The easiest way to get the best battery life out of your Dell laptop is to select one of the preconfigured power plans. However, there are a few additional steps you can take that will help extend battery life even longer while you're unplugged.
To select a power plan
The preconfigured power plans automatically adjust key settings that can have a significant impact on battery life, such as reducing screen brightness or dimming the display when you are not actively using your laptop.
- On the notification area of the taskbar, right-click the Battery icon.
- On the options list, click Power Options.
- Select a power plan on the battery meter, such as Power Saver or Balanced.
To extend battery life as long as possible during a working session
- Dim your screen to the lowest level that is still comfortable for you by holding down the Function key and then pressing the Down Arrow key. See your laptop's user guide for your laptop's keyboard shortcut.
- Turn off wireless. Your wireless card is a significant drain on your battery. If you don't need to be connected to a wireless network, then you should turn off wireless. Press the F2 key or use the wireless switch to turn wireless on and off.
- Don't multitask. If you limit the number of applications you have running or the number of windows or tabs you have open, your battery will last longer.
- Limit power-intensive activities. Batteries will last a lot longer if you are reading emails and editing documents than if you are watching a movie or playing a video game.
- Disconnect or turn off external devices like a wireless mouse, mp3 player or USB device when they're not in use.
- Empty the CD/DVD drive. Even if you are not using the disc, it will spin and use power. If possible, run programs on the hard drive rather than the optical drive.
- Use Hibernate mode, not Standby. When stepping away from your laptop, put it in Hibernate mode, not Standby. Hibernate mode uses the least amount of power.
- Use your laptop battery at least once every 2-3 weeks. Leaving your laptop plugged in all the time or never allowing your battery to fully charge when it's plugged in can actually reduce your battery's charge capacity and shorten its life cycle.
- Keep the battery contacts clean. See your laptop's user guide for how to remove and reinstall your battery safely. Every few months, use a cloth or cotton swab dampened with rubbing alcohol to clean the metal contacts of your battery. Allow battery to dry completely before reinstalling.
- Clean your laptop's air vent with a cloth or a keyboard cleaning kit. Also, move items away that may be blocking the air vent. Laptops with clear air vents stay cooler, so the fans don't have to work as hard.
- Defragment your hard drive regularly to make your hard drive more efficient and your computer run faster.
- Add RAM. Check if your Dell laptop has the optimum amount of RAM. As a general suggestion, ensure that your laptop has at least 2GB of RAM.