13 Ways To Extend your Laptop Battery Life

roadtrip-2.jpg

It’s summer and time for a little R&R with the family. No doubt the trusty laptop will be going along to help find something less than $5.50 per gal. gasoline. There’s just that one nagging problem in the back of your mind…. Battery Life.

Everyone knows it’s a problem. A zillion articles and lists on how to extend laptop battery life dot the Internet. The problem is that most are just vague lists. They tell us to, avoid extreme temperatures, buy an extra battery, or don’t be performance hungry. WELL DUH! While there might be a few of us working in the steamy Yucatan, most of us just want to get some work done on our way to Detroit, or keep the kids happy on a drive to the Zoo. I’m going to tell you what I found that works and how to set it up. These tips are not for using the laptop around the house. This is for when you must get the absolute most from your current battery charge. How much will it get you? How about a whopping 58% more use time? Read it below and see how I quantified these results.

How I tested

I used a brand new HP 15 inch laptop with a dual core processor and 2 gigs of memory. All of the tests were started with the available power reading at 100%. The same room temperature and location were used during the tests. All of the tests were completed within a two-week time period to reduce the possibility of battery degradation. The tests were all run until there was a black screen, no response, dead, done. Because it occurred to me that the type of rendering necessary could be a variable, I used the same movie throughout the tests. It was “Over The Hedge” and yes I have the whole sound track memorized now.

The first thing I needed to do was establish a base line for performance. For this I wanted to know how long my battery would last playing a DVD with the laptop set to normal use and no tweaks? The answer is 2 hours. This seems about right from what I’ve seen on other portables in the past, but to be sure I ran it twice. Exactly 2 hours each time.

Time to kick it up a notch and use the Power Saver option offered on all portables. This should get me some time. What do you think, a half hour, an hour? Nope, it’s an uninspiring 15 minutes. That’s certainly not anything to write home about. Since the whole point of a laptop is to provide mobility, I was expecting a little more from this built in option. Because the result was minimal I checked my settings and ran it again. There was no change, 15 minutes and not a minute more.

Looks like it’s going to take some extra tweaking to get this lappy humming. Time to cut some not needed services and background programs. Get rid of everything unnecessary for this one trip.

How to do it…

Polite but uninspiring (15 minutes)
1. Turn on your laptops Power Saver feature: Start> Control Panel> Power Options> Power Saver.

Better but still reserved (23 minutes)
2. Lower you monitor brightness to 30% or less: Start> Control Panel> Power Options> Adjust Display Brightness> and move the slider down.
3.Turn off all background programs: Start> Accessories> Run> and type “msconfig” without the quotes >Start Up/uncheck all Programs >Apply >Close >Reboot</span<.
4. Adjust your system for best performance: Start/right click Computer >Properties >Advanced Settings >Performance Settings >Adjust for best Performance >OK.
5. Clear all start up programs: Start> All Programs >Accessories >Run >type “msconfig” without the quotes >Start Up >Uncheck all items >OK >Reboot.
6. Turn off User Account Controls: Start> Control Panel >User Account Control >Turn User Account Control on or off.
7. Turn off Automatic Updates: Start >Control Panel >Automatic Updates >Change settings >Never check for updates.
8. Turn off windows Sidebar: Start >Control Panel >Windows Sidebar >Uncheck “start sidebar when Windows starts” > OK.

Down and dirty,”Give me all she’s got Scotty” (46 minutes)
9. Turn off Windows Defender: Start >Control Panel >Windows Defender >Turn Off Windows Defender.
10. Turn off Windows Firewall: Start >Control Panel >Windows Firewall >Turn Firewall on or off >OK.
11. Turn off all Blue tooth devices: Start> Control Panel> Bluetooth Devices >Options >Uncheck “Allow Bluetooth devices to find this computer” >OK. When not needed this is a big power hog.
12. Turn off System Restore: Start >Control Panel >Back-Up and Restore >Create a restore point or change settings.
13. Next we need to make sure these services stay off and add a few more to the list. All are found in “service.msc”. To get there click Start >All Programs >Accessories >Run > and type “services.msc” without the quotes, then double click each item listed and click “Stop”. Next, use the dropdown and choose “Disable”. Be sure to keep a list of the items so you can return them to their default settings at a later time. You will need these so don’t loose the list.

  • Bluetooth Support
  • HP Health Check. Any of these added proprietary services can and should be stopped.
  • LightScribe Service
  • MS Office diagnostic service
  • Print Spooler (only if you don’t need your printer)
  • Event Notification
  • Themes
  • Ready Boost
  • Security Center
  • Terminal Services
  • Terminal Services Configuration should be stopped and set to manual
  • Windows Defender
  • Windows Firewall
  • Windows Event Log
  • Windows Update

An additional 46 minutes of battery life represents a 38% increase. This is getting much closer to what I’m looking for.

