Increase battery life on laptops running Windows 7

By | April 20, 2014

Recently, I got myself a new Asus laptop running Windows 7. While the trend is towards more mobile netbooks and tablets, laptops are still very much relevant due to their computing power, and it will continue to be so for some time to come.

While we enjoy their mobility and their compact design, laptops can leave you hanging when you need them the most. When the juice runs out and power outlets are nowhere to be seen, not a lot can be done. For that reason, we have to stretch that battery; here are 7 ways to increase the battery life of laptops running Windows 7.


1. Lower the screen brightness

This is probably the most obvious way to preserve that precious juice. It’s no secret that screen backlight uses more power than any other component of your laptop, so adjusting the brightness level to a lower level will help a lot. There are two ways this can be done. One is to manually set the brightness by using designated keys on your laptop’s keyboard (such as the combination of Fn button and F keys, which is the most common way), while the other is to use Windows itself to set the brightness level.  To do this, follow these steps:

  • Open Control Panel and click on Power Options.
  • Next to Power Saver, click “Change plan settings.”
  • Click “Change advanced power settings.”
  • Expand Display.
  • Expand Display brightness.
  • Enter a desired brightness percentage for On Battery, and Click OK.

Windows7 lower brightness

2. Turn off keyboard backlight

Like your screen backlight, keyboard backlight will drain a certain amount of power from your battery. While it is nice to see your keys in the dark, one might argue that it’s even nicer if those keys have a function instead of just sitting there on a dead laptop. The process of turning the keyboard backlight off is usually different for different brands of laptops but it usually consists of pressing an Fn key in combination with another designated key.

3. Unplug all external devices

And yes, all of them. Anything that connects via USB or Bluetooth will drain power, and that includes a mouse, external Wi-Fi, external speakers and similar devices. In addition to these, it is worth mentioning that any kind of CD/DVD in your optical drive will make that drive draw power even if you are not using it.

4. Switch off Wi-Fi if not in use

It is recommended that you turn of your Wi-Fi if you’re using an Ethernet connection, or if you’re not using Internet at all. Since Wi-Fi is basically a radio device, it will draw power from your battery even if you don’t use it.

5. Turn off visual effects

Turning off visual effects on your system can improve your battery life. All those eye-candy effects on your system means more work for your CPU, which in turn means more power to the CPU. To turn off those effects, follow these steps:

  • Type Advanced System Settings into the Start Menu text field.
  • Select “View advanced system settings.”
  • Click Settings under Performance.
  • Select “Adjust for best performance.”
  • Click OK.

Windows7 visual effects

6. Use hibernate instead of sleep

Using hibernate option instead of a sleep option is highly recommended when you’re on battery. While your laptop is sleeping, RAM and motherboard are still sucking power from your battery in order to preserve the current session in RAM for fast wake up, while hibernate option shuts down your laptop and stores your current session memory directly to your hard disk or SSD unit. Although it takes about the same time to wake up from hibernate as it does to reboot, your laptop will preserve a lot more power.

7. Pause all scheduled tasks

While scheduled tasks such as virus scans and disk defrags are necessary, they will load your CPU and hard drive which in turn will drain the battery life. Unless the task is something really essential, you can specify that your laptop will perform these tasks only when the AC is connected. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Control Panel and select Administrative tools.
  2. Click on Task Scheduler.
  3. Select Task Scheduler (Local) on the left.
  4. Double click on every active task that has a future date set in the Next Run Time column which you would like to turn on only when there is an AC connection, and follow these three steps:
  • Click on the Properties selection under Actions > Selected Item on the right
  • Click on the Conditions tab in the pop up window that opens up.
  • Select these two options “Start the task only if the computer is on AC power” and “Stop if the computer switches to battery power.”

Windows7 scheduled tasks

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