Laptop Battery Maintenance Tips
By Marsha James
The batteries in a laptop will not have to be replaced often, if they receive proper maintenance. Most users will plug in the power cord when their batteries are running low, but they do not remove and check the laptop battery until it goes dead. When you take care of your laptop, cords and battery, you will be able to prolong the life of your computer hardware.
Always Fully Charge Laptop Batteries
Chargeable batteries will wear down quickly, when they are only charged for a short period of time. When the laptop is not in use, such as at bedtime, plug it into an outlet and leave it to charge until the battery power is full.
When you first buy a laptop or any electronic device that needs to be charged before you can use it, always charge it to full capacity. A laptop will work with only a small bit of power, but if it is not fully charged frequently, it will start to lose its ability to hold a charge.
Power Management Tools
Every computer and laptop has options that allow them to make changes to the power management tools. In a Windows laptop, check under "Control Panel" and you will find the power options. You will be asked to identify the type of computer that you are using. It is important to choose "Laptop" from the drop down menu. Each type of PC will bring up a different option that will save power. For a laptop, the power management tools will set a time to turn on the screen saver, or it will shut down the hard drives if the notebook sits idle for a specific amount of time. By turning off hardware that is not in use, the laptop will not use as much power and the batteries will not die as fast.
Close Unnecessary Programs
Look at the programs that start up along with your operating system. If you don't have to use them immediately, right click on the icon and go into options. Scroll through the list until you can turn off the option to have the program open whenever you start the laptop. When you use an application, close it when you are done.
Programs that are left open will use system resources and power that are needed for other software. If you only have a few programs open at the same time, the laptop will use less power and it will be able to stay on battery power longer.
Purge and Discharge Laptop Batteries
At least once a month, every laptop user should purge and discharge their batteries to prolong their life. To purge a laptop, remove the AC power cord. Turn on the laptop and let the battery drain until the low battery sign pops up. Plug in the power cord and let the notebook charge to full capacity while the laptop is still on.
Batteries can be discharged in a similar fashion. Go into the power management option and turn off all of the power saving tools including hibernation, sleep mode and the screen saver. Allow the battery to drain completely until the laptop shuts itself off. Without turning on the laptop, reconnect the power cord and allow it to charge until the battery is full.
Use AC Power
Most laptop users will plug in the AC cord even when the battery is not low. However, this is also causing the battery to drain in small increments. Before you use the laptop, remove the battery and then plug in the power cord, so that the laptop is running on only AC power. Store the battery on a cool, dry surface and replace it when you shut off the laptop.
Marsha James has spent the last 10 years working as a freelance writer. During that time she has written newsletters, e-Books, content for websites such as Associated Content, eHow and Rent A Coder, and has contracts with private clients.