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How to improve the performance of your laptop’s battery

11 Jun

Heinan Landa,

one

Stay energized and effective for longer work periods, by increasing the performance of your laptop.

It used to happen to me every single time I was in the zone.

You know, the work zone. That hard-to-find place in which you are both energized and effective. That place where you are getting things done.

Every time I was there, my laptop’s battery would fail.

1. Reduce screen brightness

Your screen demands a lot of energy, so dim it as much as you can when operating solely on battery.

2. Tweak power saving settings

Adjust the amount of time the screen will stay on when you are in battery mode. (I suggest having the screen dim after two minutes of inactivity and shut down after six.)

3. Reduce hard drive usage

That whirring you hear is your laptop continuously spinning the hard drive. And, the faster and longer it spins, the more battery power it uses. If you defrag your hard drive regularly, it will stop the drive from constantly spinning and looking for data.

Another option is to change your hard drive to a solid state drive. These drives do not using moving parts and consume less power.

Finally, you can add more RAM to your computer, requiring it to use less virtual memory so that you hard drive doesn’t need to be accessed so frequently.

4. Sleep, then hibernate

People are often deceived into thinking sleep mode is the way to go. In actuality, when you set your computer to sleep mode, the display and hard drive turn off, but your computer’s memory is still active, which drains power. Hibernate is a true rest for your laptop.

Putting the computer into hibernate mode will save the current state of your computer and shut it down. When you power back up, your computer will look exactly as it was left (including the charge level of your battery).

I recommend setting your computer to go to sleep after 30 minutes of inactivity and setting it to switch into hibernate mode if you are not going to be using your laptop for three hours or more.

Preventing battery decline

Even if you follow all of these recommendations, your laptop’s battery will eventually lose its ability to retain charge. To stall this inevitable decline, I suggest partially discharging your battery. Most laptops run on Lithium Ion batteries, which should never be discharged completely. However, performing shallow discharges — discharging the battery to 40 percent to 70 percent before recharging it — can be good for its lifespan.

You can also remove the battery. If you have a laptop that is plugged in all of the time, it can get very hot. Removing the battery from time to time to let it cool can extend its life.

Eventually, though, it’s inevitable that you will have to replace your laptop’s battery. They aren’t designed to last forever. Even if you put your battery in a closet and never used it, it still would not last forever. But these simple tips can help extend both your battery’s capacity and lifespan. And they can help you stay in the “zone.”

As CEO of Optimal Networks, Heinan Landa has been providing managed IT services—including a premier corporate cloud solution and business-focused strategic IT consulting—to hundreds of clients since 1991. After earning his BS and MS from Johns Hopkins and an MBA from Wharton, Heinan crafted Optimal’s business plan with heavy emphasis on corporate culture. He and the self-professed “Optimalites” use their high spirit to fuel a commitment to unwavering client service and technology guidance.
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