10.3 Printers and Printing

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10.2 Laptop Tricks

Nothing beats a laptop when it's time to hit the road and you need to keep working on a spreadsheet, a pile of email, or your Homer and Jessica Simpson genealogy Web site. This section offers advice on caring for these sometimes finicky contraptions.

10.2.1 Extending Your Laptop's Battery Life

No matter how many hours PC manufacturers promise, laptop batteries always seem to conk out a bit early (and usually during some vital research, like when you're trying to watch a DVD of some of Governor Schwarzenegger's favorite persuasion techniques).

Thankfully, there are a few ways to extend your laptop battery's life:

  • Turn off your wireless signal . WiFi cards can use a substantial amount of power; turning yours off can save you up to 20 minutes of battery life. Turn it off by right-clicking its icon in the notification tray and choosing Disable.

  • Lower the backlighting on your screen . Your screen takes up a substantial amount of electricity, and you often don't need it set to maximum brightness. Check your system documentation for how to change the lighting level, then reduce it to a comfortable level.

  • Use the correct power scheme . XP includes a number of preset power schemes , which control settings like how quickly your computer goes to sleep and when your screen saver kicks in. You can change your power schemes by choosing Control Panel Performance and Maintenance Power Options. The dialog box shown in Figure 10-4 appears. For maximum battery life, choose "Max Battery" from the "Power schemes" drop-down list. "Low Power Mode" and "Portable/Laptop" are also good choices, although they don't preserve as much power as Max Battery. After you select a power scheme, click OK.

Figure 10-4. Reduce your laptop's power consumption by choosing a juice -saving power scheme like "Max Battery." You can also customize any of XP's built-in power schemes by changing the settings in the bottom half of this screen. To create a new scheme of your own, choose your settings, click Save As, and give your power preferences a new name .


10.2.2 Helping a Fussy Laptop Enter Standby

Most laptops take the computer equivalent of a nap by going into system standby ‚ an energy-saving state in which a laptop uses less energy ‚ after they've been idle for a little while (Section 1.1.1). But just like certain people simply can't snooze in the afternoon, some laptops can't enter standby mode, even when they're idle. Why? Because USB polling fools the computer's processor into thinking the laptop is active. (XP polls or sends a signal to USB ports to determine if there's any activity on the ports.)

To prevent your laptop from being fooled, simply increase the polling interval. Here's how:

Run the Registry Editor (Section 15.1.2) and then go to Go to My Computer HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE System CurrentControlSet Control Class {36FC9E60-C465-11CF-8056-444553540000} 0000. Create the new DWORD value IdleEnable, and set the data value to a number between 2 and 5. This sets the polling interval, in milliseconds (the higher the number, the longer the interval). The default polling interval is 1 millisecond.

If there are additional subkeys for My Computer HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE System CurrentControlSet Control Class {36FC9E60-C465-11CF-8056-444553540000} such as 0001, 0002, etc., repeat the procedure and create the IdleEnable DWORD in each of them. When you're done, exit the Registry and reboot.


Tip: Hibernate ‚ a deeper sleep than Standby ‚ is another good way to save laptop juice. Section 1.1.2 tells you all about it.

10.2.3 Removing a Useless Warning

When you remove a PC card from a laptop, you receive a warning telling you that you've...removed a piece of hardware. Since you were the one who just removed the card, you already knew that. Want to reduce your daily helping of useless messages? The Registry Editor's ready and waiting.

To turn off the removed-card warning, run the Registry Editor (see Section 15.1.2) and then go to My Computer HKEY_CURRENT_USER Software Microsoft Windows CurrentVersion Applets SysTray. Create a new DWORD value called PCMCIAFlags. Set its value to 0. Then exit the Registry and reboot. To turn the warning back on, set the PCMCIAFlags to 1.



Windows XP Power Hound
Windows XP Power Hound: Teach Yourself New Tricks
ISBN: 0596006195
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 119

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