Last Updated Sep 26, 2011 3:23 PM EDT
You probably already know about your computer's Power Options control panel. To open it, click the Start button and type Power Options (if you have Windows Vista or Windows 7). Here, you can choose a power plan and customize it a bit. Next to your currently selected power plan, click Change power plan and choose how long to wait before turning off the display or putting the computer to sleep. To really customize your laptop's power behavior, though, click Change advanced power settings.
Now you should see the Power Options dialog box. Unlike the Power Options control panel, this thing looks like a holdover from Windows 95. Not many people venture this deep into the settings, but there are a lot of options to tweak here. In particular, note that you can change how soon Windows powers down your hard drive and whether to power your Wi-Fi antenna (which is something to consider if your laptop is generally jacked into an Ethernet cable).
When you've set your laptop's power options, click OK and enjoy a somewhat better battery life. This dialog won't work miracles, of course -- it's always possible you'll need to break down and buy an extended battery for your laptop. [via Ghacks]
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