Notebooks are pretty common nowadays. As the years go by, laptop prices have gone to about $600 per piece. If the job requires traveling, you’d most probably have a laptop too. But no matter what brand the notebook may be, everyone faces the same issues. It may not be as efficient as a desktop and there is a limit to usage when there is no power plug nearby. Relax, cause here are 10 tips and tricks that you can easily follow to make it faster, save more battery and be more useful than you ever thought it would.
- Make notebook batteries last longer
A notebook battery has to handle the OS, hard drive, accessories, cooling system, sound, screen and external devices. It’s a huge load and it can’t go more than 1 or 2 hours. If you wanna stretch it for another extra 30 min or so, you can.
- Set brightness as low as you can tolerate. Most notebooks have a shortcut key to adjust the brightness, which you can easily switch back and forth when you are plugged in.
- Use the touchpad when the notebook is not plugged in. External devices will consume additional power. Don’t leave anything that you do not require, plugged in.
Windows XP users get to create several different power profiles to fully optimize the power for every condition. Just right click on the battery icon at the lower right of the LCD. Set schemes for maximum battery life, watching movies, playing games, etc. For example, this is what your ‘Max Battery’ scheme should have. Know that a notebook performs the fastest and is coolest when plugged in.
- Turn off monitor after 1 minute
- Hard disks after 3 minutes
- Standby after 10 minutes
- Hibernate after 20 minutes
You can easily pull off 2 1/2 hours with these 4 settings. Who knows, you may even hit 3.
Newer notebooks include a program that is able to adjust CPU clock speeds, so that you can save even more power. For example, you don’t need 3GHz to play Minesweeper or write a Word document. Use it, if it’s available. You can further push your laptop’s battery life.
Just so you should know, 3 common activities that take up a lot of juice are
- Burning cd’s
- Watching dvds
- Playing 3D games
Remove all unwanted programs from the ‘Add / Remove Programs’ application window in the Control Panel.
Set Windows Update to automatically check for updates. You can find it in the Security Center applet in the Control Panel. Visit your notebook’s manufacturer and check for updates for your model. Ensuring that your notebook has the latest software and drivers installed guarantees system stability and efficiency.
The most obvious performance increase is in the RAM department. Just right click at the ‘My Computer’ icon and check. If your Ram is 256MB double it to 512MB. 512MB is the minimum for any PC or laptop using Windows XP. If it is at 512MB and you still have horrible load times, laggy programs and a lot of disk swapping, push it to 1024MB. This is the most obvious notebook tweak of all. You will feel the significance when the RAM is added.
- Touchpad & Keyboard
Use an eyeglass cleaner with a microfiber cloth, if you can’t get hold of a proper anti-static cleaner.
Use compressed air to blow out the dust and debris lying below the keys. Then use the same method as cleaning the LCD.
Use the same method as the LCD
Blast every grill and port that you can find with compressed air. You can wipe the outer parts with any clean towel.
Notebooks are hottest when unplugged. The reason is because the fans don’t run as often. Even with the fans at full throttle, the underside will still be the hottest side. The solution lies in slipping in a layer of something in between. You can very well find laptop cooling pads in PC accessories shop that are USB powered. They will help, but they also do drain power. The best choice is to grab something nearby like :
- a towel
- a thick shirt
- a small pillow
- a cardboard
Newer computers come with in built networking. Get a wireless network adapter if you don’t have on. Some of the great stuff that you can do includes checking out recipes from the kitchen or sip on pina colada by the pool while chatting with buddies on your days off. Wireless gives the laptop a whole new useful perspective.
Newer computers come with in built video-out and audio-out. These 2 jacks can be used to bring home entertainment up a notch. Watch movies on the TV or play music through the stereo system.