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How to increase your windows laptop’s battery life

Extend laptop battery life

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  • Check out this page on Dell.com! Email

Laptop technologies have really come a long way.

With advances in processor architecture and mobile-optimized technologies and software, you can experience a near-desktop experience for playing games, listening to and downloading music, and surfing the Internet — all without being leashed to the nearest outlet.

OK, you’ve come a long way. Now come just a little further.

But even with these built-in, mobile-optimized technologies, you may still have to plug in before you’re ready. To squeeze every last drop of power out of your laptop battery, follow these tips and tricks and you’ll stay mobile longer:

1. Charge the battery! Consider keeping it plugged in for 12 hours before you unplug.

Tip! Over time, you may find that you have to recharge your battery more often to get the expected level of performance. If that’s the case, it’s time to replace your battery. Look for lithium ion (Li-Ion) replacement batteries for the greatest longevity.

2. Switch on the optimized battery or power feature. You’ll find this option — sometimes referred to as max battery mode — in your laptop system’s built-in power management control panel. You can select the option to reduce the amount of time your inactive laptop stays on before powering itself down and going to sleep.

Tip! Turning off power-draining facilities like backlights can preserve quite a bit of battery life.

3. Check to see if your laptop has the optimum amount of RAM. You can do this by right mouse clicking on My Computer. The amount of RAM you have will appear under your System Information. RAM enables your system to run program instructions using the computer’s memory instead of its hard disk drive (HDD), where it stores data. Refreshing the RAM requires less power than spinning the hard drive, so having the correct amount of RAM means less drain on your laptop battery.

Tip! Consider 2 GB or more RAM for the best performance!

4. Remove the battery and clean the metal contacts. Wipe them with alcohol, ideally every two months, to ensure that the power transfer between the laptop and its battery is as efficient as possible. Allow the battery to dry thoroughly before replacing it!

5. Unplug any laptop accessories you aren’t using. Even if they’re not in use, accessories drain power from the battery.
Tips!

  • Turn your wireless local area network (WLAN) switch off if you don’t need a wireless connection — a button or LED on your laptop usually lights up to indicate wireless activities.
  • Use your laptop in the best possible lighting conditions. In brighter conditions, you won’t need to set your laptop screen to maximize brightness so you can save additional battery life.

6. Defragment the hard drive so your system operates as efficiently as possible. The built-in defragmenting utility included with Windows®*-based operating systems decreases the time your system must spend searching for files by rearranging file fragments, so they are closer together on the hard drive. Less time searching means less spinning for the hard drive and less use of battery power.

Tip! Defragment your hard drive at least every two months!

Follow these battery-saving tips and tricks and you’ll be well on your way to staying unleashed longer!

Note: Some products might not be available in your country or region.

Your Surface uses an internal lithium-ion battery. The amount of time your battery lasts will vary depending on the kinds of things you do with your Surface. This article will help you learn more about how to get the most out of your Surface battery.

For information on how to charge your Surface, see Surface battery and power.

How to increase your windows laptop’s battery life

Making your battery last

Choose a power mode for the best battery life and performance

On some Surface models you can select a power mode, which affects how much battery life and the performance you can get from your Surface.

To switch to a different power mode, select the battery icon in the Windows taskbar. If you want to save power to write an email or finish a movie, move the slider to a lower setting, like Recommended or Battery saver. Or, if you need better performance for playing a game or using a Windows Mixed Reality headset, move the slider to a higher setting like Best performance.

General battery tips and tricks

For ways to save battery power, see Battery saving tips for your PC.

Get the latest Windows and Surface updates

Installing the latest updates will help keep your Surface performing at its best. To see how, go to Install Surface and Windows updates.

Power & sleep settings

To get to these settings, type power & sleep into the search box on the taskbar. For more information on Windows Power & Sleep Settings, see How to adjust power and sleep settings.

Want more?

Looking for info about how to maximize battery health? See Caring for your Surface battery.

Having issues charging your Surface, or other battery related issues? See Surface battery won’t charge or Surface won’t run on battery.

Having issues with your Surface power supply? See Fix issues with your Surface power supply.

