7 Tips Maximizing Dell Laptop Battery Life

Condition the battery When you purchase your Dell Inspiron Laptop Batteries, charge the Dell battery to 100 percent, discharge it completely, and then fully charge it to 100 percent again to help the battery computer dell laptop remember exactly how much electrical charge it can hold. From then on, you’ll never need to completely discharge the battery again, but always make sure when charging it that you let it reach 100 percent. DeHoop told us to “remember to plug in the AC adapter (or dock/port replicator) whenever you get a chance. Most notebooks will recharge quickly.” Salinas had another tip for your batteries: “Keep them cool. Exposure to high temperatures can be a battery’s worst enemy,” he said.

Decrease hard drive activity To minimize the frequency with which your hard disk has to spin up to access data, Salinas recommended defragmenting your hard drive regularly. This optimizes the placement of data on the drive so that it can be found more quickly. You can find the Disk Degfragmenter in the Start/Programs/Accessories/System Tools menu. Beyond that, he advised optimizing Windows’ paging file, which is an area of the hard drive that serves as virtual memory whenever your RAM is full. To change it, go to the Control Panel and click through System/Advanced/Performance Settings/Advanced/Virtual Memory Change and set both the initial and maximum paging file size to 1.5 times the capacity of the installed memory.

Disable startup items Startup items load into memory every time Windows boots up, which causes other open applications to spill over into virtual memory and adds to the CPU load. You can disable the startup options by opening the associated programs and going to the Options or Preferences menu. You can also remove them from the Start/Programs/Startup folder or by clicking Start/Run, entering C:\MSCONFIG, and clicking OK. Select the Startup tab and clear the checkbox beside any unnecessary background items, like qttask (QuickTime).

Don’t use any external devices. USB and PC-Cards (aka PC-MCIA) use your battery to function, even when you aren’t using them! Have an EVDO card or maybe a USB mouse? Remove them if you can. Even a memory card reader in your PC-MCIA slot uses power just by being in there. The effect varies based on the type of device, but even a few minutes here and there (as you’ll see) add up significantly.

Power down the display “You can often yield up to ten minutes of battery life per level of brightness lowered,” said Salinas. DeHoop added that lowering the brightness “may give you as much as an extra hour of runtime.” In addition, lowering the screen resolution and color depth decreases the workload on the GPU, thus extending the battery runtime. You can change these by going to Start/Settings/Control Panel/Display and clicking the Settings tab. Disabling extra features like ClearType fonts and fade effects will cut down on the CPU’s power consumption. You can find these in the Control Panel under System/Advanced/Performance Settings/Visual Effects.

Single-task, not multi-task. The more you are doing at the same time with your PC, the more memory and CPU usage increases. Both of which directly use up battery. Close any applications you aren’t using, even the small ones. When doing some experimentation, I found it more efficient to run a single application at a time, then close it and open a new one when ready to move on. While your hard drive uses the battery too, if you are doing anything ‘productive’ you are probably hitting the drive on a regular (even if infrequent) basis anyway.

Turn off unused devices Both of our gurus mentioned disabling unused devices. Many new notebooks provide a hard-wired On/Off switch for the Wi-Fi radio for this reason. Beyond that, you should go to the Control Panel, select System/Hardware/Device Manager, and disable the Ethernet adapter, infrared transceiver, and Bluetooth radio (if your notebook has one). It was designed for mobile devices, but having Bluetooth enabled actually consumes quite a bit of power.

Keep it cool. You can take a page out of the extreme gamer’s handbooks, and have your system perform more optimally by keeping it cool. Make sure your air vents (inflow and outflow) aren’t blocked by anything, which often occurs by poorly positioning your notebook on your lap (which is known to have some other side-effects too, by the way). Heavy CPU and memory use all contribute to heat as well, hence my comment on multi-tasking above.