Sometimes it just isn't convenient to find a place to plug your laptop into, especially when you're on the go. It can be even less convenient when you're in the middle of something important.
Fortunately, there are some simple tips that most laptop users will benefit from to get more life out of their battery.
The harder a laptop has to work while running on its battery, the faster the battery is going to drain. To preserve battery life, demand less from the computer until it can be plugged back in. Stick to simpler activities, like checking email, over more demanding processes, like online gaming or streaming videos. To conserve power, it is always better to run programs off the hard drive than the disc drive.
Multitasking will also cause the battery to drain much faster. Shut down any unneeded programs, such as iTunes or multiple web browser windows.
Things like USB devices, Wi-Fi, webcams, and external monitors should not be used when trying to prolong battery life. Use a wired connection to access the Internet, if necessary. Turn off anything not being actively used. Trying to charge your MP3 player while on battery power is going to have you looking for a power outlet to plug into very quickly.
Configuring your laptop's power settings can help substantially. Dim your laptop screen and have your display turn off when not in use, instead of running a screensaver. It can also help to reduce the time it takes before your display turns off when not in use.
If you're going to be away from your computer for more than a quick trip to the kitchen for a glass of water, consider putting your laptop into hibernate mode, instead of just sleep or standby. The longer your computer will be inactive, the more power will be saved from choosing hibernate over standby.
Avoid starting up your laptop if it is significantly above room temperature. Heat can cause a laptop to work harder than usual, causing a decrease in battery life. Let the laptop cool down before starting it up.
It is also important to keep your laptop's air vents clear for better function and battery life. A soft cloth can remove dust. Be careful when using canned air, which can easily damage internal computer parts. Keeping your work station free of dust and debris can proactively keep your laptop from becoming internally clogged.
When using your laptop away from your desk, be aware of soft things, like blankets or pillows, that could block air vents and cooling fans. Blocked air vents could cause a laptop to overheat and lead to a much shorter battery life. It is also helpful to use a cooling pad when working with your laptop on your lap.
Lithium-ion batteries should be fully drained and recharged approximately every 30 charges. Older nickel-metal hydride batteries should be fully discharged every other week to keep the battery in top shape. Remember to keep the battery contacts clean if you remove the battery.
Don't forget to fully charge your laptop before you leave if you plan to use your laptop away from home or the office.
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