Has your laptop ever died when working on an important project? Ever gotten the dreaded “low battery” alert that sends you racing to find an electrical outlet before your laptop runs out of juice? Factors you might not think about–like screen brightness, ventilation, and more–all play into the performance of your battery. The good news? Once you know what’s sucking the life out of your battery, you can fix it. Here are a few tips to consider.
Optimize Battery Usage and Performance Management Settings
Thankfully, your laptop has settings to help you squeeze more life out of your battery. So, if your battery seems to be dying too quickly, try this step first: Type “battery” in the Windows search bar at the bottom left corner of your screen. The window that pops open will let you turn on “battery saving options” and view other things that can help improve performance.
Another quick tip: Turn down your screen brightness. You probably have a function key on your keyboard with a sun or similar icon. Click the icon and use the arrow keys to decrease the brightness. You can also access this setting by searching “display brightness levels” in your Windows search bar.
Identify and Close Resource-Intensive Applications
Have you ever left a conference room and forgotten to turn off the lights? Conference rooms often have motion sensors that automatically shut off lights when a room isn’t in use. This feature reduces energy consumption; similarly, turning off energy-draining applications helps your battery last longer.
Consider closing applications you’re no longer using to conserve your battery. Not sure which applications drain your battery more quickly than others? Type “battery usage” in your Windows search bar. View the “battery usage per app” section to understand which apps are using up most of your battery. For example, you might see that Google Chrome uses 45% of your battery, Microsoft Excel 21%, and Microsoft Word 9%. Close out some of the biggest energy suckers; like in this example, you’d want to close Google Chrome. Another easy trick is to switch your laptop to airplane mode to reduce battery consumption.
Adjust Graphics and Display Settings
If you have a graphics processor on your laptop, it could be draining your battery. Open the “battery usage” screen and check how much battery it uses. If you don’t like what you see, you can always change your graphics settings to save a little battery power.
For example, you can review the program settings and dedicate different applications to graphics processing chips to ease the load on your battery. You could also align any games to a discrete graphics card and everything else to integrated graphics.
Ensure Proper Ventilation
While sticking your device in a laptop bag is certainly handy, it can interfere with airflow and may pull life from your battery. That’s because the material can block the battery ventilation ports in your laptop, wearing it down faster. Before you place your laptop in its bag, power it down or switch to standby. Once you get where you’re going, unpack your laptop. And while it may not be as comfortable, try using a flat hard surface like a desk instead of a softer one, like your lap, to free up airflow and help conserve battery life.
Also, let’s not forget about dirt and debris. Those tiny bits of dust and gunk may jam up your ports and make your battery work harder. Compressed air is an easy solution to blow out the buildup and help get your battery consumption back to normal.
Check Your Laptop’s Battery Health
Most laptops use lithium-ion batteries, which typically lose their ability to hold a charge over time. Your battery should easily hold a 100% charge fresh out of the box; as it ages, that performance may decrease to 30%. But having an older battery doesn’t mean you deserve to have your laptop die unexpectedly in the middle of an intense project. Getting proactive about laptop battery health will help you avoid that situation. Here are some quick steps to check the health of your laptop’s battery:
- Type “PowerShell” into the Windows search bar. The Windows PowerShell blue screen will appear.
- Type “powercfg/batteryreport” and hit enter. This command will give you a file path similar to: C:\Users\Your Username\battery-report.html.
- Type this file path into the Windows search bar, which will provide details about your laptop’s battery health.
A couple of red flags that may signal that your battery health isn’t optimal include a battery that dies faster than it should and a laptop that is constantly overheating.
Ready to Improve Your Battery Life?
As a small business decision maker, you know your productivity is only as good as the tools you use. Each tool has a purpose, and when one isn’t carrying its weight–like a battery that loses charge faster than it should–your workflow can be impacted.