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Windows XP Power Hound by Preston Gralla

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Laptop Tricks

Nothing beats a laptop when it's time to hit the road and you need to keep working on a spreadsheet, a pile of email, or your Homer and Jessica Simpson genealogy Web site. This section offers advice on caring for these sometimes finicky contraptions.

Extending Your Laptop's Battery Life

No matter how many hours PC manufacturers promise, laptop batteries always seem to conk out a bit early (and usually during some vital research, like when you're trying to watch a DVD of some of Governor Schwarzenegger's favorite persuasion techniques).

Thankfully, there are a few ways to extend your laptop battery's life:

  • Turn off your wireless signal. WiFi cards can use a substantial amount of power; turning yours off can save you up to 20 minutes of battery life. Turn it off by right-clicking its icon in the notification tray and choosing Disable.

  • Lower the backlighting on your screen. Your screen takes up a substantial amount of electricity, and you often don't need it set to maximum brightness. Check your system documentation for how to change the lighting level, then reduce it to a comfortable level.

  • Use the correct power scheme. XP includes a number of preset power schemes, which control settings like how quickly your computer goes to sleep and when your screen saver kicks in. You can change your power schemes by choosing Control Panel Performance and Maintenance Power Options. The dialog box shown in Figure 10-4 appears. For maximum battery life, choose "Max Battery" from the ...

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