn-e-42
Leaving your laptop battery inside your car boot or under the hot sun is really bad idea though! Hot temperature would deteriorate the battery life by reducing the charge storing capacity gradually. To keep your laptop running cold, you can use a laptop cooling pad and unclog the cooling air vent routinely. In addition, you can find out more about laptop cooling accessories at “10 Clever Laptop Cooling Solutions”.
4. Store the Battery Semi-charged
Many people might have a same doubt: To store laptop’s battery at full-charged or complete-discharge? The answer is neither! Keep in mind that the charge is a stress to a battery. Similarly with human, it need to acquire certain amount of stress to work optimally and the stress have to be controlled as well.
Many manufacturer recommend to store laptop battery at 40% charge in a cool environment. This is simply because a under stress battery(full-charged and hot) is prone to lose its capacity permanently. Ironically, the best way to kill a laptop battery is to fully charge it and leave it under the sun!
5. Select a Proper Power Scheme
Do you have a problem where your laptop is hot even it is in idle state? To resolve this issue, you need to optimize the power scheme of the laptop. There are various plans at power options(control panel), select the one that fit your usage behavior will prolong the battery life and improve the performance.
If you’re XP or Vista user, make sure your power scheme is selected to “Portable/Laptop” instead of “Home/Office Desk”(Start > Control Panel > Power Option). Selecting the “Portable/Laptop” will tell the Windows that you’re using laptop, and thus optimizing the operating system to reduce battery usage and cool down the laptop temperature.
6. Defrag Hard Drive Routinely
Hard drive defragmentation will not only boost up your computer speed, but at the same time it will reduce the stress of your hard drive and battery. Obviously, it has so many advantages to defrag your hard drive routinely. If you don’t know what is defragmentation, you can find out more at our post “How To Defrag Hard Drive In 5 Steps To Increase PC Speed”. Mac OS X is much better to handle hard drive defragmentation, and you don’t really need to take care about it.
7. Keep the Laptop Hibernate
Image credit to: Rieoko
Standby or sleep mode stores the current active memory into RAM rather than hard drive. Contrarily, hibernation stores it at hard drive and uses less power than the standby, but it takes a bit longer to resume.
8. Don’t Use CD-ROM
The ideal way to conserve battery is to avoid using CD-ROM at all. In some cases,however, this is just not practical and you will need Nero DriveSpeed 3.00 to optimize the spinning speed. Although spinning speed is directly proportional to reading speed, but it definitely can increase your battery life and reduce the annoying CD-ROM noise too.
9. Optimize the Laptop Brightness
Adjusting the screen’s brightness to minimum is best to your battery, but again this is not the best solution yet. You would need an ideal brightness to give you a comfortable experience and at the same time to conserve the battery. F.lux is a free and coordinate-based software to adjust your laptop screen brightness automatically No doubt, this can save you from doing the daily cumbersome work.
10. Clean the Battery’s Contact
A good battery contact will ensure maximum efficiency of power transmission, and thus increase the battery life. Alcohol is a good solvent and it’s even more convenient if you’re willing to invest some alcohol swabs.
11. Kill the Desktop Widget
Desktop widget could be a very useful tool for you, and perhaps you might not notice that these useful tools are very good battery drainer. Killing these widget while on battery mode would definitely save you some juice.
12. Kill the Background Processes
Same things apply to the background process or program. Shutting down unnecessary program, auto-save feature, and auto-update setting will not only increase your battery life, but also improve your laptop performance too. If you’re Vista and Windows 7 users, Aerofoil is a brilliant software to save the battery juice and most importantly, it’s free!
13. Unplug USB Devices
Image credit to: Kombb
A typical pendrive consumes 0.7W in writting mode, and a USB mouse would consume 0.5W. Obviously, unplug all these USB devices and use laptop touchpad instead of USB mouse will save you a lot of Watt.
14. Avoid Multitasking
We all know multitasking is cool and we all love multitasking. However, this is totally different story when your battery is running low. Multitasking puts a heavy load at the laptop’s CPU and virtual memory (RAM). Instead of leaving many programs and windows running together, try to use only what is necessary at a specific time.
15. Get a Black Wallpaper and Turn Off Screensaver
Blackle – a black-background Google search engine, proclaimed that the actual Google would save 750 Megawatt-hours a Year if Google changed its whitish background to black. I believe there is a value for this concept, and even the energy saving is small, the add up does matter. As well, turn off your fancy screensaver will contribute a bit to the add up too.
16. Say No to Movie and Music
Media file is one of the type of file that will drain your laptop battery fast. Don’t watch and don’t listen will help you to prolong the battery usage time. Just let your laptop muted while in battery mode!
17. Use Internet Explorer
Image Credit to: tonev
A Peacekeeper‘s benchmark carried out by 7tutorials suggests that IE 9 would be the best browser to save laptop’s battery. Technically, a test pc could run for 104 minutes when using IE browser, whereas 100 minutes for Opera, 92 minutes for Firefox, and 85 minutes for Chrome.
F.lux is a free software that will adjust your laptop’s screen color automatically based on your ambient lighting and geographical location. Basically it removes the blue light which would otherwise affect our sleeping quality during night, and surprisingly increases the life of laptop’s battery too!
(Post updated: 30.12.13)