Long term strategies for extending your battery life
5. Install a bigger battery
Some computers have space for a bigger battery than the one that shipped with your PC. For example, older laptops typically have a regular 6-cell battery that can deliver up to four hours of battery life, depending on the application. But you can optionally choose to buy an 8- or 12-cell battery that will add many hours of endurance.
6. Calibrate your battery
If your battery isn’t holding a charge for as long as it once did, regular recalibration can help regain some of that lost capacity. We recommend calibrating your battery every one-to-three months. To recalibrate your battery, follow these steps:
a.) Charge your battery to 100 percent. Once it reaches a full charge, leave it plugged in for another hour or two.
b.) Disconnect from the power source, and keep your machine running until it gives you a battery level warning and begs you to be plugged back in. Ignore this warning, and let it die completely. Make sure you’ve saved anything important before this happens.
c.) After your computer has died, let it stay dead for another 1-2 hours for good measure.
d.) Once it’s sufficiently dead, plug it back in and let it reach a full charge before using it again. When it reaches 100 percent, your battery has been properly calibrated.
7. Install battery management software
There are a number of good applications – both free and paid – that can help you keep track of your battery’s health. Some of them, like coconutBattery and Battery Health (Mac) will simply give you helpful stats, whereas other software like Watts can actually remind you when to calibrate. For Windows, we suggest BatteryCare or BatteryMon.
8. Install a solid state drive (SSD)
A SSD can cut your laptop’s power consumption considerably. If your computer still uses a mechanical disk, consider upgrading to a SSD, a more efficient alternative that doesn’t use spinning disks to store and retrieve information. Even better, because of their popularity, SSDs are increasingly affordable. You can usually find one for less than $100.
9. Defragment your hard drive
If installing an SSD sounds a bit too daunting for you, you can help decrease your hard disk’s power consumption by regularly defragging it. Fragmented files mean your computer has to work harder to retrieve information, so regular defragging ensures that the stuff on your hard drive is stored as efficiently as possible and requires the least amount of energy to be retrieved. Check out Auslogics Disc Defrag, an easy to use software that’ll defragment your hard drive.
10. Make sure your drivers and software are updated
Generally, newer drivers and software are designed to be more efficient, and are likely to be less resource hungry. Make sure all your software is up to date.
Windows: Check updates by opening the control panel and selecting Windows Update. From here you can install any necessary driver or software updates.
Mac: In Finder, open the App Store and choose the Updates tab located in the upper right corner. From here, you’ll find a list every available update.
11. Beat the heat
Exposure to high temperatures will reduce your battery’s lifespan slowly but surely. Make sure you keep your computer’s vents clear of gunk and dust buildup. Blocked vents will cause your machine to generate more heat and will also make the fan work harder to keep your machine cool. Additionally, try to avoid leaving your laptop in hot cars or in direct sunlight for extended periods of time.
Updated 4/29 by Joe Donovan: Included new battery saving strategies.