Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Maximize the performance of your laptop batteries



A laptop battery is designed to provide a certain backup time. However, the backup time provided by a battery depends on several factors. Your laptop battery will not give you the assured backup time if you are ignorant about the components and tasks that consume battery power.  

If you own a laptop, then you should know that the hard drive, display, and CD-ROM/DVD-RW are some of the power guzzling components in your laptop. You can maximize the performance of your laptop battery by giving importance to smaller things you do when your laptop is running on battery power. Let’s take a look at some simple tips that you should follow to get extended backup time from your laptop batteries

  • ·         Dim the screen:
The factory settings for your laptop display are moderate or on the higher side. You can save a considerable amount of power by lowering the brightness of the screen. All you have to do is move the brightness slider to a lower position where you are able to read the text on the screen without straining your eyes. 
  • ·         Unplug external devices:
External devices such asa USB flash drive, card reader, USB mouse, andiPod consume power when connected to your laptop. Even though the individual power consumption by these devices is very small, the overallpower consumptionof several such devices can fall in the moderate power consumption category.
If there many such devices attached to your laptop and if they always remain connected to your laptop when it is running on batterypower, then you are losing a considerable amount of laptop battery charge. You should make it a habit to remove the external devices connected to your laptop to save power. Avoid using an external mouse and use the touch pad instead. These small tips can help you in your objective to get extended backup time from the laptop battery.
  • ·         Use the CD-ROM/DVD-RW less often:
The CD-ROM/DVD-RW spins the disc inside even when you are not accessing any data from it. You should use the CD-ROM/DVD-RW less often if your laptop is running on battery power. If you have anydata that you need to access, then you should copy the data on the hard drive and remove the disc from the drive. You can also create an image of the disc and load it in a virtual drive and access the data when needed.
  • ·         Turn down the volume:
 You should lower thevolume of the internal speakers if you intend to save battery power. Also avoid connecting external speakers while the laptop is running on batteries.
  • ·         Defrag your hard drive:
You should defrag the hard drive when your laptop is connected to an electrical outlet and before you go mobile. Your laptop’s hard drive will consume less power if there is no fragmented/ less fragmented data on your hard drive. If the data is heavily defragmented, the read-write heads of your hard drive will have to spin more across the platters. This will increase the power consumption of the hard drive.
  • ·         Switch off auto scheduled tasks:
There are several auto scheduled tasks in your system such as virus scan, defragmentation, and other tasks. You should turn off all scheduled tasks when your laptop is running on batteries.  You should also disable the auto save feature in applications and save the files manually at regular intervals.
  • ·         Use the Hibernate option instead of Standby:
When your computer goes in Standby mode, only the display and hard drive become inactive.  The processor and RAM are active and continue to draw power from laptop batteries. If you are taking a short break from work, you should use the Hibernate feature instead.  Your system is completely switched off in Hibernate mode, and your current system state is saved on the hard drive beforethe system shuts itself off.
  • ·         Keep the laptop on a stable platform:
You should avoid keeping your laptop on pillows or soft surfaces where its air vents can be blocked. If the vents are blocked, it will increase the temperature inside the laptop. The laptop batteries won’t work efficiently in overheated conditions.
  • ·         Tweak the power options:
You should tweak the system to save power. For example, you should select settings where the display and hard drive go into sleep mode after a specific period of inactivity. Avoid using a screensaver duringthe period of inactivity.
  • ·         Don’t play games or movies:
You should avoid playing games and movies when your laptop is running on battery power.  Games and movies are graphic intensive and add to the load of the CPU. In fact, you should avoid using the laptop for entertainment purposes when you have to save power for important work.
  • ·         Avoid Multitasking:
You should avoid multitasking when your laptop is running on battery. Close the applicationwindows that you will not be using. The background processes of applications continue to run on your system even when windows of those applications are not in focus or areinactive. The background processes increase the workload of the processor and RAM.

If you follow the above power saving tips, you will notice an increasein backup time of your laptop batteries. By making small changes in the settings of your system, you can considerably increase the performance of your laptop batteries.

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