How to Save Laptop Battery Life in Windows 10

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How to Save Laptop Battery

A laptop’s biggest limitation is its battery. How to save laptop battery life becomes super important when the power starts ebbing dangerously away to shut down. And tethering it to a power outlet isn’t an option. One reason why a laptop’s battery life is short is because the manufacturer’s claim to the number of hours you should be able to work away from an outlet are often optimistic. Add to that most laptop batteries start to fail around 18-24 months. After-which, you’ll notice a sharp decline of those numbers. Thankfully, there are things you can do to save what little battery power you have left.

1.  Dim the Display’s Brightness

The biggest drain on your laptop’s battery is the display. Powering all those pixels requires a lot of energy. New laptops use power saving LED backlights. But they still consume quite a bit of energy.

Save laptop battery life bydimming the display.This can net you an additional 30-minutes of battery power. If you’re working outside or in a bright room where you don’t need so much backlighting. Use the shortcut key labeled with a sun symbol on the keyboard to adjust the brightness level.

The brightness button can also be found as a second function of one of the F keys. It’s also represented by a sun symbol with up and down icons depending on your laptop. Hold down the Function (Fn) key and tap the arrow keys to adjust brightness levels.

If you’re a Windows 10 user.The brightness slider provides another easy way to adjust the display’s brightness. You can find it by going to Settings > System > Display. You can also find it by holding down the Windows key and pressing X to access the Mobility Center. Or you can search for it in the Control Panel.

Yet another option is to open the Action Center by clicking the notification icon on the taskbar. Then click the brightness icon to adjust the brightness. Going to Settings and Display will also let you adjust the brightness.

PRO TIP #1: A bright desktop background means more pixels are lit up, which requires more power. You can save laptop battery life by choosing a darker picture or color by going to Settings > Personalization > Background.

2.  Activate Laptop Battery Saver and Eco Modes

If you’re the set-it-and-forget-it type. Battery Saver and Economy modes engage automatic changes to your laptop to improve and extend laptop battery life.

By default, Windows 10’s built-in Battery Saver mode automatically kicks in when the remaining battery life dips below 20%. It’s a saved profile that conserves battery power by disabling email and calendar syncing, push notifications, apps running in the background, and lowers screen brightness.

This new battery tool makes it easier to switch between power modes. Now you can click the battery icon on the taskbar, instead of going to the battery page in settings.

Enable Battery Saver mode by clicking the battery icon in the notifications area. Then drag the Power mode slider from “Best battery life,” to “Best performance,” or a balance somewhere in between.

You also get the flexibility of customizing this feature to activate whenever you want by going to Settings > System > Battery.

3.  Adjust and Change the Power Settings

Start by using the Windows Power Troubleshooter to improve laptop battery life.

This troubleshooting tool allows Windows to look for common system issues that drain battery power. Then it automatically fixes them without you having to dig around to find them.

To launch the tool in Windows 10, go to Settings > System & Security > Troubleshoot > Power.

By default, Windows might set your laptop to ‘Balanced’ rather than ‘Power saver.’ The operating system also uses different power setting depending on whether the laptop is plugged into an outlet or using its on-board battery.

Next, you want to use the Control Panel to find out which Power Plan the OS selected. You should find a Battery Saver option. Select it and close the window. If you don’t see it, click ‘Show additional plans.’ Or customize a power plan by clicking Change plan settings next to a profile.

You can also adjust your power plan in Windows 10 by tweaking a variety of settings from the Power Options window to save power.

Go to Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Power Options > Change plan settings > Change advanced power settings to save energy by selecting “Power Saver” Power Plan. Click the Change plan settings > Change advanced power settings here to modify advanced power options.

You can set the display to turn off after a couple minutes. If nothing happens after 10-minutes, set the laptop to sleep. You can also set when the laptop goes into Hibernate mode, and which components use their maximum power saving profile by going into the advanced power settings.

4.  Check Which Apps Use the Most Battery Power

Multiple apps and processes running in the background could be stealing away battery life. improve laptop battery life by turning off everything that’s not currently being used.

Windows 10 tracks CPU usage over time to give you an overview of which applications are draining your battery life the most. The list shows the percentage of battery each app used in the last 6 or 24-hours for the past week.

You can access this list in one of two ways. 1) open the Task Manger by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Delete and select it from the menu. 2) Go to Settings > System > Battery > Battery Usage by App.

This shows all applications using the most battery power. Look at the open apps. The ones you use most will show that they also use the most battery power.

Identify programs and apps you may have forgot to close, and the ones making an unusually heavy use of battery power. Close the background applications taking up a lot of power if they’re not actively in use. Or consider switching to more power-friendly applications.

