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Five Ways to Make Your Laptop Battery Last Longer

Your laptop battery lets you work on the fly, but do you know how to squeeze the most out of it? Here are five tips for conserving battery power on your machine.

1. Using an AC connection? Don't double dip.

Even when you’re plugged in, your laptop’s processes tax your battery. A simple solution is to pop the battery out and keep it handy when you know you’ll be working from an outlet for long stretches of time. Also, use that AC time (instead of precious battery power) to charge your phone, upload photos and update your mp3 player.

2. Make your system more efficient.

Learn how to optimize power settings and keep operations running smoothly by making certain steps routine: • Defrag your hard drive often. • Remove external devices and USB plugins when they’re not in use. • Disable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, which use power in their constant search for connections. • Dim your screen. • Disable Flash and your screensaver if you don't need them. • Close unused programs instead of running them in the background.

3. Try a power management program.

Programs like Battery Optimizer use diagnostic tools to calculate how much power you’ll save by turning off unnecessary features. They automate your settings for you and even give you real-time graphics showing how much power you have left and how many more battery recharges are in your future. NightWatchmanis another popular option.

4. Keep it cool.

Heat is your battery’s natural enemy. Make sure your fans are working and keep the vents dust free with an occasional blast from a can of compressed air. Running games and videos can really raise your machine’s temperature. Be sure it’s resting on a hard surface, where it gets better ventilation than when sinking into a sofa or your lap.

5. Add more RAM.

Bumping up your laptop’s memory is an inexpensive fix that not only helps your hard drive, but also saves battery power. The reason? When your machine runs out of RAM, it uses virtual memory instead of the hard drive to run applications — which takes a toll on battery life. Checking to be sure you have optimal RAM is simple. And if you do add RAM, you'll see the benefit to your battery power right away.

The most surprising thing about these tools is how easy they are to implement. Try them out now, and you’ll save yourself the stress of scanning for that outlet at the airport or coffee shop.

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