How to extend the life of your laptop battery

1030 primary

Siddhartha Raval asked how to take care of a laptop battery so that it lasts a long time.

Batteries don't last forever. Like everything except diamonds and viral tweets, they eventually wear out. But with proper care, a laptop battery can still carry a sufficient charge until you're ready to move on to a better laptop.

But it's a tradeoff. Taking the best care of your laptop battery just may be more of a hassle than it's worth.

[Have a tech question? Ask PCWorld Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector. Send your query to answer@pcworld.com.]

So let me start with a less effective, but more practical approach:

When you're at home, running the laptop on AC power, and you believe that it will stay plugged in for a week or more, shut down the PC and remove the battery.

Then, when you need the battery, plug it back in. If it's been more than two months since you last used the battery, check it and charge it before taking it on the road.

Of course, you should never remove or insert a laptop battery while the laptop is running. Always shut it down first.

That's the practical approach. Here's the extreme care method:

For the absolute best results, never charge it past 80 percent or let it drop below 20 percent. When you're working on AC power, keep an eye on the battery's charging.  When it hits or passes 80 percent, shut down your computer, remove the battery, then reboot. When it's time to take the laptop on the road, shut it down again and reinsert the battery.

And when you're using the laptop on battery power, shut it down before the battery drops below 20 percent, and don't start it up again until you have AC power.

As I said, probably more of a hassle than it's worth.

One more thing: The hotter the battery, the quicker it degrades. So keep your laptop cool.

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