If you regularly work unplugged or away from an available outlet, your laptop's battery status will be one of its most important performance-based specifications. While the manufacturer likely provided a general estimate of battery life expectations, this measurement is often accurate only if the laptop is kept idling, at minimal brightness and with all extra functionality -- like Wi-Fi connectivity and live wallpapers -- disabled. If you're experiencing power issues -- for example, the battery failing to hold a charge -- a variety of testing tools are effective in determining if your battery is the culprit.
You may be hard-pressed to find a Web-based scanner that's dedicated solely to battery status testing, but an online benchmark test will include battery stats in its results. PC Pitstop's Overdrive benchmark test, for example, scans and provides a comprehensive report about your PC, including data about its performance, security settings, battery status and installed software. AOL's Computer Checkup scan is another multi-point maintenance diagnostic test, with a battery optimizer that both checks your laptop’s battery status and helps you optimize its power settings for better power consumption.
Online Scans from Device Manufacturers
Chances are good that your laptop's manufacturer also offers some kind of online diagnostic scanning that will help diagnose problems you may be experiencing and provide insight to your machine's power statistics. Dell users, for example, can run the Dell PC Diagnostics hardware scan and configure it solely for battery testing. HP laptop owners have a similar diagnostic tool, called the HP System Check for Notebook PCs, which runs the same sort of diagnostics tests on hardware components -- like the battery -- on your PC.
PC Battery Life Indicator
The Windows 8 operating system also features a battery health monitor that displays its remaining lifespan. This detailed report is generated by the system's Power Configuration Utility and is initiated using the command prompt. To begin, press the "Windows" and "Q" keys, type "cmd" in the search box, and select "Command Prompt" from the available results. Enter "powercfg /batteryreport" (without quotations) once the window launches and press "Enter." The report will then be compiled and its save location displayed. Use this information to navigate to the file and double-click it to view results.
Mac Power Settings
Apple also provides system diagnostics information, some of which is helpful in determining your battery's lifespan. Begin by navigating to your desktop and clicking on the "Apple" icon at the top left. Select "About This Mac" from the available options and click "System Report." To display battery information, switch to the "Power" details using the navigational menu on the left. Displayed results will include the current cycle count, the overall condition -- for example, "Normal" or "Replace Now" -- of the battery and the amount of power still left in its current charge cycle.
Additional third-party software specifically designed for benchmarking your battery is also available. BatteryCare, for example, can do a basic scan of your PC battery or can be used to completely discharge the battery, so the tool can test for more detailed statistics, like cycle count and available capacity. Battery Eater is similar, performing a stress test on your PC's battery and then draining it to provide a full discharge and diagnostic report that contains capacity, cycle and voltage data.
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