Laptops are fantastic for their portability, but the inevitable downside for a lot of systems is that their battery charge doesn’t last long. Don’t fear, because this guide will offer tips on how to get more from a single charge.
Not only do some laptops offer poor time performance from a single charge, but you’ll also find that your battery gets less efficient over time. It isn’t always cheap to buy a replacement either, which makes it even more important to get the most from your battery in day-to-day use.
This guide will focus on Windows tips for extending your battery from a single charge, using tools built into the operating system. For information on how hardware affects battery life check our in-dept, hardware battery saving guide.
Adjust Your Battery Warnings
There’s nothing worse than realising that your battery is low before you’ve had a chance to do anything about it. One way of becoming more aware of how your battery is doing is to adjust the battery warnings that Windows gives.
To do so, search for edit power plan on your system and select the result. From here select Change advanced power settings and a new window will open. At the top of this window you can select which power plan to edit, but it’ll default to the one you’re using.
Scroll the list until you reach Battery and then expand the options. You’ll now be able to adjust at what battery percentage levels Windows will notify you through Low battery level. You should adjust this to what works best for you, but something like 25% will probably be suitable. Be sure to ensure that the Low battery notification is set to On.
You can also adjust the Critical battery level, which is when your computer will hibernate in order to save your current state if you hadn’t already done so from the previous warning. Again, vary this depending on your use, but 10% is a safe choice.
Don’t Sleep, But Hibernate
When finished with their current session, many laptop users will simply close the lid, which typically puts the device to sleep. Although there’s nothing wrong with this, your battery is draining even while in sleep mode.
Perform a system search for change what closing the lid does and select the result. This will take you to a window that will allow you to do exactly that, along with what pushing the power button does.
The default state for closing the lid is usually sleep, but this probably isn’t the best choice. Sleep still retains some power in order to keep everything quickly accessible when you load the laptop back up, so you could come back and find you’ve lost a good chunk of battery.
A better alternative is to change this to Hibernate from the dropdown. Hibernation remembers your state, but it completely powers down the system. This will mean that there’s no chance of your laptop being awoken from anything on the system. You might have shut the lid on your system and found that it boots itself up later to perform an update or scheduled task – hibernate doesn’t allow this.
However, bear in mind that hibernation does mean the computer needs to boot up again, which in itself uses power. Nevertheless, if you’re not going to be using your computer for hours then this is still a better option than sleeping.
Moreover, if your system runs on a solid state drive, you should probably disable hibernation because it could damage your drive.
Turn Down The Brightness
A report on Windows 7 from Microsoft engineers showed that the screen of your laptop is where over 40% of the power goes. As such, you need to be very frugal with your display output, if you want to conserve the juice.
The best way to conserve power on the monitor is to turn down the brightness. Although looking at a bright laptop screen is far preferable to a dim one for certain work, the former choice will be relentlessly sucking the power.
Perform a system search for power settings, select the option and it’ll bring up a new window. There will be a slider at the bottom that allows you to alter the screen’s brightness, which is useful for a quick fix, but let’s go one step further.
From this window, click Choose when to turn off the display from the left-hand navigation. From here you can choose when to Dim the display and Turn off the display. If you want to be truly efficient, set the dim to the lowest possible setting (1 minute). Set the turn off time to something that suits you, but 2 minutes will do.
To quickly adjust brightness on the go, you might be able to use keyboard controls. Alternatively, press Windows key + X (Windows 7) or Windows key + I (Windows 8 & 10) to bring up a menu or sidebar that contains the brightness slider.
Ditch Extraneous Programs
Are you sure that you’ve only got the programs you need running? While one or two extraneous applications loaded in the background might not cause much issue, a number all mounted up is a sure fire way to sink your battery into the red pretty quickly.
Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open up the Task Manager. Switch to the Processes tab and you’ll see a list of everything that is running on your system. The higher the Memory, chances are the higher the drain on your battery. Select a process you want to stop and click End Process.
Bear in mind that some of these programs may be automatically set to run on system start up. It might make sense to remove them from that list altogether if you don’t actually need them. For advice on what programs you can probably ditch, along with how to disable them from start up, check out our Make Windows Start Faster guide.
Although ending the process will save your battery, you shouldn’t actually start uninstalling anything until you’re plugged back into the mains. It’s always useful to tidy up what you have installed, but that’s going to suck power you want to keep.
Unplug Any Devices
Everything external that you have plugged into your laptop will use a lot of battery – even your mouse. It’s more efficient to stick to the trackpad if you can. The same goes for anything else you’ve got connected up, like speakers or USB toys. It should go without saying that you should definitely not be charging anything else (like your phone) through your laptop.
Take the same approach for your Wi-Fi adapters. If you’re not connected to any Wi-Fi networks, it’s worth disabling the adapters. Perform a system search for view network connections and select the result. Then right click your wireless connection and Disable. Although it may not actually be connected, it’ll still be using battery.
Get Saving Power!
Hopefully these tips have helped you in the way of saving your laptop’s battery from running dry in a single session. It can be a huge hassle to run out of battery life when your charger isn’t handy, so follow the advice above in order to get every last drop you can.
Do you make use of any of these battery saving tips? Do you have any of your own advice to share?