Prolonging Your Computer’s Battery Life

If you’re using a laptop computer then battery life will be important to you. There is nothing worse than running out of battery when there is no outlet available to plug in to. And while power won’t be such an issue on a desktop computer there is no point in wasting power if you don’t need to have your computer running at full power.

Windows has a power management feature that lets you configure the power options for your computer and to control how much power is consumed when you are running on battery and how much is used when you are plugged in. This month, we’ll show you how to find these power settings and some techniques for configuring them for best results.

The Power Options are accessible via the Control Panel so click the Start button and click Control Panel > Power Options (depending on your Windows version, you may need to select Hardware and Sound > Power Options). Here you will see your plans which are generally Balanced (or Recommended) and Power Saver. Select the one to use.

Click Change Plan Settings to view and configure the options for the plan you chose. A laptop will have separate options for On Battery and for Plugged In. The settings here are for the period of idle time that must expire before the Display is dimmed or Turned off and before the computer is put to sleep. You can also set the default screen brightness.

To minimize battery use, reduce the screen brightness and set the On Battery times to low values. For Plugged In you may want to set longer times and a brighter screen. Make your changes and click Save Changes.

Back in the main Power Options dialog and to the left is an option for Requiring a password on wakeup. If you want to change your current setting, click this option, click Change settings that are currently unavailable and choose the setting to use. Click Save changes and close the dialog to finish.