O'Reilly logo

PC Hardware Annoyances by Stephen J. Bigelow

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

BATTERY ANNOYANCES

MAXIMIZING BATTERY LIFE

The Annoyance:

My laptop battery seems to last about 10 minutes. How can I squeeze more life out of this thing?

The Fix:

To get more running time from a battery charge, try these popular tips:

Remove unnecessary devices.

For example, PC Cards (PCMCIA devices) and USB optical mice draw additional power while connected. If you don’t really need that PC Card hard drive, NIC, or mouse, remove it from the system.

Dim the display.

LCD displays can draw as much as 40% of the laptop’s total power budget. Reduce the backlight intensity (usually accomplished through a series of keystrokes defined by the laptop maker). Lower backlighting will make the display seem a bit washed-out, but it will buy you precious battery time.

Throttle back the processor.

Many leading laptops can reduce the processor speed (and thus its power demands) to stretch the battery life (see the previous annoyance, "DVD Frames Lost When Mobile“). Of course, you may need to wait until you plug into AC power before running demanding applications.

Adjust the power management settings.

Use the Power Options dialog to adjust the LCD shutdown and hard drive spin-down times for your system. In most cases, if you set the Power scheme to Portable/Laptop, it will adjust the display and drive settings to a default value.

Use the suspend mode.

Close the LCD lid whenever you step away from the laptop. This puts the laptop into suspend (or standby) mode.

Cycle the battery periodically.

If you consistently ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required