Warranty information for Surface batteries

If the battery’s defective, there’s a warranty. For more details, see Surface standard warranty and Get Microsoft Complete for Surface.

Send feedback to Microsoft with the Feedback Hub app

The Feedback Hub app lets you tell Microsoft about any problems you run in to while using Windows 10 and send suggestions to help us improve your Windows experience. See Send feedback to Microsoft with the Feedback Hub app to send us feedback on your power and battery experience.

Still having issues? Contact us and work with a Surface Support Advocate.

Fall Creators Update makes it easier to switch between battery modes. Learn where to find the new battery slider and review traditional favorites to extend battery life.

Does your laptop have you singing the short-battery-life blues? If you’ve updated to Windows 10 Fall Creators Update , then you’ve got a new tool to help extend your laptop’s running time. I’ll cover this new tool along with some tried-and-true battery-saving tips.

Turn down display brightness

Powering all of those pixels in the display is the single greatest drain on battery resources. The first item to check when you are experiencing troublingly short battery life is your display brightness. If you’ve got it turned up all the way or near the max, then lower the brightness; you might also find it a more comfortable computing experience to your eyes.

Your laptop likely has two Function keys mapped to display brightness. If not, you can find a brightness slider by going to Settings > System > Display. You’ll also find a slider for display brightness in the Windows Mobility Center, which is buried in the Control Panel; the easiest way to find it is just to search for it.

Paint it black

A bright desktop background requires your display’s pixels to light up more, when requires more juice. Choose a dark picture or color by going to Settings > Personalization > Background.

Turn off keyboard backlights

Like the display, keyboard backlighting also drains your laptop’s battery. Turn them off when they aren’t needed. Your laptop likely has a Function key that lets you toggle the keyboard backlights on and off. If not, you’ll find a control for it in the Windows Mobility Center.

How to increase your windows laptop’s battery lifeScreenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Introducing the new battery slider

OK, now here’s the new battery tool. Fall Creators Update has made it easier to switch between power modes. Instead of digging into the battery page in settings to switch from high performance to battery saver mode or vice versa, you now can just click or tap the battery icon in the taskbar. You’ll be able to move a slider from Best battery life to best performance or a balanced mode in between.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Check power and sleep settings

Dig into Power & sleep settings by clicking its link in the battery menu from the taskbar (or by going to Settings > System > Power & sleep), and you can shorten the time before the display turns off or your laptop goes into sleep mode when it’s running on battery power. The shorter you set these times, the longer your battery will last.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Use Battery Saver

Windows 10’s built-in Battery Saver mode activates when your remaining battery dips below 20 percent. It disables email and calendar syncing, push notifications, and apps from running in the background. It should be enabled by default, but check to make sure it is by going to Settings > System > Battery. If you find that Battery Saver doesn’t disrupt your regular Windows habits, then you can raise the threshold for when it activates above 20 percent.

Check Battery usage by app

You can see which apps are using the most battery resources by Settings > System > Battery and click Battery usage by app. The list will show you the percentage of battery your apps have used in the past 6 or 24 hours or the past week. If you find an app that you think it using more than its fair share, click on it and toggle off the switch for Managed by Windows and then make sure the box remains unchecked for Allow app to run background tasks.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when not needed

These wireless networking technologies consume battery power. You can disable both by using Airplane mode. Click the Wi-Fi icon in the taskbar and then click the Airplane mode button. You can also disable only Wi-Fi by clicking the Wi-Fi button on the taskbar Wi-Fi menu. To disable Bluetooth, go to Settings > Devices > Bluetooth & other devices and toggle off the switch for Bluetooth.

Sync email less

Constantly checking for new email messages can drain your battery. So, tell Windows to check less frequently to extend the life of your battery. Go to Settings > Accounts > Email & app accounts. Click on your account, click the Manage button and then for Download new content, switch it from as items arrive to every 30 minutes, hourly or manually and then click Done.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Try Edge

Microsoft claims its Edge browser lets your battery run 36 to 53 percent longer than Chrome, Firefox or Opera. CNET hasn’t put these claims to the test, but give Edge a whirl to see if you get better battery performance with it. Here are 10 tips to get started with Edge.