If you find an app using more than its fair share. Click it and toggle off the switch for “Managed by Windows” and make sure the box remains unchecked for “Allow app to run background tasks.”

Then go to the Process tab to find processes currently running on your laptop. Some are needed. But others like music players and cloud storage devices (like Dropbox) can be disabled without issues.

5.  Check for New Emails Less Often

Constantly checking for email updates puts a drain on your laptop’s battery, too. Increase laptop battery life by telling Windows to check less often by going to Settings > Accounts > Email & app accounts.

Then, click on your account. Click the Manage button. Click Download new content. Switch that from ‘as items arrive’ to ‘every 30 minutes,’ ‘hourly,’ or ‘manually.’ Finally, click Done.

6.  Turn-Off Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is a wireless networking capability built into your laptop. It’s constantly drawing power from the battery as it looks for networks, even when it’s not connected.

Turn off this device when you’re not using the internet, and when you’re away from a wireless network to extend laptop battery life.

Most laptops have a switch or key combination to turn it off. If your laptop doesn’t have a dedicated function button to easily turn off Wi-Fi. You can switch it off manually by going to the Control Panel, accessing the Network Connections menu. And disable the wireless connection.

You can also disable it by using Airplane mode. Click the Wi-Fi icon in the taskbar. Then click the Airplane mode button. Or you can disable only Wi-Fi by clicking the Wi-Fi button on the taskbar Wi-Fi menu.

7.  Disable Bluetooth

Bluetooth is another laptop connectivity feature that consumes a fair amount of battery power. But disabling it can be tricky.

Some manufacturers provide a utility for enabling and disabling Bluetooth in the Start menu. Subsequently, you can go to Settings > Devices > Bluetooth & other devices. Then toggle off the switch for Bluetooth.

You can also disable Bluetooth by going to the Device Manager in the Control Panel. Then scroll through the list of hardware. Right-click on the Bluetooth adaptor and choose Disable.

8.  Disable Devices and Turn Off Peripherals

All the hardware on your laptop (like external drives, graphics cards, and the optical drive) need power to function. But if you’re not using a particular component. Or there’s a device that isn’t critical to the operation of the laptop. Why waste power on it?

You can save the battery by disconnecting unneeded peripherals in Windows by opening the Control Panel and locating the Device Manager. There you’ll find individual components grouped together.

Then isolate the devices you want to shut down within the relevant category. Finally, from the top-down menu. Click on the device name and select “Disable” to increase laptop battery life.

9.  Turn Off Unused Ports

The actual impact on battery life here is minimal. But since the motherboard powers USB peripherals. Ports have power running through them, even when they’re not in use.

At that desperate moment when you’re starring at only one energy bar. You can extend battery life by going into the Device Managerand turn off unused ports. Also, copy all your information and eject unnecessary devices.

Another culprit is keyboard backlights. There’s a Function key that lets you toggle the backlighting on and off. Or you can find the control for it in the Windows Mobility Center.

Yet another offender is the on-board webcam. Check to see if there’s a function button that automatically turns it off. Your battery also gets drained every time you get an audio notification for emails or boot Windows. Mute the speakers unless you really need them to increase battery life.

You can also save the laptop battery by configuring it for the environment you work in (like a coffee shop or at the office). Create power-saving hardware profiles which disable unused ports and components (such as VGA, Ethernet, and USB). Right click on My Computer and select Preferences on the Hardware Profiles menu.

10.  Use Hibernate and Sleep Mode

Go to the Power & sleep settings to adjust the time the display turns off automatically. Change how soon your laptop goes to Sleep mode when you step away from it by clicking the battery menu.

In Windows 10, go to Settings > System > Power & Sleep. Once there you can tell Windows when you want the display turned off, and when you want the system to go to sleep.

But if you know you won’t be using your laptop for some time, use Hibernate instead of Sleep mode. Or shut down the system all together to increase the battery life.

Your laptop still uses battery power in Sleep mode to wake up when you’re ready to use it again. Whereas Hibernate mode and turning it off won’t use the battery at all.

11.  Save Battery Life by Tuning-up Your Laptop

As well as giving you a more efficient use of power. Regularly defragging your MHD (mechanical hard drive)  will extend your battery life. Defragmenting reduces the hard drive time needed to access data.

Data is scattered in different portions of the hard drive as you add and remove files. A fragmented hard drive requires more time and battery power to retrieve information.

Windows 10 has a tool that defragments the drive regularly. Keep an eye on it to ensure that its enabled and running properly. You’ll find it in the same location as “Defragment and Optimize Drive.”

PRO TIP #2: Don’t defrag a solid-state drive (SSD) as this will reduce the drive’s usable life and make it slower.

12.  Reduce CPU Usage by Lightening Software Load

Save battery life by having your laptop do less. The less your laptop does, the more battery power it saves.

