Optimize Laptop Battery Usage In Windows XP Using Hardware Profiles


winlogo.jpgHow many tips and articles have you read about getting the most usage out of your laptop battery? Probably a lot.

Now, that's not to say the tips are not useful, because they are. It's just that after all the tweaking and disabling of devices to conserve power when using the battery, you will eventually need to plug the power cord back in and return to normal usage.

But what happens to all those tweaks and disabled devices after you plug in the power cord?

Nothing. Their still tweaked and disabled.

And unless you have a photographic memory or diligently documented every tweak and disabled device, it's could be a long road back to making everything work again.

Or you can just make things a whole lot easier and use hardware profiles that you can boot into those settings when you really need to conserve power.

Since the early days of Windows, having the capability to create hardware profiles made it easy to deal with different hardware configurations. Overtime, there really has not been a need to create multiple hardware profiles. Instead, I like to use them for situations, such as when I need to maximize battery usage.

By disabling devices that I know will just drain the battery when I don't need them enabled, allows me to setup everything under a separate hardware profile. I then just need to boot into that profile, and I'm instantly optimized to run on battery power. When I'm finished, i just save my work and boot into the normal profile.

So what devices are good candidates? Hardware such as WIFI devices (Wireless, Infrared, Bluetooth, etc), USB, DVD, CD and Optical drives and so on. You cannot save any Operating System tweaks since they will remain tweaked no matter what profile you use (but if you can remember the config settings, go ahead and use them, just don't forget to un-tweak them).

To create a profile, just click on Start \ Run and enter sysdm.cpl .

When the System Properties window opens, click on the Hardware tab, then click on the Hardware Profiles button at the bottom (circled in screen shot below).

If no other profiles exist, you should only see the default profile.

To create a new profile, click the Copy button (make sure the current profile is highlighted) and give it a name (such as Battery ). Click OK when finished.

With multiple profiles listed, make sure the new profile is second in the list. Use the up/down arrows (circled in below screenshot) to re-order the list. Also, make sure the radio button is selected as shown by the arrow in the below image, and change the time to 10 seconds.

That setting will allow the default profile to load if no selection is made after ten seconds is up

Now that a new profile has been created, it's time to optimize it for when you want conserve batter power. To do this, reboot your computer, and select the new profile (in my case the Battery profile).

During boot, you will see the following screen. just select the new profile and computer will continue to boot.

Now, just log on normally, then open up Device Manager by clicking on Start / Run and entering devmgmt.msc

Look for any devices that you do not want running by expanding the list of items, then right click on a device and select Properties .

In the General tab, look for the Device usage section (at the bottom) and click on the the pull down arrow. Now select Do not use this device in the current hardware profile (disable) . Click OK when finished.

The device will appear with a red X, indicating it has been disabled.

Continue with disabling any devices you do not want running when using the battery. Be careful with your selections and make sure you choose the correct profile when disabling.

If there is a device that you need running, while on battery power, you can always open Device Manager and enable it (some devices may not work until you reboot again).

If you decide you do not need the profile any more, you can just deleted from the Hardware Profiles list.

That's all there is to it!

Using hardware profiles in addition to creating or using the default Power Options easily allows you to stretch the time you need when using battery power. Now you can get your work completed, and still have time to catch that movie!

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