Laptop batteries are like people--eventually and inevitably, they die. Battery technology may improve a bit over time but, while interesting possibilities may pop up, don’t expect major battery breakthroughs in the near future.
Although your battery will eventually die, proper care can put off the inevitable. Here’s how to keep your laptop battery working for as long as possible.
Don’t run it down
Squeezing every drop of juice out of a lithium ion battery (the type used in today’s laptops) strains and weakens it. Doing this once or twice won’t kill the battery, but the cumulative effect of frequently emptying your battery will shorten its lifespan.
The good news is that you probably can’t run down the battery anyway. Most modern laptops are designed to shut down before the battery is empty.
In fact, Vista and Windows 7 come with a setting for just this purpose. To see it, click Start, type power, and select Power Options. Click any one of the Change plan settings links, then the Change advanced power settings link. In the resulting dialog box, scroll down to and expand the Battery option. Then expand Critical battery level. The setting will probably be about 5 percent, which is a good place to leave it.
Keep it Cool !
Heat breaks down the battery, and reduces its overall life.
When you use your laptop, make sure the vents are unblocked. Never work with the laptop on pillows or cushions. If possible, put it on a raised stand that allows for plenty of airflow.
Give it a rest
If you’re going to be working exclusively on AC power for a week or more, remove the battery first.
Otherwise, you’ll be wearing out the battery--constantly charging and discharging it--at a time when you don’t need to use it at all.
You don’t want it too empty when you take it out. An unused battery loses power over time, and you don’t want all the power to drain away, so remove it when it’s at least half-charged.
Longer life between charges
The tips above should lengthen the time before you need to replace your laptop’s battery. But on a daily basis, we’re far more concerned with another type of battery life: how long we can keep our laptop running without AC power.
You may know most of the following tips already, but it never hurts to refresh (or recharge) your memory.
Dim your screen - Your laptop’s backlight requires a lot of juice. Keep it as dim as you can comfortably read it.
Shut off unneeded hardware - Turn off your Bluetooth, and if you’re not using the Internet, turn off your Wi-Fi receiver, as well. Don’t use an external mouse or other device.
Avoid multitasking - Run as few programs as you can get away with. If possible, stick to the one application (word processor, browser, or whatever) you’re currently using, plus your antivirus and firewall in the background.
Hopefully these few tips will come in handy in prolonging the death of your laptop battery.