Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Maximising your Notebook's Battery

A notebook battery in good shape will last longer, so always take care of your notebook's battery. Not sure how to do that? Here's how:

Handle your battery with care.
Be careful not to drop the battery or hit it against hard objects.
Keep your notebook battery away from extreme heat.
Clean your battery contacts regularly with a cloth moistened with rubbing alcohol.
If you have a Windows PC, use Hibernate mode instead of Sleep mode when not using your computer for an extended period of time.

Reduce the brightness on your notebook's display. The brighter your screen is the more battery power is consumed.
To adjust the display brightness, look for the icon that looks like a sun on your notebook's keyboard.
Note that some notebooks do not have a dedicated button for this function, so pressing the “Fn” button and the sun icon button at the same time is needed to adjust brightness in some notebook models.

Close down programs that you are not using.
The more applications you leave open, the harder the computer has to work, and that takes a toll on your notebook's battery.
Try not to keep more than one application open at a time. So if you are working on your report, just keep your word processor open and close your web browser.
After all, you can't work on a report and surf the internet at the same time, right?

Some applications require more computing power to run compared to others, and this takes up battery life too.
The biggest 'culprits' are applications that make intense use of graphics or media.
Try to keep activities such as photo-editing, watching videos, playing audio tracks, games or CDs and DVDs to a minimum.

Some programs like Microsoft Word and Excel feature an auto-save function that saves your work regularly so that you won't lose data. Very smart, right?
But this also takes up battery power because the computer is working constantly to save your file.
Turn off the auto-save function by adjusting the settings in your preferences.
In Microsoft Word 2007, go to the Home button (the colourful round button on the top left corner of the screen) and click on the Word Options button located at the bottom right.
Under the Save tab, uncheck the “Save AutoRecover Information” box.

Have that external hard disk drive stuck to your USB port?
Or have you finished watching that video clip on your DVD but the disc is still in your computer?
To extend your battery life, remove these external devices because it takes up battery power to run them.
Keep your notebook cool. When dust clogs your notebook's air vents, the fans will have to work harder to cool your computer and that takes up lots of battery power.
To keep operating temperature down, make sure that you keep the notebook's air vents clean and clear of dust.
Clean the air vents with a dry, lint-free cloth or a keyboard cleaner.
Don't put your notebook in the freezer to try keep temperatures down, okay?

If you are using a very old notebook, or one that does not have a Li-Ion battery (that's a Lithium Ion battery), you might want to do this:
Keep your battery in shape by fully charging and fully discharging it at least once every two to three weeks.
This will keep your battery from suffering the 'memory effect'. Don't know what the 'memory effect' is?
This is a problem experienced by nickel batteries, when prolonged use causes them to hold less charge over time.
Don't let your notebook's battery end up with goldfish memory!

Adjusting your power settings is perhaps one of the easiest ways to let your notebook run longer.
If you are using a PC, you can tweak your battery settings by going to Control Panels>Power Options.
For Windows Vista users, you can choose from three options:
Balanced gives you full performance when you need it, but conserves energy when your notebook is idle.
Power Saver is just as its name implies – it gives your battery life the biggest boost of the three available settings. The only downside is that this setting lowers your notebook's performance.
High Performance is something you probably won't want to choose. This setting will maximize system performance at the expense of battery life.
Still using Windows XP? Here's what to do:
Windows XP offers you two power schemes:
The Portable/Notebook scheme will minimize power use, but it will adjust your computer's speed settings so that performance isn't compromised so much.
The Max Battery scheme minimizes power use but will not adjust to speed demands, meaning that your computer may run sluggishly if you are using more demanding applications. Tech Chick recommends this setting only if you are using a relatively less demanding application such as word processing.
A Windows notebook is not your type? Tech Chick has some power saving solutions for Mac fans too, just click on the next step!

STEP 10:
Are you using a Mac? Here's help for Apple users:
In the Apple menu, go to System Preferences.
Open the View menu and select Energy Saver.
Click Show Details.
Select Battery of Battery Power from the Settings menu.
You will see a couple of options. Select Better Battery Life for a balance between performance and battery power.
Select Longest Battery Life to get the maximum juice out of your notebook battery.

It's that easy!