Modern laptops are much better at conserving their power than older computers. Many are equipped with green hard drives or even solid-state drives designed to minimize power consumption. Most laptops have special green settings that cut down on power usage while extending battery life.
Even so, laptop computer users can often extend the battery life of laptops by changing a few key settings. Here's a quick guide to ecologically friendly laptop power settings that can extend battery life significantly.
Laptop settings in Windows: Laptops that use Windows 7*, XP*, or Vista* have a few predetermined power plans for users to choose from as well as a Custom option. To view these plans, open Control Panel from your computer's Start menu. Choose Power Options from either the System and Maintenance (Windows 7 and Vista) or Performance and Maintenance (XP) menus.
The Power Options menu offers both simple and advanced settings. Some laptops have a special eco-friendly plan which limits screen brightness while lowering the time it takes for a computer to go to sleep or hibernate. Choosing custom options will allow you to choose each setting separately, so sleep and hibernate times can be manually set.
To get really great battery life, laptop users should lower their screen brightness through the Display menu in the Control Panel. Some laptops also have special graphics card programs which can be used to minimize power consumption while a computer's unplugged.
Mac OS* laptops: Apple laptops have similar power settings, although changing them is a bit different. Go to your computer's Apple menu and select System Preferences. The Hardware tab has several power-related settings that can be changed by computer users. Sleep settings can be changed under the Energy Saver tab. Processor performance can also be changed. Lower processor speeds mean a slower computer, but can also mean better battery life.
With all modern laptops, it's a good idea to set power settings as soon as possible after buying a computer. When a computer is unplugged, running down its battery completely before recharging may extend battery life. Check your computer's manual to find out if this is the case.
Making these simple adjustments to a laptop's power settings is a great way to keep a battery running for longer and to reduce your power bill. With a slightly dimmer screen and manually adjusted sleep settings, a computer can often get 20 percent or more battery life. It's well worth the time to make a few key adjustments, especially if you frequently use your laptop on battery power.