Windows Vista has been criticized by many to be a power hog which drains battery power out of laptops & notebooks much faster than Windows XP. Even though this is true in some cases, it can be easily changed. If you use the right tools and make the right settings, you can easily prolong the time your battery lasts. In this article I will present a few proven tips and tools which will help you make your battery last longer.
Power saving tips&tricks
- Enable the power management features of your processor & change the power plan - enabling power saving technologies such as AMD Cool'n'Quiet or Intel SpeedStep will help your laptop/notebook save more power. Also, it helps a lot changing the power plan to Power saver when working on battery mode. This can be easily done from the Windows Mobility Center.
- Disable Aero & adjust visual effects - Aero does look great but it also consumes a lot of battery power. Adjusting the visual effects or even disabling Aero completely is one of the first things you should do when working on battery mode.
- Disable some of your start-up & running programs - Many laptops have lots of programs running at start-up. However, most of them are not programs you use on a daily basis. Therefore, it is a good idea to disable the programs you don't need. You can disable them from the System Configuration utility. By doing this you will free up resources and prolong the time you can work on battery mode.
It is also recommended to close the running programs you do not use. For example, there's no need to have Windows Mail or Microsoft Outlook open all the time if you are not connected to the Internet. Another program that is worth disabling when working on battery mode, is the Windows Sidebar.
- Use less devices - viewing a movie from your DVD drive will consume more power than when you play it directly from your hard disk. Before going on a trip, it is better to copy your movies or music to your hard drive and play them from there while on battery mode. Also, if you aren't using a wireless network, then it is a good idea to turn off your wireless adapter. This can be easily done from the Windows Mobility Center. Also, using less USB devices definitely helps saving some battery power.
- Cleanup your hard disk and defragment it regularly - by using the Disk Cleanup and Disk Defragmenter tools on a regular basis, you remove unused files, therefore your disk will be less fragmented. Both these tools will help you increase the performance when working on the hard disk, thus consuming a little bit less power when working on battery mode.
- Use Hibernate instead of Standby - Hibernate will help you save a lot more power than placing your laptop on standby mode.
Tools which can help you save battery power
The first tool is Windows Mobility Center which is included in all versions of Windows Vista. This tool will help you easily access most power saving settings.
Another good tool is Windows Vista Battery Saver, developed by Tamir Khason, a Microsoft Most Valuable Profession from Israel. This tool helps you out by disabling Aero and the Windows Sidebar when working on battery mode. You can also configure the power management plans that will be used while working on battery and when the laptop is plugged in.
Unfortunately, the installation of this tool is a little buggy. On some systems, including one of my laptops, the installation failed to finish. In case you encounter this problem too, download the archive attached to the end of this articles, extract it and run the VistaBatterySaver.exe file. After you launch the tool, don't forget to check the box that says 'Start Battery Save when Windows starts'. This way, it will always run at start-up and help you save battery power when your laptop is not plugged in.
Windows Mobility Center