How To: Extending Your Laptop’s Battery Life

Chris Myers is a field service technician for Tech Experts.

“Do I have enough battery for this?”

It’s a question that everyone knows well these days, especially if you need to use electronic devices for work.

Fortunately, there are many ways to increase the daily charge duration and extend the overall life of your battery. You can see how much the following tips help you by using a battery life monitoring application like BatteryCare (http://batterycare.net/en/index.html).

Power Options
First, check the power settings on your laptop. In every version of Windows, you can find this by typing “power options” into the search bar in the bottom left of your screen.

In this area, you can change what happens when you press the power button or close the lid, when the display turns off, and how long the laptop will sit idle before going to sleep.

Then, most importantly, at the bottom of the power options window, there are sliders for setting the exact screen brightness on your laptop.

Lowering this is one of the easiest ways you can instantly extend your battery life. Just make sure you can still read text on the screen!

In Windows 10, Microsoft has built in even more control options. You can access these by clicking on the Windows Start Menu icon in the bottom left corner of your screen and then click on the “Settings” cog. Next, go to System, then Battery. Here, you can customize automatic battery saver mode and see exactly what programs are using up the most battery by clicking on “Battery Usage by App.”

System Maintenance
Computers get bogged down over time just like a car does. When this happens, a tune up is required to keep your PC healthy and running well.

Having professionals check it is always a great option since they have the knowledge and expertise to quickly diagnose any issues that they find. However, there are some steps that you can do yourself.

You can clean out temporary files (https://www.ccleaner.com/ccleaner) that the computer doesn’t need anymore. Unless you have a Solid State Drive (SSD), then your hard drive will need defragmented (https://www.ccleaner.com/defraggler) as well.

A fragmented hard drive makes files take much longer for the hard drive to open, which causes performance and battery life issues.

Finish out your system maintenance by checking what programs are running in the notification area in the bottom right corner of your screen.

You can also see more detailed information by bringing up the Task Manager (CTRL+SHIFT+ESCAPE) and clicking on “Show more details.”

Even for applications you use often, you should exit them as soon as you are done with them to save power and memory space.

Hardware
Heat buildup makes your computer try harder to get the same performance as before. You can mitigate this by blowing out the keyboard and air vents on your laptop with compressed air.

Take care not to work with the computer in your lap or on a soft surface that isn’t well ventilated. You can also take out the battery and wipe off the metal contacts where it plugs in.

If you are already doing most of the steps above and your laptop battery is still dying out on you far too early, then it may be time to buy a second battery.

The second battery should be identical to the first, but new from the manufacturer. This will ensure you get a healthy, compatible battery that you can swap out with your first battery whenever that one needs to charge. Make sure to label each of them.

My Laptop Battery Doesn’t Charge Fully. What Could Be The Issue?

If your laptop has not fully charged after being connected to a power source for a prolonged period of time, you will need to conduct some basic troubleshooting activities to identify what is causing the problem. Try one of the options provided below to identify what is preventing your laptop battery from charging properly.

Verify that the AC/DC cable is in full working order
Remove the battery and plug the power adapter into the laptop to verify that the device can power without a battery source. If not, the AC/DC cable may be faulty. Purchase a new cable and try again.

Service the battery
Once you have verified that the AC/DC adapter is not the culprit, you will need to check that the battery is working properly. An old battery may be inefficient and may need replacing or servicing. If you’re using Windows, an application like BatteryCare can help you to identify the total capacity of the battery. Connect the device to power for two hours and monitor how this affects the battery power levels. If the total capacity doesn’t shift much, now would be a good time to get the laptop serviced. In some cases, you may need a new battery.

Check the charger board
If you replace the battery and have checked that the AC/DC cable is in full working order but continue to experience problems charging your laptop, it may be that the charger board is broken. If that is the case, you will need to arrange for your laptop to be professionally repaired by a qualified IT service company.