Some of these suggestions are not for the faint hearted. If the thought of operating without a software firewall or any of the other processes scares you, then leave them out. Just playing a movie without a firewall poses no risk. If you are planning to be on the internet, then leave the firewall operational. Just be aware that you may not see the same overall results.

I’ve heard people mention that the CD and DVD burners are power hogs, and that makes sense, because of the moving parts. What if I downloaded the movie to my hard drive and played it from there instead of the DVD player. That’s got to be a big power saving. A couple of downloads and 2 hours and 51 minutes later I find I gained 5 minutes. Big whoopee, this small gain doesn’t seem worth the effort of downloading the movie to the hard drive. There’s only one more thing that might gain me some time, USB flash drives. They have no moving parts, plenty of storage space and are easy to install. That’s got to be the ticket.

The movie was already downloaded to my desktop so I copy/pasted it to the thumb drive and used a trial copy of CyberLink Power DVD to play the movie. Three hours and ten minutes later the laptop blacks out and is done. Excellent! That’s a whopping 19 extra minutes saved using the USB flash drive and just what I was looking for.

So there you have it, a total increase of 1 hour and 10 minutes. Now you know what tweaks actually work and exactly how to implement them.

Happy Summer Traveling and get the kids two movies this trip.

83 total views, 2 views today

(Visited 37 times, 1 visits today)

27 thoughts on “13 Ways To Extend your Laptop Battery Life

  1. I have had a fascination with all types of gadgets and gizmos since I was a child, beginning with the toy robot that my grandmother gave my brother – and which I promptly “relieved him of” in 1973. I have long been captivated by devices that did anything interesting or served a unique purpose – however silly. My first computer was a TRaSh-80, and since then I have worked my way through an alarming number of desktops, laptops and handheld devices. I have been writing online consumer device reviews since 1999, and I’ve greatly enjoyed having a legitimate reason to try out almost every doo-dad that catches my fancy. I can’t tell you how everything works – but I am known for using a product until I have a full understanding of what it does, what its limitations are, and if it excels in any given area…or not.

  2. The battery on my dull inspiron died just a month after the year warranty. Dull wanted over 150 bucks for a new one. That’s a pretty freakin expensive habit for a confuser to have.I very rarely ran it on battery power.
    I went to laptop.com and found one with a higher capacity, and an 18 month warranty for 99 bucks.
    I will probably do at least one complete discharge as soon as it’s full. And then maybe again every few months.

  3. 1-8 are quite ok but ordinary users will still find it hard. How do you expect them to revert the settings if they attach the laptop to a power supply? I wouldnt suggest the rest of the steps even if you’re an expert. I suggest you purchase a battery that can last about 4-5 hours in battery mode. User experience is still important.

    And when buying, consider your needs – http://laptop.hp.com/.

    Nice to know that those things help with your battery needs. Thank you for posting.

  4. Most surfers know Me as “side pocket bob” The retired A/V tech. Richard, I ain`t that much up on p.c.s lap or other wise but I do know that if You put Your lap in the freezer You can kiss it goodbye. When it warms up moisture from the air will condense in the circuits and short circuit it all over! zorching everything from your C.P.U. on down,(ZAP!) Battery maybe but i`d even be afraid of that (make sure completely dry before reinstalling.) but whole thing? absotivly posolutly NO!!!!

    Side Pocket

  5. I didn’t get my laptop for mobility other than to use it in another room such as while watching TV or going to my bedroom for privacy ie to escape the kids. So consequently I use the AC cord almost all the time.

    However since I also have an Apple Ibook and it is so much smaller and just screams at me to use it outside or in the air I do rely on the battery with it. I can actually see the screen on a bright day. Can you all see your laptops outside. Is there a secret

    My comment is that Apple recommends that in the first couple weeks you let it run down, and then do a complete recharge and then repeat that procedure now and again.

    So far the only laptop battery I have had a problem with was on a very old Toshiba (it came with Windows 95). The battery will no longer hold a charge for 15 minutes. Not a problem at this point because the last time I turned it on so my kid could run an old dos game, the laptop decided that it did not have a hard drive. I think the old girl deserves a decent burial. Don’t you?

  6. What I have found that does work is run you battery stone dead, during while you go to bed, when you get up charge it up fully don’t interupt it. If you do it a couple time you will see an inprovement in life. I have done i to both of mine and gained at least an hour 30 min x 2. If needed get extra capacity batteries. One hi capicty battery on a Dell C800 will add at least an hour.