Simple tips can help your laptop go longer between charges. Plus, how to choose a battery-life champ.

When the battery-life indicator on your laptop drops into the single digits, the scramble to find a place to plug in can nerve-wracking.

You can find lots of tips online for extending laptop battery life, but according to engineers many of them are myths. As a prime example, some posts in online forums say you should never charge a laptop battery to more than 80 percent or let it drop below 20 percent. Other people insist that you should always charge a new laptop to 100 percent before using it.

Not so, the experts say.

“As with any technology, when it was originally emerging there probably were some things which might have been useful” but no longer are, says Mike Nash, chief technologist for personal systems at Hewlett-Packard. Today, esoteric-sounding advice tends to be outdated or just wrong. (“Personally, what I like to do is make a combination of garlic, olive oil, and baking soda, and put it on top of the device,” he jokes.)

The following tips for extending laptop battery life are quick, simple, and easy to follow. We also have some advice on how to shop for a laptop that will run all day.

Dim the Display

Your first order of business to save laptop battery life: Turn down the brightness of your display.

“Display panel brightness is absolutely the most battery-consuming technology we have,” says Gary Lusk, systems senior principal engineer at Dell. This is easy to do, and you don’t even need to go into settings.

Depending on your specific laptop model, you’ll probably find this functionality on one of the function row keys (F1, F2, etc.).

“When you first turn your computer screen brightness down to, say, 50 percent, for a moment you might say, ‘Oh, this isn’t bright enough,’ but about 10 seconds later your eyes adjust and it’s totally fine,” HP’s Nash says. “Especially if you’re just doing email or something on a plane and it’s dark, having your screen cranked down to 50 percent will have a dramatic impact on how long your battery lasts.”

Turn Off Unused Features

Once you’ve lowered the display, turn off any capabilities you aren’t using at the moment.

You can start with WiFi and Bluetooth: Why have your laptop’s radios continually search for signals while you’re fully engrossed in editing a Word document on a flight or at the library? In Windows 10 there’s a dedicated Airplane Mode (located on the bottom taskbar) to turn off both of these, and Mac users can turn them off individually using the controls at the top of the screen or by going into settings.

Some higher-end laptops, including those aimed at gamers, designers, and videographers, feature advanced graphics capabilities in the form of a dedicated graphics processing unit (GPU)—and these processors can burn through battery life.

But you don’t always need that much graphics horsepower. Laptops such as the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Samsung Notebook 9 let you disable the dedicated GPU temporarily. Do that while you’re working on text documents or just browsing the web—the laptop will use the less power-hungry integrated graphics processor and make your battery run longer.

How to increase your windows laptop’s battery life

Price: $2,400 Shop

How to increase your windows laptop’s battery life

Price: $1,200 Shop

Shut Down Apps

In the days before 4GB or 8GB memory was standard, running more than a few apps at the same time could result in annoyingly choppy performance. That had a hidden benefit: It reminded you to close applications you weren’t using.

Today’s gobs of memory make it easy to have the likes of Firefox, Outlook, Spotify, and Photoshop open at the same time without making the laptop seem any slower, quietly doing a hit job on battery life.

The fix? “Kill all of your programs,” says Vicky Doan-Nguyen, assistant professor of materials science engineering at Ohio State University. The worst offenders may be the apps that constantly communicate with remote servers, such as an email client that’s always fetching new messages.

Of course, it’s perfectly okay to have more than one app open at a time—it’s just smart to shut down anything that you’re not actually using. Is YouTube running in the background while you make last-minute tweaks to a PowerPoint deck? That’s not going to help your laptop battery life, or your productivity.

Buy a Laptop Battery-Life Champ

Steps such as dimming your display can make your laptop work longer between charges, but it can’t turn a computer with an 8-hour battery life into a marathon machine.

If battery life is important to you, there are a few ways to make sure your next laptop delivers.

First, of course, you can check the battery test results in our laptop ratings, which are available to CR members. Consumer Reports testing reveals big differences among laptops, from the 17-plus hours we recorded with the Vaio Z down to around 8 hours for many other laptops.