First, start by eliminating your screen saver. They were made for Cathode Ray Tube monitors so that images left on the display won’t burn onto the screen. But since modern laptops use LCD panels. Screen savers only work to waste battery life.

Second, robust programs that require a lot of work from the CPU will use more power and drain battery life faster. When possible, select lightweight programs that are easy on system resources to increase laptop battery life.

Third, consider single-tasking and simplifying tasks to improve battery endurance.

13.  Reduce RAM/System Memory Usage

Once RAM is full. Data is moved to page files on the storage drive in what’s called Virtual Memory. This also has an impact on battery life.

Closing programs that aren’t in use will extend the battery’s runtime by making more RAM available. Or you can upgrade the RAM in your laptop from say 8GB to 16GB, thereby increasing the performance of the battery.

Find out about your CPU and RAM usage by going to your Task Manager.

14.  Make Upgrades to Conserve Battery Power

While we’re on the subject of upgrades, ditch the MHD and go with an SSD for not only a longer battery life.

Those spinning platters require more watts to push. Since an SSD uses flash memory to store data, it’s more power efficient. You won’t notice an enormous improvement on battery endurance. But you do get the benefit of a faster system, overall.

15.  Take Care of the Battery to Conserve its Life

This doesn’t apply to laptops that have the battery sealed into the chassis. But when the contacts that connect the laptop to the battery get dirty or damaged. It reduces and disrupts the flow of power. Clean the contacts with using a cotton swab and rubbing alcohol.

Taking steps to provide optimal airflow and cooling will also extend battery life. Physical obstruction to the ventilation ports (like using the laptop on a pillow or blanket) results in heat buildup, which shortens the lifespan of not only the battery but the CPU.

Place the laptop on a lap-desk which you can easily get from Amazon for less than $50 to improve air flow. You can also use a can of compressed air to blow out some dust from the vents and fan.

Contrary to popular advice since new laptops come with lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries. You can charge them up to more than just 80% of their capacity.

And you can keep your laptop on a charger for as long as you want. But you should occasionally let the battery drain completely through normal use to extend its runtime.

16.  Disable Features

Windows has built-in features you don’t really need when you’re on the move and running low on battery life. Turn things off (like Windows Aero) to make your laptop more efficient.

17.  Eject Your Disc Drives

Many programs will spin a disc left in the drive which is an unnecessary drain on battery life. Eject the disc before switching to battery power to get an extra few minutes of work time.

18.  Invest in a Battery Backup

Get an external power pack. It’s technically a compact battery unit that plugs into your laptop like the charger. It comes with adapters for many laptop models, and other devices like tablets and cell phones.

It has the capacity to double the length of a charge to add valuable extra work hours when you need it most. And it’s portable enough to fit in your suite case or backpack. Click to find out how to charge your laptop battery without the laptop.

PRO TIP #3: This is the perfect option to improve battery runtime, especially when you don’t have easy access to the battery.

19.  Make the Switch to Internal Graphics

If your laptop has a dedicated graphics card from NVIDIA or AMD. It may also come with an integrated graphics card from Intel.

Like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, some laptop manufacturers offer a utility that lets you toggle between these cards to extend the laptop’s battery life.

Most modern designs will let you switch on the fly to improve battery performance. But you may have to reboot the system. Switching between the integrated card when you don’t need it can as much as double the life of the battery.

20.  Buy a New Battery

This may come as a shock. But your laptop’s battery is a consumable product that wasn’t meant to survive the lifetime of the device. And over several years of hard use. You’ll notice it can only last half as long as it used to, with only 50% of its original capacity.

That’s why when you check the small print on the warranty statement, the battery either isn’t covered. Or is only guaranteed for a short period of time.

Even though some batteries are encased within the system. Most laptops will provide easy access to this component. When it’s time to replace this component, you can improve battery longevity by opting for 8 and 12-cell optional upgrades from the manufacturer for double the power of the six-cell batteries that come with most laptops.

PRO TIP #4: You can buy third-party replacement batteries for considerably less than what’s offered from laptop manufacturers without compatibility issues.

21.  Get a Second Battery

The simplest way to extend laptop battery life is by bringing a spare. Even better, some laptops allow you to remove the CD/DVD drive to install a second battery.

In Summary

The great news is at that crucial moment when you still have stuff to do and find to your horror the battery power ebbing away. There are things you can do to save the battery. Because even if you don’t mind having to make an urgent dash to a power outlet to rescue your laptop battery, there may not always be one at your disposal. And even though modern laptops are more efficient than their predecessors. The inconvenient truth is a laptop’s battery runtime isn’t always as long as the manufacturer advertises in real world conditions. But it doesn’t take much work to get a few more minutes of work from your machine.