I have always felt constrained running on batteries on my computer (and I always have to run on auxillary/battery power because the public power utility company is a mess and power constantly fails) and have sought ways of reducing my feeling of constraint. I came across this in my Windows vista help and think I should share with you all.
Get the most from a single charge
Ever run out of battery power in the middle of a meeting? Has the urgent beep of your mobile PC’s battery alarm made you the center of attention during an executive presentation? Even with recent advancements in battery cell technology and in software that makes efficient use of power, you can do only so much work on a single charge. The trick is to get the most out of the power that’s available.
Chances are, you already have ways to make sure your mobile PC has power no matter where you are. Maybe you always carry the power cord or an extra battery for times when AC power isn’t available. Those strategies work, but do you know how to get the most out of the battery you’ll be using during your next five-hour flight?
Here are a few easy tips that can help you stretch your battery’s power:
Choose a power plan that saves power. A power plan is a collection of hardware and system settings that control how your mobile PC manages power. These settings include power-saving measures, such as switching to a power-saving state when you aren’t using your mobile PC. For more information, see Power plans: frequently asked questions.
Reduce display brightness. The display can use more power than any other computer hardware—even more than your hard disk and CPU. Although many mobile PCs are equipped with keys to adjust brightness and other display settings, the way you change the display brightness can differ depending on the mobile PC manufacturer. To learn more about how to dim your display, check the information that came with your mobile PC or go to the manufacturer’s website.
Shorten the length of time before Windows turns off the display. When you’re not using the mobile PC—even for brief periods of time—you can save power by having Windows turn off the display after a brief period of inactivity.
To choose when Windows turns off the display
- Click to open Power Options.
- On the Select a power plan page, in the task pane, click Choose when to turn off the display.
- On the Change settings for the plan page, next to Turn off the display, choose the display and sleep settings that you want to use when your mobile PC is running on battery and when it’s plugged in.
- Click Save changes.
Turn off or remove devices that you aren’t using. Many universal serial bus (USB) devices use power just by being connected. If you use a USB mouse, you can save power by disconnecting the mouse and using a touch pad or tablet pen. If you use a USB flash drive, unplug it when you’re not using it.
Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA) cards and integrated wireless devices also use power. If you don’t need these devices while you work, turn them off.
These power-saving tips can help you get the most use from a single battery charge and avoid the inconvenience—and the potential embarrassment—of having a dead battery.