Friday, 12 September 2014

Windows 7 Tools and Tips (3)

Windows 7 Tools and Tips

May also work with windows 8

It has been quite a while since I touched on 'computermabob' things. Its not that I don't still mess around with IT - even if I have been retired from such things for a while now. Like an old boat stuck in the mud of the English canal system. I have not moved on to using windows version 8 because in the main its only windows 7 with a new overcoat. A bit like CaRT is still BW with a thin coat of paint.

Laptops are wonderful pieces of computing equipment especially for use on a boat. They are small and light and when compared to ten years ago have been developed into amazing bits of technology. One problem however is that the laptop uses an old technology which is not being developed at the same speed. The battery is by comparison the bulky weighty bit of kit that needs an external charging system.

Over time, your laptop battery can age and appear not last as long as it used to. However, software installed onto the device can also cause the battery to be worked harder and therefore whilst outwardly the battery might seem to be in poor condition. In fact the battery can be perfectly serviceable. The Power Configuration (Powercfg) utility can monitor battery usage and provide a useful pointer towards battery condition.

On a boat, a common ploy is to charge a battery to maximum charge and then turn off the charger. To allow the system to discharge through use. Then when the laptop reports low charge, to turn on the AC supply via an inverter to recharge again. Yet, if a battery is used mainly on AC all the time, charging to about 60% capacity and then charging no further will extend battery life. Some laptops come with a utility to configure the charging regime depending upon how the laptop is used. My Lenovo laptop has such a utility.
To run the Power Configuration Utility  in Windows 7 we have to use the Windows Command Prompt often referred to as a 'DOS box'  in Administrator Mode.  Click the Start Button - the item at the bottom of the list is the 'Search Box'. Into the search box type the word 'command'. When the menu appears right click on 'Command Prompt' and choose the third option 'Run as Administrator.'

At the prompt C:\windows\system> 
Type powercfg /energy

The system will monitor the power for 60 seconds then create a report. In my case the report is stored at C:\windows\system32\energy-report.html and can be viewed as a web page.

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