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Laptop Power Saving Tips

If you're stuck on a long flight or working in an outlet-deficient coffee shop, conserving your laptop's battery becomes a paramount concern. Although you could purchase a larger capacity battery or carry a spare, that's not practical when you realize your needs at the last minute. Fortunately, there are several tweaks that will save power and keep you working longer.

Disable Unnecessary Hardware

Every piece of hardware leeches power from your battery, so disable anything you don't immediately need. External devices, such as flash drives, SD cards and an external keyboard or mouse, can simply be unplugged. Windows® 8.1's PC Settings offers an Airplane Mode to disable integrated wireless and Bluetooth adapters and enables you to turn off your camera. Device Manager optionally disables hardware that's not customizable through PC Settings.

Disable Unnecessary Programs

Every running program makes your power-hungry CPU and RAM work a little harder, so when you need extra juice, don't multitask. Close unnecessary windows or end unused processes in the Task Manager.

Optimize Your Screen

That big, bright LCD screen hogs most of your battery power, so reduce its consumption wherever possible by dimming the display. You can also lower the screen resolution to reduce the strain on your graphics adapter.

Use the Power Saver Profile

Selecting Power Options' Power Saver profile turns off the screen and puts the computer to sleep after a short period of inactivity. However, manually choosing the Hibernate option avoids the waste of inactivity and conserves more power than sleeping. The option to hibernate when you press the Power button is available in Power Options.

Optimize Your Battery

Power efficiency assumes battery efficiency, so keep your lithium-ion battery in optimal condition by regularly topping off the charge and avoiding a complete discharge. Clean the contacts with rubbing alcohol every few weeks to ensure a solid connection with your laptop.

Other Tweaks

Consider upgrading to a solid state drive that uses less power than traditional mechanical drives. However, avoid adding more RAM unless you anticipate running memory-hungry programs that max out your current RAM and force less efficient virtual memory use.

Photo Credits: Pamela Follett/Demand Media

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