How to extend your laptop battery life

That new laptop can quickly lose it's shine when you can't go far from the mains plug! A poor battery life is one of the top complaints among laptop and notebook users, but there are a few steps you can take to help. Learn how to improve your laptop battery life with these tips...

Stretch that battery

New batteries need to be fully charged and completely drained a few times so that they get conditioned to their full capacity. A good rule of thumb is to charge your laptop battery from empty and completely drain it at least once a month.

Optimise the software

Dim the screen display, mute the speaker volume, shut down background programmes that you aren't using (like Windows Messenger, iTunes, Desktop Search etc.) and turn off all scheduled tasks (Click Start, All Programmes, Accessories, System Tools and then Scheduled Tasks).

Turn off unnecessary hardware

Shut off any hardware that you aren't using - such as WiFi, Bluetooth, optical drives, PC Card modems and USB drives. Disable all unused ports and components such as VGA, Ethernet and PCMCIA. You can do this through Device Manager.

Look after the juicebox

One of the most common ways of damaging your laptop battery life is damaging the battery itself. Make sure that you always use an AC adapter with the correct voltage. Avoid overheating by using a cooling pad when working on your lap and by never placing your laptop on a soft surface (such as a cushion or duvet). These can block the cooling fans.

A few other tips for increasing your laptop battery life

  • Add more RAM - a laptop with a low RAM will write temporary information to the hard drive
  • If you don't use your laptop for extended periods of time, remove the battery from the machine (but ensure that it's kept clean)
  • Don't leave the battery in while using the adapter after it has been fully charged. This will leave the battery in a constant state of charge that can be damaging
  • If you're in the market for a new laptop, look for LED screens as oppose to LCD ones - they use a lot less power

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