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Is it Vista or users that is draining laptop batteries?

by Tris Hussey on May 7th, 2007

There has been a bit of discussion about Vista and laptops lately.  The big gripe is that battery life takes a major hit.

I believe that the myth of Vista using more battery life came from the first people that installed it in their machine and did not configure properly the Power profiles. And a proof of that is that Samsung released it own power profile which is different than the Maximum Battery Life Profile of Vista.
There are people that installed Vista in a Q1 before me. But probably I’m the only one that installed and never went back to XP, I kept using Vista fighting with all drivers problems until I got it all right (even better than Samsung did because I got the real HID Driver from the maker of the Touch Screen :-))
Source: ULTRA MOBILE PC TIPS: Vista Battery Life Myth

Yeah I haven’t had this problem.  First off, I turned off a lot of Aero features.  It was cool for a few days,  but with only a gig of RAM (whoda thunk hearing “only a gig of RAM” is something people would empathize with years ago!) I decided I’d rather use my laptop than look at pretty window effects.  Secondly I make that while on battery power I do three things:

  • Switch to the Power Saver profile
  • Turn off Wireless if I’m not going to use it
  • Turn down my screen brightness as low as I can stand and be productive (without squinting)

The first two are easily done via the Windows Mobility Center, the last one happens automatically in batter mode and I just adjust it from the keyboard.

I don’t know if I get better battery life with Vista, but I certainly don’t have worse battery life.  It’s all about the same.

Battery life, remember, also depends on what you’re doing on the machine.  HD running a lot?  Serious number crunching?  Connecting to a USB device?  Yeah all of those are going to take their toll fast.  I know the fastest way for me to drain my battery flat is to hook up my Blackberry and use it as a modem.  Man that can suck the battery dry in 20 mins.  That’s not Vista’s fault, I had the same thing happen under XP.  The Blackberry is not only tapping into my machine and doing a lot of work, but it’s also recharging it’s own battery.  And where do you think that charge comes from?

So there are ways to eek more life out of your battery.  Me, I also have an adapter for the cigarette lighter in the car to power the laptop (it has one grounded outlet).  One can never be too prepared.


POSTED IN: Vista, Windows, XP

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