Well here we are in 2013 and we still haven’t cracked the battery life code, have we? No matter what you buy, the chances are that you’re going to face a situation at some point where you’re running out of juice and need a socket. Laptops are the worse. They’ve improved a bit over the years, but there’s still only a few models you can rely on to last longer than a few hours of computing time.
To try and help out, we’ve done a quick round up of five cool free tools which can help to maximize the amount of running time you’ll get from your notebook. Remember that one of the most obvious things you can do even before you start installing freeware is to take a long hard look at your display brightness. It still remains one of the biggest battery drains, so if you can live with a dimmer display, your battery will thank you for it.
1. Amp WinOFF
This small utility is designed to let you set up power shutdown schedules for various conditions. You can set your laptop to go to sleep, or hibernate or even power off if the program detects a variety of conditions such as zero CPU use for a while, or no mouse activity or no Internet traffic for a period of time. You can also set timers for power down, which means you can safely pop the machine into your bag knowing it will shut itself off before over-heating.
SetPower is another auto-set freeware utility which you can use to automatically select different power modes for different periods of your working day. It goes further than the default Windows settings by letting you choose particular power modes on a rotating schedule. If you typically do some work early in the morning, then again in the afternoon, and just before you go to bed, then you can set up a schedule which gives you particular power settings for each of those periods. It all helps to eke out battery life and prevent save money.
Battery Optimizer goes one step further than power mode scheduling and actually does a full blown diagnosis of your laptop battery health. This is great for discovering when you need to change your elderly battery (particularly valuable if you’re just off on a long trip). It can scan for WiFi, Bluetooth and screen brightness and give you warnings when your battery use is at a high level, and you can set up profiles for different needs (say when you’re out and about and need full battery saving set).
Battery Doubler does what is says on the tin by automatically switching off things you’re not using on your computer to save power. For example it can switch off USB ports, recalibrate older batteries to improve charging performance and in Turbo mode it speeds up battery recharging by putting the computer into low power mode automatically. It’s a fire and forget solution, however the free version only gives 20 uses before you have to buy the Pro version.
5. Battery Bar
Battery Bar is a comprehensive battery meter which will not only lets you keep a very close eye on how your battery is doing over time, but will also give you custom alerts when you’re in danger of running out of juice. What’s clever about this particular program is it learns as it goes, so after a while it can calculate your remaining battery power based on past performance. The free version of the software doesn’t give you all the customization options of the $8 Pro version, but you still get all the discharge profiles and other useful stuff.