Fix Your Laptop: 34 Tips, Apps, and Gear - Page 4 of 8 - LAPTOP Magazine: The Pulse of Mobile Technology

Fix Your Laptop: 34 Tips, Apps, and Gear

Maximize Battery Life

Buy a replacement battery.

Laptop manufacturers sell them. Retailers such as Best Buy do, too, but only for select models of major brands such as Dell and HP. You can also check out online battery stores such as www.laptopbatteryexpress.com and www.laptopbatterystore.com for a more extensive array of Macs and PCs. Prices vary depending on the PC, the battery’s voltage, and the retailer. Laptop Battery Store, for instance, sells replacements for $45 to $73, while Best Buy’s cost between $79 and $119, though its selection is more limited.

Many notebook manufacturers also sell extended batteries, which have nine- or even 12-cell capacity, providing a boost over a standard six-cell or older three-cell battery. In our recent review of the Lenovo ThinkPad X220 (p. 30), a nine-cell battery added about 5 hours of battery life, while a 12-cell battery added roughly 12.5 hours. Sometime, companies also sell so-called battery slices, which you can snap in alongside a battery. In the case of the X220, this added another 5 hours.

Tweak the settings.

Both PC and Mac owners will find a preset power management setting designed to conserve battery life. Under this setting, the computer will go to sleep sooner and the display won’t be as bright. You can also manually lower your screen’s brightness. PC users can click the battery icon in the system tray and then select “Power Saver.” If you own a Mac, click the battery icon in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. Then click “Energy Saver Preferences.” When the energy settings menu appears, type either “conserve power” or “conserve battery” into the search bar in the upper left corner of the box. This will make your Mac more energy-efficient, putting the hard disk to sleep when possible and reducing the screen’s brightness before putting the display to sleep.

Let your PC improve itself.

Windows users can have the PC diagnose energy inefficiencies on its own, and then adjust the settings accordingly. In Windows 7, go to Control Panel > Troubleshooting > Systems and Security > Improve Power Usage. Then click through the on-screen dialog box.

How to Fix Your Laptop

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  1. james Says:

    Hi Dana,

    Regarding your laptop key article, I am a tech and we replace laptop keys for customers all the time, I use a company called http://www.replacementlaptopkeys.com they are a great company, we used them so often we have become friends, how about adding them to your list of laptop keys companies you have listed there for the laptop key vendors. I would personally be grateful as they have helped me many times.

    Oscar D

  2. Bill R TechSpec Says:

    Good advice — But I would give more emphasis to the importance of defragmenting your hard drive.

    Unfortunately, most users don’t do these vital actions because they take too long, especially defragmenting. If using the built-in, defrag can take a very long time (and you can’t use the PC while it’s defragmenting)

    I recommend using a good automatic third party program that can defrag transparently while using the PC.

    Here is a Top 10 Reviews side-by-side comparison of the best defrag programs around:

    http://disk-defragmenter-software-review.toptenreviews.com/

    The gold medalist also prevents fragmentation.

    Get a free trial of the gold medalist at http://www.diskeeper.com

  3. John Tucker Says:

    A couple other great options to send your files to the cloud are SpiderOak and SugarSync. Both offer sharing and file sync as well as backup so you don’t need to fuss with two different programs like Dropbox and Mozy etc. SugarSync is a little ahead in the mobile access and backup applications so if you want mobile access to your files SugarSync is a great choice.

  4. John Says:

    I used reginout and it helped a lot in improving performance of my Inspiron 1525 happy with it

  5. Tech hobby Says:

    Another option is change the OS to Ubuntu of Linux Mint. Ya I’m that guy. (just as bad as a Jehovah’s Witness) ;)

  6. Margaretta Tooman Says:

    LAN Sync does not transfer directly without sending to the cloud. If the file hasnt been synced to the cloud yet, it will NOT be transferred directly.

  7. mark Says:

    Let me remind all you folks out there that have upgraded there slow, evergrinding, persistantly needing defragmentmenting harddrives. That, if you have upgraded to the newer, NO moving part flash drives. DO NOT defragment them, there is no need. Actually, defragmenting flash drives can damage them over time, and since they are almost instant access compared to the standard, it is not necessary.

  8. DWKSIMI Says:

    I have a Dell Dimension 8300 PC with Windows XP Pro (SP-3) and I upgraded to 4 GB of ram a couple years ago and to this day it never recognized more than 2.5 GB.

  9. GM Says:

    Speaking of flash – I recommend to use SSD to accelerate the HDD with something like the Corsair Accelerator or Crucial Adrenaline. It’s best PC upgrade for $100 ever. It used to take my PC 2minutes to boot, but now just 36seconds.

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