* Defrag regularly – The faster your hard drive does its work – less demand you are going to put on the hard drive and your battery. Make your hard drive as efficient as possible by defragging it regularly. (but not while it’s on battery of course!) Mac OSX is better built to handle fragmentation so it may not be very applicable for Apple systems.
* Dim your screen – Most laptops come with the ability to dim your laptop screen. Some even come with ways to modify CPU and cooling performance. Cut them down to the lowest level you can tolerate to squeeze out some extra battery juice.
* Take care of your battery – Exercise the Battery. Do not leave a charged battery dormant for long periods of time. Once charged, you should at least use the battery at least once every two to three weeks. Also, do not let a Li-On battery completely discharge.
* Cut down on programs running in the background. Itunes, Desktop Search, etc. All these add to the CPU load and cut down battery life. Shut down everything that isn’t crucial when you’re on battery.
* Run off a hard drive rather than CD/DVD – As power consuming as hard drives are, CD and DVD drives are worse. Even having one in the drive can be power consuming. They spin, taking power, even when they?re not actively being used. Wherever possible, try to run on virtual drives using programs like Alcohol 120% rather than optical ones.
* Keep the battery contacts clean- Clean your battery’s metal contacts every couple of months with a cloth moistened with rubbing alcohol. This keeps the transfer of power from your battery more efficient.
* Set up and optimize your power options – Go to ‘Power Options’ in your windows control panel and set it up so that power usage is optimized.
* Cut down external devices – USB devices (including your mouse) & WiFi drain down your laptop battery. Remove or shut them down when not in use. It goes without saying that charging other devices (like your iPod) with your laptop when on battery is a surefire way of quickly wiping out the charge on your laptop battery.
* Add more RAM – This will allow you to process more with the memory your laptop has, rather than relying on virtual memory. Virtual memory results in hard drive use, and is much less power efficient. Note that adding more RAM will consume more energy, so this is most applicable if you do need to run memory intensive programs which actually require heavy usage of virtual memory.
* Don’t multitask – Do one thing at a time when you’re on battery. Rather than working on a spreadsheet, letting your email client run in the background and listening to your latest set of MP3′s, set your mind to one thing only. If you don’t you’ll only drain out your batteries before anything gets completed.
* Prevent the Memory Effect – If you’re using a very old laptop, you’ll want to prevent the ‘memory effect’ – Keep the battery healthy by fully charging and then fully discharging it at least once every two to three weeks. Exceptions to the rule are Li-Ion batteries which do not suffer from the memory effect.