  7. I have a dell C800 and I leave mine pluged in all the time and I periodkly run both of my batterys stone dead to minimise the memory effect on the batteries. I can gain at least 10 minutes on each battery. When I first got my laptop I only got 30 min on my primary. Not I get 45 min on a single battery. When I got a secound on and put it in my secound Hard drive bay I got a whopping 3 hours Min 4 if I am conservitive.
    I also got a power inverter for my home charger I run on that when I can to keep my battery charged. So far I haven’t seen my batteries decrease in life.

  8. I’m guessing the fact that I leave my laptop plugged in when I can (with the battery in and being charged) and only disconnecting it when I need to go to a different area, is hurting my battery life? Should I take the battery off the laptop when I’m using the AC adapter?

  9. Great bits of advice on how to prolong the life of your laptop battery. Best thing to remember when using your laptop is what you plain on using it for. Knowing what you want to do with it during your trip prior to powering it up makes a huge difference. If you plan on watching movies, you probably better off preloading avi’s for simplier playback as opposed to using your DVD-ROM drive or you can just invest in a portable dvd-player with an car adapter. If you plain on surfing the net, then be sure to modify your browser to load text only and maybe limit the video rendering that some sites might have to make surfing a bit faster and easier to manage. All in all, you advice was sound and definitely beneficial. Thanks.

  10. Buy a power supply and adapter for your laptop (i.e. Kensington, IGO, etc). Then you have a spare charger, can charge at home and from your cigarette lighter, can power/charge your cell phone, jawbone, dvd player, video games, and anything else you need when traveling. Makes a lot more sense to spend $80 on a charging adapter, than strip down a $1000 worth of options you just paid for.

  11. i used to work for the largest uk electrical retailers and all batteries create a memory if you dont let them discharge and just top them up the memory (dead cells) wont hold a charge and reduce the life of the battery so dont let those dead cells get a chance to take control of the battery or off you will go to guys like me and spend more cash than you need too

  12. I remember back in the days when I had my BOOM BOX i used to put the batteries in the FREEZER to get a lil bit more juice outta them — Im thinking about putting my laptop in the freezer to see if I can sqqquuuueze another 55 mins outta my batteries!!! I’ll keep you posted….

  13. My question is, is this about “extending the per use life” or “the longevity” with that I mean how many times can the battery be charged, this does not take into consideration how long it will last for each charge, but how many times it will.

    A battery new technology or older, has a certain number of recharging cycle in it’s life, Yes the newer types can be recharged with out being fully discharged, HOWEVER there are ONLY x amount of times the battery can be charged. Also by allowing the battery to fully run down you do use all of the charging “cells” and this also is a factor, this is different than the reason in older type batteries. I realize this is not explained as well as an expert would. [Edited by Administrator]

  14. Sounds to me like simply turning down the display (long known as a battery extender) and using a USB drive (so logical!) are well worth the effort. I wonder if turning off programs and processes is only worthwhile when you really need a few extra minutes.

  15. the floppy slot on my dell is also a 2nd battery slot so i bought another battery and replaced the floppy with a 2nd battery. Contrary to conventional wisdom, there’s nothing wrong with leaving your laptop computer plugged in all the time. Nor is it inherently safer to run a computer on battery power than AC current.

  16. By the time I read through this list, make a copy for future reference and save it somewhere that I will remember, then do all those steps and later undo them, I will have lost 1 hour and 10 minutes of MY life. I agree with the suggestion to buy a higher capacity battery.

  17. I think the easier solution is just to purchase a higher capacity battery. I enjoy using all of my expensive laptop features.

  18. Very interesting article worth keeping as the instructions should also speed up the laptop? Why not buy an inverter which can be plugged into the car’s cigarette lighter socket and then the laptop can be charged whilst the car is in use.

  19. Thanks for tips.
    It will nice to have a script that will change from normal to supersave state and back to normal.

  20. As long as your laptop is turned off you can store the battery in your laptop or away from the laptop. I would suggest away form the laptop but the important thing to remember is to keep it in a location that maintains a constant moderate temp. Something between 50F and 85F would be ideal. It’s also a good idea to make sure the battery is holding at least an 80% charge before storing. It will loose somewhere around 15% to 20% over a few months storage period.

    Never leave the battery charged in longer than it takes to recharge. Especially don’t store it in a charger.

  21. Very informative article. Thanks.
    I’d also be interested in knowing how to treat the battery for longer overall life (ie charge/discharge, does leaving it on the charger at home all of the time hurt)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *