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Dated: Oct. 08, 2004
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Computer Beginners Guides
Laptops drain batteries faster than children drain grape juice at Chuck E. Cheese. Plugging in the AC adapter recharges the batteries, but what do you do to maximize the time spent between AC outlets? To keep your batteries breathing as long as possible, try some of these tricks.
- New batteries come uncharged and need to be broken in. Charge and immediately discharge your batteries a few times before relying on them. (Discharge portables by leaving them unplugged from the wall and turned on for a few hours — or even overnight.) In fact, keep up the habit of fully draining and recharging your batteries once a week.
- Clean the contacts on your rechargeable batteries and charger. A cotton swab and rubbing alcohol can do the trick.
- Head for the Control Panel, open the Power Management area, and make sure that Windows knows it's running on a laptop and needs to save as much power as possible. That way, it can shut off the hard drives when they aren't being used, for example, or turn off the screen.
- When not using something with your laptop, turn off its power. Remove PC cards, for example. You can leave your modem PC card inside, though, if you make sure that your modem program isn't configured to receive calls. Otherwise, the PC card stays on, draining power as it awaits a phone call that never arrives.
- Leaving a disc in your laptop's CD-ROM drive is actually beneficial; your computer peeks inside the drive at random intervals, and it takes less energy to find a disc than to search for one.
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