It’s also a good idea to buy a laptop with a solid-state drive rather than a conventional hard-disk drive. SSDs use less power because they don’t have moving parts. (They’re also faster than hard-disk drives.)

Additionally, you might want to steer clear of laptops with 4K displays. They’re nice to look at, but they drain your battery far faster than a conventional 1080p HD display.

Finally, you can consider one of the new Always-Connected PCs, from several manufacturers, that are supposed to start shipping later in March. These laptops get their name from their built-in cellular internet connectivity, but their biggest selling point could be their claimed battery life of 22 hours or more.

We’ll have to get them into the Consumer Reports labs for testing before we can say whether those claims hold up.

Here are some things you can do to extend your PC’s battery life.

When battery saver is on, your PC temporarily turns off some things that use a lot of power, like automatic email and calendar syncing, live tile updates, and apps you’re not actively using. Using battery saver is the easiest way to extend battery life.

Select the Start button, and then select Settings > System > Battery . If you want battery saver to turn on whenever the battery falls below a certain level, select Turn battery saver on automatically if my battery falls below: and set it where you’d like. To turn on battery saver now and leave it on until the next time you plug in your PC, turn on Battery saver status until next charge.
Turn on battery saver in Settings

How to increase your windows laptop’s battery life

Adjust some of your PC’s display settings to help extend battery life. For example:

Set a shorter duration for an active display.

Select the Start button, and then select Settings > System > Power & sleep . Under On battery power, turn off after, pick a shorter duration.
Open Power & sleep settings

Reduce your display’s brightness.

Select the Start button, and then select Settings > System > Display . Turn off Change brightness automatically when lighting changes (if it appears), and then use the Change brightness slider to set the brightness level you want.
Open Display settings

Use a dark background.

Select the Start button, select Settings > Personalization > Background, and then choose a dark picture or dark solid color.
Open Background settings

Use a dark theme.

Select the Start button, select Settings > Personalization > Themes > Theme settings, and then choose a dark theme.
Open Themes settings

Adjust some of your PC’s power settings to help extend battery life. For example:

Let Windows change some power settings for you automatically.

Select the Start button, and then select Settings > Update & security > Troubleshoot > Power and then select Run the troubleshooter.

Set a shorter duration for when your PC sleeps.

Select the Start button, and then select Settings > System > Power & sleep . Under On battery power, PC goes to sleep after, choose a shorter duration.
Open Power & sleep settings

Disconnect from a Wi-Fi network when your PC sleeps.

Select the Start button, and then select Settings > System > Power & sleep > When my PC is asleep and on battery power, disconnect from the network. Change the setting to Always or Managed by Windows instead of Never.

This option isn’t available on all PCs and depends on your PC hardware and manufacturer.

Put a lid on it.

Most laptops can go to sleep automatically by closing the lid. To set this, select the Start button, and then select Settings > System > Power & sleep > Additional power settings > Choose what closing the lid does.

Choose a lower power mode.

Select the Battery icon on the right side of the taskbar. To reduce power use, move the slider toward Best battery life.

This option isn’t available on all PCs and depends on your PC hardware and manufacturer.

Just press a power button.

Most PCs let you turn off your display, shut down, sleep, or hibernate with a press of the Power button.

To choose what the power buttons do, select the Start button, and then select Settings > System > Power & sleep > Additional power settings,and then Choose what the power buttons do.

Increase battery life by changing how frequently your PC syncs. For example:

Sync email less often.

Select the Start button, and then select Settings > Accounts > Email & accounts .
Open Email & account settings

Select the account that you want to change, and then select Manage > Change mailbox sync settings. Under Download new email, choose a longer interval.

Sync only the email, calendars, and contacts you want.

You don’t have to sync email, calendars, or contacts unless you want to.

Select the Start button, and then select Settings > Accounts > Email & accounts .

Select the account that you want to change and the Manage button, and then select Change mailbox sync settings. Under Sync options, select Email, Calendar, or Contacts to turn them off.

Other things you can do

Keep your PC plugged in until it’s fully charged.

