Extend Windows Vista Battery Live for Notebooks

Martin Brinkmann
May 12, 2007
Updated • Jun 30, 2013
Mobile Computing

I bought a Toshiba Notebook soon after Windows Vista was released and was wondering about the huge battery drain whenever I was using the Notebook without a power source. The battery drain is apparently caused largely by the Aero theme that Microsoft introduced in the operating system, and the power settings for the wireless adapter.

I was not even sure at the beginning if I was running Windows Aero or just a different interface but soon found out that the Aero interface, one of the few new things in Windows Vista, was active and draining battery life like crazy. I decided to disable the Aero interface because I could not see the use of it after all. Sure, it offers some nice looking effects but that is not the main purpose that I'm using the notebook after all.

To disable the Aero theme do the following:

  1. Right-click on your desktop and select Personalize from the context menu that opens up.
  2. Choose Windows Color and Appearance and click on Open Classic Appearance Properties for more color options.
  3. Select a different theme from the list (non Aero) and click on Apply.

The second battery drainer can be a mis-configured power setting. If you left-click the little battery icon in the system tray you see which power setting is currently used. I suggest you select the power saver option if the notebook is not connected to a power source. All other settings drain the battery pretty fast.

You can customize a power profile instead which gives you better control over the process. This way you can disable most options or make them power saving friendly while keeping features that you really need active at all times. Say you need the wireless connection, which means that it should stay enabled even if you turn off other features such as the local network card or Bluetooth.

Update: Microsoft has released two service packs for Windows Vista and both correct some of the issues that Vista users were facing initially. The operating system is not as power hungry anymore which is obviously a good thing. Vista users should definitely update their operating system to take advantage of this.


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