We have all experienced this: You’re on the road or in a classroom, and you suddenly realize your laptop battery is dying.
You may have forgotten your power adapter. Or you may not have access to a power outlet. If you have important work to do and cannot wait to recharge, there are a few things you can do to increase battery life in times of need. No, putting it in the refrigerator is not going to help.
Some of these tips will help you stretch your battery life for the moment, while others will help prevent your battery from draining quickly. There may be a slight overlap between a few of these short-term and long-term strategies, but the reasons behind them are different.
Let’s have a look at the strategies:
Activate battery-saver mode
This particular option was designed especially for this situation. It implements multiple automatic changes that increase or improve your laptop’s battery life. A lot of these changes can also be made manually. They will adjust various settings on your laptop and change many components into lower power modes so that your battery lasts longer.
Once battery-saver mode is turned on, there are other things you can do to improve power efficiency. You can turn off all unnecessary devices, adjust settings, reduce the brightness, close unwanted apps or processes, and adjust activities to consume less power.
Disable unused ports and devices
Another easy way to reduce battery usage is by turning off unnecessary programs. Every part of your laptop needs power to work, but this does not mean you need to power them at all times. Start off by disconnecting unneeded peripherals, and turning off the biggest power users such as any graphics processors, Bluetooth, WiFi, and optical drives. And no, this is not the time to power your flat screen TV with your laptop.
One caveat: It is critical that you make sure you do not disable a device that is in use even if it isn’t essential for the operation of your current task. For example, don’t disable your hard drive.
Even though you will need to use your keyboard and display, the settings can be adjusted so that power consumption is reduced. One power drainer people often overlook is the keyboard backlight. Unless you are in the dark, turn it off.
Another power drainer is the screen. Even though it needs to be in use, you don’t need it to be on full resolution or at 100 percent brightness. Many laptops have hotkeys that increase and decrease screen brightness. This can also be adjusted from the control panel. Try reducing the display brightness to increase your battery life.
Also, when you are performing simple tasks such as writing and editing documents, you do not need the full depth of a 1080p resolution. Dial down the resolution to something lower so that the power used is reduced without impacting your work – after all, you are not trying to see Optimus Prime pound on Megatron right now.
Consider turning the sound down, or even better, muting the laptop. This way, the speakers won’t be using any of your precious power. If you have to hear something, turn the volume down as low as possible or consider switching from the speakers to headphones.
Turn off processes and apps
Hardware isn’t the only thing that uses battery power. There are a number of processes and apps that can also chew up your battery life quickly. Just like with the hardware, start by turning off the apps and processes you are not using.
In Windows 10, begin with the system tray. Focus on the icons on the lower right corner of the screen. Take note of any apps that are running. Close the ones you are not using.
A few other programs may still be running even though you are not using them. Open the Task Manager and look at the list of open apps. Close the ones you don’t need.
You will also be able to increase battery life by simplifying your activities. Multitasking may be nice when power consumption is not an issue, but running multiple programs at the same time puts a greater load on the processor and will draw additional power. Stick to the application you are using and avoid any resource-intensive programs.
You may even benefit by using simpler tools for certain tasks. For example, editing an unformatted text file uses less power than editing a Word document. You will have fewer features, but you can write more. Try to avoid using editing tools that put a load on the graphics card and processor. You can always mobilize the heavy artillery of power-hungry graphics and editing programs when you are recharged or can hook up your power adapter.
An ounce of prevention can give you a bounce of power. While it’s obviously too late to take preventive measures when your power is failing, a well-tuned laptop will help you squeeze some extra juice out of your battery. Some simple upgrades and maintenance tasks will increase battery life and will also speed up your system.
Make sure you defragment the hard drive regularly, because this will help data retrieval work more efficiently. (Do not try this if you are using an SSD because it will reduce the life of your drive.) Active drives use more energy compared to idle ones, and defragging them will lower the amount of time required to access data. Over time, as you add or remove files from your computer, data is recorded haphazardly to your drive. This requires more time and energy to access information. Defragmenting your hard drive is similar to organizing your closet, but fortunately it takes a lot less time and effort.
Remove any unwanted programs on a regular basis. Clean out all the cobwebbed files and get rid of all the bloatware on your system. You should also clear the Internet cache and delete old files from the downloads folder.
These tips will not only help you save battery power but will also extend its life. If you make these changes and tweaks, your dying battery may be resuscitated just long enough to help you finish your tasks.