Top 10 Battery Saving Tips

School is back in full swing now and students are busy working on homework. With all those late nights and homework parties comes the inevitable search for an outlet.
While laptops are amazing devices because of the portable computing that they offers, one major component is lacking — battery life. With a bit of luck, most Windows machines will give you four hours of battery life, and even then only at the early stages in their lives. As far as battery life goes, Mac leads the way with its MacBook Pro line bringing eight to ten hours of computing pleasure on a single charge.
However awesome these MacBooks are, affordable is not the name of the game. A break from the comfort zone of Windows is not exactly at the top of the list either. Here are some tips for Windows machines to help save a computer’s battery life and for getting the most out of a single charge.

  1. De-fragmenting your hard-drive regularly – De-fragging may sound trivial, but the less time your hard drive has to work searching for a file, the less power is getting drained.
  2. Cut down on programs running in the background – Running iTunes or any music player while you type a paper may be great, but turning it off and using your iPod instead will help save you some power.
  3. Unplugging external devices – If something is plugged into the computer (like an iPod or jump drive), it will use the computer’s battery to run or charge itself.
  4.  Adding more RAM – While this is forbidden on Northwest laptops, adding more RAM to a personal computer will reduce the number of times the computer has to use VRAM (which runs off of the hard-drive), saving battery power.
  5. Running files from a hard drive rather than a CD/DVD – despite the power required to use the hard drive, power is saved because CD’s/DVD’s will drain the battery much quicker than a hard drive.
  6. Exercising the battery – Do not leave a computer plugged in when it is fully charged.  If the computer is fully charged, unplug the computer and let the battery do its job.
  7. Hibernate, not standby – As college students, packing up from class, closing the computer lid, throwing the computer in a backpack, but leaving it on is second nature.  Instead of wasting the battery, try hibernating. Hibernating still saves information, but the computer will actually shut down so that the battery is saved.
  8. Keeping the core temperature down – System fans use a lot of power.  The cooler you can keep a computer while using it, the longer the battery is going to last on a charge.  Keeping a computer cool can be done as easily as setting the computer on a desk instead of a bed or blanket.
  9. Optimizing the power options – Believe it or not, most computers have a “power options” menu.  Simply doing small things like dimming the screen, or for Macs, turning the keyboard back lights off can go a long way to saving the battery’s life.
  10. Multitasking – Again, the harder the computer has to work, the more power it is going to take.  Operating with only one program open and running may seem like the dark ages with today’s dual core machines, but it will go a long way in saving battery charge.

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