Most modern PCs don’t come with removable batteries, so swapping a used one with a fully charged spare battery isn’t always an option. Sure, you can plug it in before it dies, but only if you are near a power outlet. As you could imagine, dashing to a power source to rescue a dying laptop battery isn’t always a fun affair. It is even more frustrating if you are tapping away an airport entrance or even working in a crowded convention center.
Luckily, modern notebooks are much more efficient than the older models, which could only last a few hours on a single charge. In fact, some ultraportables can sustain up to 14 hours or even more. But the truth is that laptop batteries might not last long as you would expect. Over time, they will experience a performance drop. After all, PC batteries are designed to handle a limited number of charge cycles, usually around 500 complete cycles.
While that being the case, you can improve your PC battery life by following some best practices and performing a few system tweaks. The good news is that these performance settings do not require much work once you know what to adjust. So, let’s look at some methods you use to increase your PC’s battery life.
Ways to Optimize Your PC Battery Life
While various power-saving settings can help you minimize power usage when your PC is in battery mode, these tricks will yield the best outcome:
1. Adjust Power and Sleep Settings
Windows come with various power plans to help you find a balance, depending on your usage situation. Since you want to conserve your battery, it is better to adjust your power plan to the power-saving mode. You can modify these settings from the Control Panel. Once there, choose Power Options, and then adjust your power plan to Power Saver. For more power setting options, go to Change advanced power settings. You will access a handful of options that will enable you to save even more battery power.
Besides this, you can also choose to hibernate instead of opting for sleep mode. When your computer is in sleep mode, it still requires some power to keep its RAM active. But when your computer is in hibernate mode, it places its system state to the hard disk and turns off, so it requires no power. That is why it only takes a few seconds for a computer to wake up from sleep mode than from the hibernate mode.
2. Deactivate Power-Consuming Apps and Processes
You can check which Windows apps are consuming your system resources by going to Settings > Systems > Battery. From here, click on the Battery usage by app option. It will display a list of apps and their consumption percentages, usually for the last 24 hours. If you spot an app that is using more than its fair share, look for the switch for Managed by Windows, then toggle it to off.
You can also disable some background apps, which often drain the battery. Windows 10 has a dedicated section for activating and deactivating these apps. To do so, follow these steps:
- Choose Settings from the Start menu, and then select Privacy.
- Now, navigate to the Background Apps section, and all the background apps will appear in the right panel.
- You can then turn off the unnecessary ones.
After disabling the background apps, open the Task Manager to disable unneeded startup apps and services. To disable startup apps and services, follow the steps below:
- Use the Control + Shift + Escape keyword combination to launch the Task Manager.
- Navigate to the Startup tab and select all unnecessary startup apps.
- Now, click the Disable button to kill them.
- After that, close the Task Manager window, and then launch the Run dialog box using the Windows + R shortcut.
- Type msconfig and hit Enter to launch System configurations.
- Navigate to the Services tab and uncheck the Hide all Microsoft services box at the bottom-left corner.
- Click OK to activate the changes, then restart your computer.
Besides disabling closing power-hungry apps and processes, you should also kill your browser tabs since they can also drain your battery. If you are fond of working with a couple of tabs open all the time, get used to using one tab at a time.
3. Dim Your Screen
It is always a good idea to turn down your screen backlight whenever you are running apps or games that require a lot of system resources. Doing this will not only improve the lifespan of your display, but it will also extend your PC’s battery life.
To decrease the brightness of your screen, press down the Function (Fn) key, then press the relevant brightness button on your keyboard. Another way of adjusting screen brightness is by using the Microsoft Mobility Center. You can access this utility from the Control Panel.
4. Turn off Hardware and Wireless Signals
Wireless signals, such as Bluetooth, use a lot of battery power, as they require hardware components to run. Therefore, turning them off can help you prolong your battery life. In most cases, deactivating Bluetooth is much easier than disabling the Wi-Fi signal. Actually, there isn’t much you can do if you need the internet most of the time. Be that as it may, always turn it off when you are not using the internet.
Likewise, set your hard disk to turn off when it is not in use. Most laptops switch off the hard disk only after several minutes of idling. For instance, the high-Performance power plan usually switches off the hard drive after 20 minutes of inactivity, which can be a long time. So, rather than waiting for the system to turn it off, why not change your power settings to shorten the time it takes to turn off the hard disk when your PC is idle?
5. Turn off Nonessential Peripherals
Peripherals, such as USB sticks, mice, and webcams, can put a drain on your system if given a chance. So, if they are lying idle, eject them from your computer. Apart from the peripherals, remove any disk that is spinning in the drive because it drains your battery. Thankfully, most modern laptops don’t come with disk drives. You can also switch off your speakers or turn them to mute if you don’t need any sound.
6. Keep It Cool
One of the most common battery killers is heat. Not only will it drain your battery, but it will also affect its long-term health. Most of the batteries we use today are Lithium-ion, so they discharge faster when subjected to heat because ions flow quickly. For the best outcome, always keep your battery cool. On the least, try not to restrict airflow when you are using your device. If its fans are on the bottom, keep the back elevated, and avoid crowding the sides.
7. Use Battery Saver
With Battery Saver enabled, your computer will automatically shut down unused apps and processes, such as email and calendar sync and other background processes. The good thing is that the Battery Saver rarely interferes with your regular Windows, and you can decide when the Battery Saver should come into play by adjusting the automatic slider. For instance, if you set is at 30 percent, the utility will turn off non-essential processes when the battery falls below 30%. To activate the Battery Saver, go to Settings > System, and then choose the Battery option.
8. Avoid Full Discharges
As mentioned earlier, PC batteries have a finite number of charge cycles. After completing these cycles, their efficiency will reduce drastically. Contrary to popular belief, Lithium-ion batteries don’t have to discharge fully before the next charge. Letting your battery die completely might mean reducing its charge cycles. So, try shutting up your device when your battery is on its last leg, rather than letting it die. And if yours is an older non-Lithium-ion battery, you should discharge it regularly.
9. Use Third-Party PC Optimization Tools
The above built-in battery optimization tools are efficient, but using a reliable third-party software can eliminate all the hassle of making all the tweaks. In fact, some optimizers can offer real-time battery monitoring, while others can advise you on how to speed up your computer without consuming too much power.
Most PC cleaning software will diagnose your Windows system, and then delete all the junk files, including outdated browser cache, unneeded apps, unused issue logs, and other temporary user files.
10. Install Updates
Finally, you should keep your software updated. Developers usually work hard to improve their programs. In most cases, they enhance these programs in a way that consumes less power. So, it is not a surprise for the same operating system, after a patch, to use significantly less battery power.
If your Laptop’s battery life isn’t meeting your expectations, try to give it a boost by applying the above tricks. Your priority should be to use the built-in power-saving tools, while also eliminating unnecessary applications, processes, and peripherals that might drain your battery. Along with these routines, you may also need to learn other PC repair tips and tricks that can increase the overall battery life. But if you aren’t sure about your technical ability, it’s better to partner with the right computer repair service center.
Editor and Computer Expert
A hardcore tech enthusiast and computer expert Uson Abdilazhanov who holds a degree in communications started writing in his personal blogs since 2012. That time he was interested in the technical part of the computer. But now the software aspect plays an important role in his career. Currently, he runs a PC building and repairing shop which helps a lot of designers and gamers who always like to try new things.