How to Use a Spare Battery with Your Laptop

One option you probably ignored when you bought your laptop was getting a second or spare battery. This item is a must for a serious traveler, or someone who is frequently on the road or in a remote location, where a long time is spent away from the power socket.

Before you use a spare battery, ensure that it's fully charged. Either charge it in the laptop, or use an external charger (if available). Put the fully charged spare battery in your laptop case or in any nonconducting (nonmetallic) container. Then head out on the road.

If your laptop has some type of quick-swapping ability, when the power gets low you can just eject your laptop's original, spent battery and quickly insert the spare battery. But be sure that your laptop can survive such a heart transplant before you attempt it! Perform a test swap in a noncritical situation, just to be sure.

If your laptop doesn't have the ability to hot-swap batteries, just turn off (or hibernate) the laptop when the original battery is nearly spent. Remove the old battery, insert the fresh one, and then turn the laptop on again.

If you plan on pulling this trick often, get a laptop that supports hot-swapping batteries in the first place. You should also label the batteries with a Sharpie marker so that you don't get the two (or more) confused and accidentally insert a dead battery.

You can buy a spare battery from your dealer or from stores that sell extra batteries, such as iGo or Batteries.com.

Be wary of generic batteries! Always try to get a manufacturer’s (or manufacturer-approved) battery for your laptop. Get anything less, and you run the risk of setting your laptop ablaze! It's happened!

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