A laptop battery has a fixed capacity, but how long the laptop will run on the battery depends on the amount of power being used. Aging laptops may normally get only 45 minutes to an hour and a half of battery life. While traveling or commuting by train often, this is not acceptable. Fortunately, it is possible to stretch the battery life of a laptop out to twice or more of what would normally be gotten with these simple tips.
Lower Screen Brightness
It might seem obvious, but it is easy to forget to turn down the brightness of a laptop screen. When unplugged, most laptops will automatically turn down the brightness but for many laptops, the screen brightness can be turned down several bars more than the automatic adjustment. Each bar can represent a 10% increase in battery life, which adds up rapidly.
Whether a wireless card is internal or external, it uses more battery than any other laptop component, particularly if it is searching for wireless when none is available. Most laptops have a keyboard shortcut to turn off an internal wireless card, so it no longer uses battery; look for a dot surrounded by parenthesis. Using this function alone can double your battery life at no loss, if there is no wireless to connect to anyway.
Using the computer speakers take power. Playing sound will drain a battery, so just mute a laptop to keep power from the speakers. If background music is needed, an MP3 player with its own power source makes a good alternative to using a laptop.
Minimize Video Processing
The computer processor uses only as much power as it needs; the same is true of the graphics card. This means if a computer is not working hard, then those components do not draw much power from the battery. Processing video is one of the more taxing activities for a laptop to perform and consequently will use more power. For maximum battery life, avoid any graphics intensive activities such as watching video.
Minimize USB Peripherals
USB ports not only allow information to flow between a computer and peripheral devices, but also provides the devices with power. More power for peripherals means less power for the laptop. Use fewer peripherals, or use ones that have their own power source, to reserve power for the laptop.
Follow these tips and experience a dramatic increase in battery life, allowing more hours of productive word processing, or other work on your computer while traveling or commuting away from power sources. By being conscious of the power usage of different things done with a laptop, a balance can be struck between functionality and battery conservation.