To check your PC’s battery level, move the mouse pointer over the Battery icon on the taskbar, or go to Settings > System > Battery .

Restart your PC.

This can sometimes fix problems that can shorten battery life. Select the Start button, and then select Power > Restart.

Turn on airplane mode if you don’t need Internet, Bluetooth, or other wireless communications.

Select the Start button, then select Settings > Network & Internet > Airplane mode , and turn on airplane mode.
Open Airplane mode settings

Use Microsoft Edge for browsing.

Tests show that when browsing with Microsoft Edge, your battery lasts 36-53% longer per charge than when browsing with Chrome, Firefox, or Opera on Windows 10.

Extend laptop battery life

  • Print
  • Check out this page on Dell.com! Email

Laptop technologies have really come a long way.

With advances in processor architecture and mobile-optimized technologies and software, you can experience a near-desktop experience for playing games, listening to and downloading music, and surfing the Internet — all without being leashed to the nearest outlet.

OK, you’ve come a long way. Now come just a little further.

But even with these built-in, mobile-optimized technologies, you may still have to plug in before you’re ready. To squeeze every last drop of power out of your laptop battery, follow these tips and tricks and you’ll stay mobile longer:

1. Charge the battery! Consider keeping it plugged in for 12 hours before you unplug.

Tip! Over time, you may find that you have to recharge your battery more often to get the expected level of performance. If that’s the case, it’s time to replace your battery. Look for lithium ion (Li-Ion) replacement batteries for the greatest longevity.

2. Switch on the optimized battery or power feature. You’ll find this option — sometimes referred to as max battery mode — in your laptop system’s built-in power management control panel. You can select the option to reduce the amount of time your inactive laptop stays on before powering itself down and going to sleep.

Tip! Turning off power-draining facilities like backlights can preserve quite a bit of battery life.

3. Check to see if your laptop has the optimum amount of RAM. You can do this by right mouse clicking on My Computer. The amount of RAM you have will appear under your System Information. RAM enables your system to run program instructions using the computer’s memory instead of its hard disk drive (HDD), where it stores data. Refreshing the RAM requires less power than spinning the hard drive, so having the correct amount of RAM means less drain on your laptop battery.

Tip! Consider 2 GB or more RAM for the best performance!

4. Remove the battery and clean the metal contacts. Wipe them with alcohol, ideally every two months, to ensure that the power transfer between the laptop and its battery is as efficient as possible. Allow the battery to dry thoroughly before replacing it!

5. Unplug any laptop accessories you aren’t using. Even if they’re not in use, accessories drain power from the battery.
Tips!

  • Turn your wireless local area network (WLAN) switch off if you don’t need a wireless connection — a button or LED on your laptop usually lights up to indicate wireless activities.
  • Use your laptop in the best possible lighting conditions. In brighter conditions, you won’t need to set your laptop screen to maximize brightness so you can save additional battery life.

6. Defragment the hard drive so your system operates as efficiently as possible. The built-in defragmenting utility included with Windows®*-based operating systems decreases the time your system must spend searching for files by rearranging file fragments, so they are closer together on the hard drive. Less time searching means less spinning for the hard drive and less use of battery power.

Tip! Defragment your hard drive at least every two months!

Follow these battery-saving tips and tricks and you’ll be well on your way to staying unleashed longer!

How to increase your windows laptop’s battery life

Having a powerhouse laptop is great when working on demanding project. Battery life, however, can be a problem. Here are a few tips for getting more juice.

High-end laptops are amazing. You can get a lot of work done on-the-go, and they allow you to stop perceiving portable computers as internet browsing machines. Battery life, however, can be an issue. Me and my new Asus gaming laptop had a hard time getting over an hour and 30 minutes worth of use, but I eventually figured out some sneaky tricks to improve battery life dramatically. And yes, all improvements mentioned in this article will allow you to keep using your laptop at maximum performance.

