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Lifehacker: The Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, and Better, Third Edition by Gina Trapani, Adam Pash

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Hack 76: Optimize Your Laptop

Level Easy

Platforms All

Cost Free

You just bought a shiny new laptop to use on your commute to the office, on business trips and vacations, and at the coffee shop down the street. You’ll be more productive than ever, right?

More folks than ever are hitting the pavement with a notebook computer under one arm, but any road warrior can tell you that life with a laptop isn’t always easy. This hack provides some hints and tips for extending the life of your laptop and easing the pain of the never-ending outlet and hotspot hunt.

Extend Your Battery Life

Laptop productivity on the cold, cruel, and often electrical outlet-less road depends entirely on how much juice your battery has left. Following are a few ways to increase the life of your laptop battery when there’s no outlet in sight:

  • Dim the display. The screen draws the most power from your laptop’s battery. Dim it to the lowest setting you can stand to preserve battery life.
  • Turn off unnecessary processes. If you don’t need them, disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth detection, spyware and virus scanning, unnecessary graphic effects (like Windows’ Aero Glass), and desktop search file indexing while you’re on battery power only. Eject any CD, DVD, or other unneeded disk to prevent your computer from spinning or scanning it for no reason.
  • Enable the power-saver profile. Use the Microsoft Windows Power Saver Option (in Control Panel Hardware and Sound Power Options) and Mac OS X Energy Saver (in System Preferences), ...

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