13 Ways To Extend your Laptop Battery Life


It’s summer and time for a little R&R with the family. No doubt the trusty laptop will be going along to help find something less than $5.50 per gal. gasoline. There’s just that one nagging problem in the back of your mind…. Battery Life.

Everyone knows it’s a problem. A zillion articles and lists on how to extend laptop battery life dot the Internet. The problem is that most are just vague lists. They tell us to, avoid extreme temperatures, buy an extra battery, or don’t be performance hungry. WELL DUH! While there might be a few of us working in the steamy Yucatan, most of us just want to get some work done on our way to Detroit, or keep the kids happy on a drive to the Zoo. I’m going to tell you what I found that works and how to set it up. These tips are not for using the laptop around the house. This is for when you must get the absolute most from your current battery charge. How much will it get you? How about a whopping 58% more use time? Read it below and see how I quantified these results.

How I tested

I used a brand new HP 15 inch laptop with a dual core processor and 2 gigs of memory. All of the tests were started with the available power reading at 100%. The same room temperature and location were used during the tests. All of the tests were completed within a two-week time period to reduce the possibility of battery degradation. The tests were all run until there was a black screen, no response, dead, done. Because it occurred to me that the type of rendering necessary could be a variable, I used the same movie throughout the tests. It was “Over The Hedge” and yes I have the whole sound track memorized now.

The first thing I needed to do was establish a base line for performance. For this I wanted to know how long my battery would last playing a DVD with the laptop set to normal use and no tweaks? The answer is 2 hours. This seems about right from what I’ve seen on other portables in the past, but to be sure I ran it twice. Exactly 2 hours each time.

Time to kick it up a notch and use the Power Saver option offered on all portables. This should get me some time. What do you think, a half hour, an hour? Nope, it’s an uninspiring 15 minutes. That’s certainly not anything to write home about. Since the whole point of a laptop is to provide mobility, I was expecting a little more from this built in option. Because the result was minimal I checked my settings and ran it again. There was no change, 15 minutes and not a minute more.

Looks like it’s going to take some extra tweaking to get this lappy humming. Time to cut some not needed services and background programs. Get rid of everything unnecessary for this one trip.

How to do it…

Polite but uninspiring (15 minutes)
1. Turn on your laptops Power Saver feature: Start> Control Panel> Power Options> Power Saver.

Better but still reserved (23 minutes)
2. Lower you monitor brightness to 30% or less: Start> Control Panel> Power Options> Adjust Display Brightness> and move the slider down.
3.Turn off all background programs: Start> Accessories> Run> and type “msconfig” without the quotes >Start Up/uncheck all Programs >Apply >Close >Reboot</span<.
4. Adjust your system for best performance: Start/right click Computer >Properties >Advanced Settings >Performance Settings >Adjust for best Performance >OK.
5. Clear all start up programs: Start> All Programs >Accessories >Run >type “msconfig” without the quotes >Start Up >Uncheck all items >OK >Reboot.
6. Turn off User Account Controls: Start> Control Panel >User Account Control >Turn User Account Control on or off.
7. Turn off Automatic Updates: Start >Control Panel >Automatic Updates >Change settings >Never check for updates.
8. Turn off windows Sidebar: Start >Control Panel >Windows Sidebar >Uncheck “start sidebar when Windows starts” > OK.

Down and dirty,”Give me all she’s got Scotty” (46 minutes)
9. Turn off Windows Defender: Start >Control Panel >Windows Defender >Turn Off Windows Defender.
10. Turn off Windows Firewall: Start >Control Panel >Windows Firewall >Turn Firewall on or off >OK.
11. Turn off all Blue tooth devices: Start> Control Panel> Bluetooth Devices >Options >Uncheck “Allow Bluetooth devices to find this computer” >OK. When not needed this is a big power hog.
12. Turn off System Restore: Start >Control Panel >Back-Up and Restore >Create a restore point or change settings.
13. Next we need to make sure these services stay off and add a few more to the list. All are found in “service.msc”. To get there click Start >All Programs >Accessories >Run > and type “services.msc” without the quotes, then double click each item listed and click “Stop”. Next, use the dropdown and choose “Disable”. Be sure to keep a list of the items so you can return them to their default settings at a later time. You will need these so don’t loose the list.

  • Bluetooth Support
  • HP Health Check. Any of these added proprietary services can and should be stopped.
  • LightScribe Service
  • MS Office diagnostic service
  • Print Spooler (only if you don’t need your printer)
  • Event Notification
  • Themes
  • Ready Boost
  • Security Center
  • Terminal Services
  • Terminal Services Configuration should be stopped and set to manual
  • Windows Defender
  • Windows Firewall
  • Windows Event Log
  • Windows Update

An additional 46 minutes of battery life represents a 38% increase. This is getting much closer to what I’m looking for.

Some of these suggestions are not for the faint hearted. If the thought of operating without a software firewall or any of the other processes scares you, then leave them out. Just playing a movie without a firewall poses no risk. If you are planning to be on the internet, then leave the firewall operational. Just be aware that you may not see the same overall results.

I’ve heard people mention that the CD and DVD burners are power hogs, and that makes sense, because of the moving parts. What if I downloaded the movie to my hard drive and played it from there instead of the DVD player. That’s got to be a big power saving. A couple of downloads and 2 hours and 51 minutes later I find I gained 5 minutes. Big whoopee, this small gain doesn’t seem worth the effort of downloading the movie to the hard drive. There’s only one more thing that might gain me some time, USB flash drives. They have no moving parts, plenty of storage space and are easy to install. That’s got to be the ticket.

The movie was already downloaded to my desktop so I copy/pasted it to the thumb drive and used a trial copy of CyberLink Power DVD to play the movie. Three hours and ten minutes later the laptop blacks out and is done. Excellent! That’s a whopping 19 extra minutes saved using the USB flash drive and just what I was looking for.

So there you have it, a total increase of 1 hour and 10 minutes. Now you know what tweaks actually work and exactly how to implement them.

Happy Summer Traveling and get the kids two movies this trip.

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