Reduce Brightness to Improve Battery Life

How to increase your windows laptop’s battery life

One could argue that I’m mentioning the obvious, but reducing the brightness of your laptop screen actually has a lot of hidden benefits. It’s a good idea to turn down the screen backlight whenever you’re running games and applications that require a lot of system resources. This will reduce the generated heat and improve the lifespan of your display. If you’re a photographer or video editor you’re also probably aware of the fact that using a laptop screens aren’t far form awful in terms of quality. Color reproduction and highlight accuracy is reduced dramatically when using your laptop’s screen at maximum brightness. There’s almost no excuse to set your brightness to 100%, unless you’re out in broad daylight. I’ve found that between 50% and 80% brightness is perfect for indoor use during the day — anything above that is simply wasting your battery life (and your eyesight).

Turn Off Unused Apps

How to increase your windows laptop’s battery life

Personally, I use my laptop kind of like a desktop. I have an external display, keyboard and mouse hooked up to the laptop when I’m at home. The trouble is, I often forget to turn off the apps you see running in the system tray when I’m gaming on the go with nothing plugged in. One might think that these apps aren’t really a threat to the battery life, but they still eat up quite a bit of RAM.

Prevent Indexing when Running On Battery Power

How to increase your windows laptop’s battery life

Indexing can be really useful when you have a ton of files and you’re constantly moving things around. However, this one is a little tricky, since it requires you to enable a policy outside of the power plan settings in Windows. Fear not, though — here’s a look at how to do it. Keep in mind that this won’t work with Home versions of Windows.

Go to Start > Run (or press Win+R). Type in “gpedit.msc” and press Enter.

How to increase your windows laptop’s battery life

Then navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search.

How to increase your windows laptop’s battery life

Now just enable the policy “Prevent indexing when running on battery power to conserve energy”. A reboot is necessary to complete the process.

How to increase your windows laptop’s battery life

Make Your Hard Drive Turn Off When Idling

How to increase your windows laptop’s battery life

While most modern laptops have SSD drives, and it’s hard to afford a 1 TB SSD, and even harder to fit all your information onto anything smaller in capacity. While I’m happy with my 256GB SSD + 1 TB HDD storage solution, battery life can be awful if the HDD is active the whole time. By default, the High Performance power plan turns of hard disks after a whole 20 minutes of idling. Now that’s a lot. Here’s what you can do to shorten the time it takes to turn off when your computer is idle.

Open Start and search for Power Plan. Then select the Choose Power Plan option when it appears.

How to increase your windows laptop’s battery life

Making sure that High Performance is selected and active, then select Change plan settings.

How to increase your windows laptop’s battery life

Now move over to Change advanced power settings.

How to increase your windows laptop’s battery life

Then change the value under Hard Disk > Turn of hard disk after > On battery. I recommend setting this to anything between 5 and 10 minutes.

How to increase your windows laptop’s battery life

Disable Wireless Adapters when Not in Use

How to increase your windows laptop’s battery life

By far, this is the most ultimate act of desperation for saving battery life. Turning off Bluetooth is probably easier than Wi-Fi since there’s not too much to do on your computer without an internet connection, but you can still be occupied for quite a while if you don’t go outside single player games and office documents. Provided you don’t save them to OneDrive, of course.

Although the Advanced Power Plan options allow you to enable a power saving mode for your WLAN adapter, I advise you to disregard that and simply turn off your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when you’re not using them. Windows 8 ready laptops usually have a shortcut for Airplane Mode (fn + F2 in my case) which is a quick way to disable these adapters in an instant.

It’s also worth noting that enabling Airplane Mode in Windows 10 will be a snap too. Just launch the Action Center and click or tap the Airplane Mode icon.

How to increase your windows laptop’s battery life

Did we miss anything? Let us know what your favorite tips to improve battery life on your laptop, while maintaining quality performance.

Simple tips can help your laptop go longer between charges. Plus, how to choose a battery-life champ.

When the battery-life indicator on your laptop drops into the single digits, the scramble to find a place to plug in can nerve-wracking.

You can find lots of tips online for extending laptop battery life, but according to engineers many of them are myths. As a prime example, some posts in online forums say you should never charge a laptop battery to more than 80 percent or let it drop below 20 percent. Other people insist that you should always charge a new laptop to 100 percent before using it.

Not so, the experts say.

