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For Seniors: How to Save Battery Life in a Laptop

Battery life, or the length of time it takes your laptop battery to run out of juice, is constantly improving, with some recent laptop batteries getting as much as nine hours on one charge. Other laptop batteries get as little as a couple of hours of battery life. However, there are ways to save battery life in a laptop.

Choose a laptop battery power plan

The power plan you choose affects your battery’s life. The Power Saver plan causes your computer to go to sleep more frequently and dims the screen brightness. A higher performance setting never puts the computer to sleep and has a brighter screen setting.

  1. Choose Start→Control Panel→Hardware and Sound→Power Options.

    The Power Options window appears.

  2. Locate the Hide Additional Plans section.

    If you don’t see this section, click the downward arrow on the Show Additional Plans section to change the arrow to an upward arrow and view the Hide Additional Plans section.

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  3. Click the radio button next to a plan to select it.

    If you run off a battery frequently, the Power Saver plan is your best bet.

  4. Click the Close button.

    The window closes.

Adjust display settings for laptop battery conservation

Your laptop’s settings also affect battery life. Here’s how to modify them:

  1. Choose Start→Control Panel→Hardware and Sound.

    The Hardware and Sound window appears.

  2. Click the Power Options link and find the selected power plan.

    The selected power plan has a dot in the radio button next to it.

  3. Click the Change Plan Settings link for the selected power plan.

    The Edit Plan Settings window appears.

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  4. Modify any of the following display settings for the laptop:

    • Dim the Display: Modifies the time intervals at which the screen automatically dims.

    • Turn Off the Display: Sets the time interval when the screen goes black.

    • Put the Computer to Sleep: Indicates the time interval before the computer sleeps. See the next section for more on this option.

    • Adjust Plan Brightness: Adjusts the preset screen brightness; a less bright screen saves power.

  5. Click the Save Changes button.

    The Edit Plan Settings window closes, and your new settings are saved.

Change how quickly your computer goes to sleep

To save battery life, you can also change how quickly your computer to sleep:

  1. To change this setting, select Start→Control Panel→Hardware and Sound.

    The Hardware and Sound window appears.

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  2. In the Power Options section, click the Change when the Computer Sleeps link.

    The Edit Plan Settings window appears.

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  3. Find the Put the Computer to Sleep field and click the arrow in the On Battery column. From the drop-down list, select another setting for when the computer automatically puts itself to sleep.

    A smaller interval saves battery power, but it may disrupt your work, so choose a setting accordingly.

  4. Click the Save Changes button.

    Your new setting is saved.

Define your laptop's power button functions

You can control what happens when you press the Power button, close the computer lid, or press the Sleep button (if your laptop offers one).

  1. Choose Start→Control Panel→Hardware and Sound.

    The Hardware and Sound window appears.

  2. In the Power Options section, click the Change What the Power Buttons Do link.

    The System Settings window appears.

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  3. Change the options in the On Battery column.

    The options (depending on the setting) include

    • Do Nothing: Does nothing.

    • Sleep: Essentially pauses your computer, leaving your open programs and documents intact, held in your computer memory.

    • Hibernate: Saves open programs and documents on your computer hard disk and then turns off your computer so you’re not using any power.

    • Shut Down: Closes any open programs and powers down your computer.

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