We've all been there before: You're out with your laptop, engrossed in your work, when your laptop gives you the ever-dreaded battery warning. If you'd rather your laptop warn you a little sooner, you can tweak the alerts to happen sooner, later, and even take different actions when your battery reaches a certain point. Here's how.
Title image remixed from alexmillos (Shutterstock).
Tweak Your Battery Warnings on Windows
Windows users are lucky enough to have these options built right into the OS. To tweak them, just follow these instructions:
- Click on the start menu and type "Edit Power Plan" into the search box. Choose the Edit Power Plan option when it comes up.
- Click the "Change Advanced Power Settings" link at the bottom of the window.
- Choose the power plan from the top dropdown that corresponds to what you use when you're on battery power (by default, this is "Balanced"). Scroll down to "Battery" and click the plus sign next to it.
- Here, you'll want to tweak two things: Low Battery Level and/or Critical Battery Level. Low Battery Level corresponds to the first alert you get, that lets you know you're running out of battery. Reserve Battery Level is the second alert you get, letting you know that your computer will hibernate soon, and Critical Battery Level corresponds to when your computer goes into hibernation.
By tweaking these, you'll be able to give yourself a bit more of a heads up before your computer dies, giving you enough time to finish whatever you're doing. Of course, while you're at it, you should also make sure you're doing everything you can to maximise your battery life — that way you'll run into those "oh crap" situations less often.
Low Battery Saver Adds More Options to Mac OS X's Alerts
Mac OS X doesn't let you tweak your battery alerts, but you can download a $1.99 app called Low Battery Saver that gives you a few more options in how your laptop warns you. When you start up the app, you have the option to:
- Put your computer in Safe Sleep mode when it has a certain number of minutes left. This is particularly useful for old MacBooks that no longer hibernate properly when the battery runs out.
- Provide an extra battery warning besides OS X's built-in one, at a time of your choosing.
Low Battery Saver gives you warnings based on how much time your battery has left, not a percentage level, which can be handy. However, if you have an old computer and haven't taken care of the battery properly, this value may be incorrect, so you'll want to stay on the more conservative side and add an extra few minutes to the notification.