“As with any technology, when it was originally emerging there probably were some things which might have been useful” but no longer are, says Mike Nash, chief technologist for personal systems at Hewlett-Packard. Today, esoteric-sounding advice tends to be outdated or just wrong. (“Personally, what I like to do is make a combination of garlic, olive oil, and baking soda, and put it on top of the device,” he jokes.)

The following tips for extending laptop battery life are quick, simple, and easy to follow. We also have some advice on how to shop for a laptop that will run all day.

Dim the Display

Your first order of business to save laptop battery life: Turn down the brightness of your display.

“Display panel brightness is absolutely the most battery-consuming technology we have,” says Gary Lusk, systems senior principal engineer at Dell. This is easy to do, and you don’t even need to go into settings.

Depending on your specific laptop model, you’ll probably find this functionality on one of the function row keys (F1, F2, etc.).

“When you first turn your computer screen brightness down to, say, 50 percent, for a moment you might say, ‘Oh, this isn’t bright enough,’ but about 10 seconds later your eyes adjust and it’s totally fine,” HP’s Nash says. “Especially if you’re just doing email or something on a plane and it’s dark, having your screen cranked down to 50 percent will have a dramatic impact on how long your battery lasts.”

Turn Off Unused Features

Once you’ve lowered the display, turn off any capabilities you aren’t using at the moment.

You can start with WiFi and Bluetooth: Why have your laptop’s radios continually search for signals while you’re fully engrossed in editing a Word document on a flight or at the library? In Windows 10 there’s a dedicated Airplane Mode (located on the bottom taskbar) to turn off both of these, and Mac users can turn them off individually using the controls at the top of the screen or by going into settings.

Some higher-end laptops, including those aimed at gamers, designers, and videographers, feature advanced graphics capabilities in the form of a dedicated graphics processing unit (GPU)—and these processors can burn through battery life.

But you don’t always need that much graphics horsepower. Laptops such as the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Samsung Notebook 9 let you disable the dedicated GPU temporarily. Do that while you’re working on text documents or just browsing the web—the laptop will use the less power-hungry integrated graphics processor and make your battery run longer.

How to increase your windows laptop’s battery life

Price: $2,400 Shop

How to increase your windows laptop’s battery life

Price: $1,200 Shop

Shut Down Apps

In the days before 4GB or 8GB memory was standard, running more than a few apps at the same time could result in annoyingly choppy performance. That had a hidden benefit: It reminded you to close applications you weren’t using.

Today’s gobs of memory make it easy to have the likes of Firefox, Outlook, Spotify, and Photoshop open at the same time without making the laptop seem any slower, quietly doing a hit job on battery life.

The fix? “Kill all of your programs,” says Vicky Doan-Nguyen, assistant professor of materials science engineering at Ohio State University. The worst offenders may be the apps that constantly communicate with remote servers, such as an email client that’s always fetching new messages.

Of course, it’s perfectly okay to have more than one app open at a time—it’s just smart to shut down anything that you’re not actually using. Is YouTube running in the background while you make last-minute tweaks to a PowerPoint deck? That’s not going to help your laptop battery life, or your productivity.

Buy a Laptop Battery-Life Champ

Steps such as dimming your display can make your laptop work longer between charges, but it can’t turn a computer with an 8-hour battery life into a marathon machine.

If battery life is important to you, there are a few ways to make sure your next laptop delivers.

First, of course, you can check the battery test results in our laptop ratings, which are available to CR members. Consumer Reports testing reveals big differences among laptops, from the 17-plus hours we recorded with the Vaio Z down to around 8 hours for many other laptops.

It’s also a good idea to buy a laptop with a solid-state drive rather than a conventional hard-disk drive. SSDs use less power because they don’t have moving parts. (They’re also faster than hard-disk drives.)

Additionally, you might want to steer clear of laptops with 4K displays. They’re nice to look at, but they drain your battery far faster than a conventional 1080p HD display.

Finally, you can consider one of the new Always-Connected PCs, from several manufacturers, that are supposed to start shipping later in March. These laptops get their name from their built-in cellular internet connectivity, but their biggest selling point could be their claimed battery life of 22 hours or more.

