5 Tips for stretching your laptop’s working time

Friday, October 21st, 2011 | laptops

When you set off with your laptop – fully charged – you want the battery to last as long as possible.  How can you do this?  Here are a few tips:

Keep your laptop cool.  A laptop generates heat and the price one pays for portability is a less efficient cooling system.  A higher operating temperature reduces a laptop’s efficiency, which leads to a greater consumption of battery power.  It therefore follows that the cooler you keep your laptop, the less power it will use.  The secret of keeping a laptop cool is that you must allow the machine to breathe.  Make sure that the cooling vents are not blocked by clothing or by a pillow – this can happen when you put the laptop on your lap, or if you work on a bed.

Adjust the brightness of your screen.  The screen can account for 25% of the total power consumption of your laptop when the machine is idle – and big widescreens take much more power.  The brighter the screen, the more power is put into back-lighting it.  You can save power by simply dimming your screen to the lowest level that is comfortable for you.  Avoid working in places with bright light, because that is where you’re usually tempted to increase the brightness.

Turn off the wireless networking connection.  The wireless device on your laptop is a significant drain on battery power.  When you don’t have a need to be connected to a wireless network, turn it off in order to conserve energy.

Don’t let your CPU work too hard.  The CPU (central processing unit) is the biggest consumer of power in in laptop.  You can lighten the load of the CPU by limiting the number of programs open at the same time.  The constant switching between programs eats up processing power, it works the memory and it results in a steady churning of the hard disk, which also uses power.  Of course, it is cool to have a number of programs open at once, allowing you to flip between them as your work dictates, but keep in mind that this does use extra power.  When you are in energy conservation mode, use one program at a time!

Invest in a spare battery.  If working time is important to you, buy an extra battery.  This may double your power reserve; you may even be able to get hold of a battery with higher capacity than the one that came with your laptop.  Of course, this would require that both batteries are fully charged when you hit the road, otherwise the extra battery will be of little use to you.  Also bear in mind that the extra battery will add weight to your luggage.

If you have any other power-saving tips for laptop users, please share them with us.

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3 Comments to 5 Tips for stretching your laptop’s working time

Mark C
Monday, 24 October, 2011

And don’t share your laptop with your children as they will drain your battery playing games just before that important presentation you have to do.

Tuesday, 25 October, 2011

…. and ensure that when you charge the battery of your laptop / netbook / tablet not to cover its screen or the whole unit under clothes – keep it “open” … otherwise it will be as warm as …… an oven !!


Aletta Crofton
Friday, 28 October, 2011

Thank you very much for some more useful, practical tips. I shiver to think how my netbook must have suffocated on that pillow and will immediately change this habit.

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