Many of my customers have laptops and one of the most frequent complaints is that the laptop doesn’t seem to run as well on battery as it once did. Laptop batteries have a finite lifespan, which means they can only be recharged a certain number of times before they start to lose their efficiency (usually around 500 cycles) but there are some things you can do to help prolong its life. So here are my top tips for a healthy laptop battery:
Try to keep your laptop at room temperature.
Getting too cold or too hot can really affect the battery.
When it’s switched on avoid leaving it where it can get covered up such as on a bed under a duvet or under cushions thus preventing the air vents from being blocked and it’s also worth checking the vents occasionally for the build-up of dust.
Change your power plan.
Keep an eye on the battery meter (usually found in the notification area of the taskbar near the time and date). You can monitor how much battery is remaining and see what power plan is currently in use.
The default power plan for laptops is ‘Balanced’. This will adjust some settings to conserve power and can be changed to suit your own circumstances so aren’t set in stone, but having a plan which saves power automatically means that when you are running on the battery, it will extend its usage.
One of the biggest drains on the battery will be the screen so if you are running on a plan that doesn’t currently monitor this and don’t mind a dimmer display, save power by reducing the brightness slightly.
Another way to get to the power settings to see which plan is in use is to go to the Control Panel, then choose System Settings then Power Options. (If you’re using Windows 10 – get to the Control Panel by right clicking on the Windows icon on the bottom left of the taskbar then choosing Control Panel).
Turn stuff off!
Your laptop might be using power on functions you don’t actually need such as Bluetooth connectivity or programs you rarely use that start when the laptop is switched on (Dropbox is often a culprit of this). Some of these will show up in the notification tray near the clock and can be disabled. A deeper analysis may be required to turn off other unwanted programs or if you never use them they can be uninstalled. (Check before you remove anything to ensure it isn’t a crucial system program).
Many customers ask me whether or not they should keep the laptop plugged in to the mains. The answer isn’t a simple yes or no, here’s what Microsoft has to say:
Use your battery to keep it fresh. Don’t keep it plugged in all the time, it’s a good idea to discharge completely and then recharge the battery about once a month.
To visit the Microsoft website click here: www.windows.microsoft.com
If you mostly use your laptop on mains supply you could remove the battery completely and store it somewhere safe until you need to use it. This will definitely help to keep it functioning for longer.
If you do find that your laptop battery is no longer holding a charge and you decide to buy a replacement, ensure it’s from a reputable dealer that adheres to UK health and safety laws.