Vista Power Saving Settings – Increase Laptop Battery Life
In a previous articles titled Conserving Your Laptop Battery Power I listed several tips you can use to help conserve your laptop battery. The tips in that post can be applied not only Vista, but also previous versions of the Windows operating system.
In this post, however, I will discuss a new utility within Vista to help you get even more time out of your laptop battery.
Vista Power Options
Similar to the previous versions of Windows, you can access the power options for Vista from the control panel. To access the options use the following:
Click Start Menu->Control Panel->Mobile PC->Power Options.
Within the dialog you will see several default power options. You can simply click one of the options to use the power settings associated with it. Each power option has different battery life and performance features.
When you increase the battery life you usually take a performance hit. When you increase the performance of your laptop, you will usually reduce the battery life of your laptop. You need to determine how much of a performance hit you can take while on your battery and still do what you need to accomplish.
If you want more control over the battery life and performance ratio, you can use the advanced settings and control many of the different power options for different hardware on your laptop.
Advanced Power Settings
In addition to the specified power options, you can customize the power settings of those options. This allows you much more control over such things as how much power your CPU will consume and the brightness of your LCD display.
To use the advanced settings, use the following steps:
- Click Start Menu->Control Panel->Mobile PC->Power Options
- Select a power option you would like to change and click Change plan settings hyperlink.
- Click Change advanced power settings hyperlink.
The power options dialog should now appear on the screen with the saved power options listed.
The options associated with the power settings will now be shown on the screen. Although you can change these options, we will go even further to get much more control over how the battery power is used.
The Power Options dialog is now displayed on the screen. Click the plus sign next to each option to show the power options for each.
Each of the options has an On battery and Plugged in setting. The On battery setting specifies what Vista should do when your laptop is running on the battery. Once you plug in your laptop, the settings specified in the Plugged in setting will take effect.
One of the options I found useful within the advanced settings was the Processor power management. This allows you specify how much power is used to run your processor. Obviously, the lower the power, the less performance you will get, but when you are on battery, you shouldn’t be running any processor intensive tasks.
When Vista was going through testing, many people complained that their laptop battery wasn’t lasting as long as under a previous version of Windows. Vista allows a laptop user the ability to really customize their battery consumption by deciding how the battery power should be used. By reducing the performance of some of the hardware of your laptop, you can significantly increase the life of your battery. As always, however, the total length of battery time is also dependent on the type of processor and battery in your laptop.