We’ll have to get them into the Consumer Reports labs for testing before we can say whether those claims hold up.

Here are some things you can do to extend your PC’s battery life.

When battery saver is on, your PC temporarily turns off some things that use a lot of power, like automatic email and calendar syncing, live tile updates, and apps you’re not actively using. Using battery saver is the easiest way to extend battery life.

Select the Start button, and then select Settings > System > Battery . If you want battery saver to turn on whenever the battery falls below a certain level, select Turn battery saver on automatically if my battery falls below: and set it where you’d like. To turn on battery saver now and leave it on until the next time you plug in your PC, turn on Battery saver status until next charge.
Turn on battery saver in Settings

How to increase your windows laptop’s battery life

Adjust some of your PC’s display settings to help extend battery life. For example:

Set a shorter duration for an active display.

Select the Start button, and then select Settings > System > Power & sleep . Under On battery power, turn off after, pick a shorter duration.
Open Power & sleep settings

Reduce your display’s brightness.

Select the Start button, and then select Settings > System > Display . Turn off Change brightness automatically when lighting changes (if it appears), and then use the Change brightness slider to set the brightness level you want.
Open Display settings

Use a dark background.

Select the Start button, select Settings > Personalization > Background, and then choose a dark picture or dark solid color.
Open Background settings

Use a dark theme.

Select the Start button, select Settings > Personalization > Themes > Theme settings, and then choose a dark theme.
Open Themes settings

Adjust some of your PC’s power settings to help extend battery life. For example:

Let Windows change some power settings for you automatically.

Select the Start button, and then select Settings > Update & security > Troubleshoot > Power and then select Run the troubleshooter.

Set a shorter duration for when your PC sleeps.

Select the Start button, and then select Settings > System > Power & sleep . Under On battery power, PC goes to sleep after, choose a shorter duration.
Open Power & sleep settings

Disconnect from a Wi-Fi network when your PC sleeps.

Select the Start button, and then select Settings > System > Power & sleep > When my PC is asleep and on battery power, disconnect from the network. Change the setting to Always or Managed by Windows instead of Never.

This option isn’t available on all PCs and depends on your PC hardware and manufacturer.

Put a lid on it.

Most laptops can go to sleep automatically by closing the lid. To set this, select the Start button, and then select Settings > System > Power & sleep > Additional power settings > Choose what closing the lid does.

Choose a lower power mode.

Select the Battery icon on the right side of the taskbar. To reduce power use, move the slider toward Best battery life.

This option isn’t available on all PCs and depends on your PC hardware and manufacturer.

Just press a power button.

Most PCs let you turn off your display, shut down, sleep, or hibernate with a press of the Power button.

To choose what the power buttons do, select the Start button, and then select Settings > System > Power & sleep > Additional power settings,and then Choose what the power buttons do.

Increase battery life by changing how frequently your PC syncs. For example:

Sync email less often.

Select the Start button, and then select Settings > Accounts > Email & accounts .
Open Email & account settings

Select the account that you want to change, and then select Manage > Change mailbox sync settings. Under Download new email, choose a longer interval.

Sync only the email, calendars, and contacts you want.

You don’t have to sync email, calendars, or contacts unless you want to.

Select the Start button, and then select Settings > Accounts > Email & accounts .

Select the account that you want to change and the Manage button, and then select Change mailbox sync settings. Under Sync options, select Email, Calendar, or Contacts to turn them off.

Other things you can do

Keep your PC plugged in until it’s fully charged.

To check your PC’s battery level, move the mouse pointer over the Battery icon on the taskbar, or go to Settings > System > Battery .

Restart your PC.

This can sometimes fix problems that can shorten battery life. Select the Start button, and then select Power > Restart.

Turn on airplane mode if you don’t need Internet, Bluetooth, or other wireless communications.

Select the Start button, then select Settings > Network & Internet > Airplane mode , and turn on airplane mode.
Open Airplane mode settings

Use Microsoft Edge for browsing.

Tests show that when browsing with Microsoft Edge, your battery lasts 36-53% longer per charge than when browsing with Chrome, Firefox, or Opera on Windows 10.