Computer Battery Life – Part II – Long-Term Strategies

We’re back to wrap up our two-part series on how to extend computer battery life. Last month, we discussed short-term solutions to eek out a little bit more time with a low battery. If you missed the post, you can view it on our blog.

Now, we’re focused on extending the overall life of your computer battery. You finally ran your last computer into the ground, and you just bought a new one. How to get the most out of it? There are several things you can be mindful of to ensure you’re not being wasteful with your computer battery life.

Fewer Cycles Mean More Life

The moment from your laptop’s fullest charge to the point of low charge where you plug the adapter back in is known as a “cycle.” Every laptop has a certain number of cycles it will last before the battery dies completely and needs to be replaced. With every completed cycle, the amount of time the battery will hold charge decreases. The best way to extend your computer’s battery life is to go through fewer cycles.

Contrary to popular belief, you actually shouldn’t let your computer battery die out completely. It’s a hard practice on your battery, and actually, decreases the amount of time it will hold a charge. Rather, take your computer down to a low charge a few times a year (about 5%, and no lower) and then charge it back to full.

Think of your computer battery life as a spectrum of extremes. Letting it get too low decreases the number of cycles you’ll get out of it, and charging it to full too often is almost as bad.

Computer Battery Life - Part II - Long-Term Strategies

Preserve Computer Battery Life – Prevent Overheating

Heat is a battery killer. Laptops are built with internal fans to prevent overheating, but their portability also exposes them to more dust and debris. Routinely clean dust and debris from vents to prevent build up and air flow blockage. In addition, keep your laptop on a stable surface, like a table or desk. People who keep their laptops on their lap may unintentionally restrict air flow to vents with their clothes, and your body heat will only serve to make your computer hotter.

Keep Software Updated and Hard Drives Decluttered

Newer software designs are often created to ensure your computer is running the most efficient way possible. Many companies are constantly releasing new software updates to maximize the potential of their products, often with battery life in mind. Thus, it’s important to keep your software up to date.

Additionally, take the time every now and again to declutter your hard drive. Purge any files, applications, software, or programs you no longer use. Clear out your browser’s cache, and delete unwanted downloads.

Computer Battery Life - Part II - Long-Term Strategies

Skip the Screensaver

Contrary to what their name suggests, screensavers no longer save you battery life. In fact, you would be better served by having your computer go straight to sleep after a certain amount of idle time. Screensavers require your computer to do calculations, and thus it must still “think” while it’s supposed to be resting.

Also, gone are the days where shutting down your computer completely meant saving battery. That may have been the case with older batteries, but most laptops function with lithium-ion batteries that perform far beyond their predecessors. Sure, your laptop may discharge a little after sleeping for a period of time, but completely rebooting after a shutdown is a much heavier power draw, and can actually wear the battery down more quickly if done too often.

If your laptop won’t hold a charge even when plugged in, or you’re in need of other computer repair, Bay Computing and Consulting Services has a team of professionals you can consult with. We offer a host of computer repair services. Let us know how we can help – contact us today.

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